National Catholic Schools Week (CSW) is an annual celebration of Catholic education. This year, 2020, will be the 46th anniversary of this celebration of schools. Catholic schools typically observe the week with Masses, assemblies and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members to celebrate and congratulate.
All Catholic schools in the Fall River Diocese will observe Catholic Schools Week from January 26th through February 1st with Masses, open houses and a variety of special programs and activities for students, families, and community.
This year’s theme is Catholic Schools:
Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.
Catholic Schools Week is a time when most Catholic schools host open houses and open registration for the following academic year. Students and parents who are interested in enrolling in one of the Catholic schools or learning more about the enrollment process should contact the school of interest for information or visit www.CatholicSchoolsAlliance.org.
Specific Catholic Schools Week schedules vary from school to school but often feature academic and athletic challenges; music and arts festivals; guest speakers; special opportunities for prayer; activities to support charities and outreach to those in need; appreciation events; and student socials.
For a list of all the Fall River Catholic schools, please visit: https://www.catholicschoolsalliance.org/list-of-schools
Some of the CSW Celebrations in Our Diocese
St. Margaret Primary School will include in its 2020 celebration a new inaugural video showcasing the school, students, and unique learning environment. Serving children from Pre-K through Grade Four, St. Margaret Primary is a nurturing educational environment that embraces the Catholic faith and spiritual development.
Academically, St. Margaret Primary students engage in frequent individual and group project learning opportunities allowing them to develop the foundation for 21st-century skills. Based upon these principles, St. Margaret Primary promotes “Faith, Family, and Fundamentals”.
“This new video shares the joy, excitement, and devotion our students have to learn about their faith, the fundamentals of early education, and special programs, too,” comments Christopher Keavy, President of the three campus Pre-K to Grade 12 school which also includes Saint Francis Xavier Preparatory Middle School and Saint John Paul II High School. “This video communicates our unique program where students as young as three years old are tinkering with Makerspace technology and learning Spanish.”
On January 30th, Over 200 seventh and eighth-grade students will arrive at Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth for an early welcome and prayer service. Each elementary school will proudly display their team T-shirt as the students compete in activities such as “Minute-to Win-It”, “Mission Possible”, 4-on-4 basketball, Improv, and Quiz Bowl. Each school receives points as they participate in the activities and a winner is announced at the end of the day.
While every team wants to win the overall event, the opportunity to meet students from other schools as well as work with the myriad of Bishop Stang students is what keeps this tradition alive and strong. Peter Shaughnessy, President and Principal of Bishop Stang, offers, “We love hosting this event every year – this is our 10th annual Greater New Bedford Catholic Schools— Catholic Schools Challenge! There is always a great sense of school spirit from the students. The Challenge calls forth all of the many intellectual, athletic and creative talents that our Catholic school students possess in a fun and high energy atmosphere.”
“This is my first year experiencing the Catholic School Challenge and my middle school students have already told me they want to win the trophy,” admits Joe Branco, Principal of Holy Family Holy Name School in New Bedford. “The close collaboration between all of the New Bedford Catholic schools is amazing and I am so blessed to be a part of a larger group of schools with the same mission and focus on educating the whole child, spiritually and academically.”
Visits to Our Schools
In 2019, the Fall River Diocese opened its first preschool center, the Little Flower Early Learning Center, a seven-classroom facility across from St. Vincent de Paul Church. The Palm Street facility, where religious classes used to be taught, will serve youngsters from ages 6 weeks to 3.9 years. The center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony during which I was honored to bless the classrooms.
As Bishop, I am pleased to be invited to participate in many events throughout the Fall River Diocese. On Friday, October 11, in honor of the Brazilian population on Cape Cod, the children of St. Pius X School hosted its second annual Our Lady Aparecida celebration. The staff and students of St. Pius X School shined acting out the apparition, singing songs in Portuguese, and offering a delicious spread of Brazilian food. I shared more about this wonderful event in my October 21, Building Faith blog.
Catholic Schools Alliance
The Catholic Schools Alliance comprises administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and clergy joined in partnership to educate the children of the Diocese of Fall River in Catholic faith and values. The mission of this alliance is to assure, “Our schools have a demanding educational culture that helps students from across the academic spectrum reach their God-given potential. With an emphasis on service and respect for the dignity of every person, we prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s diverse world and become meaningful contributors to society.”
The Catholic schools in the Fall River Diocese continue to meet and far exceed, my expectations. My prayers this week go in a special way to the administrators, teachers, volunteers, parents, and students, of our diocesan Catholic schools.
Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha