FALL RIVER — Catholic schools in the Fall River Diocese will join with those across the country to observe Catholic Schools Week, an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States, from January 25 through 31.
Catholic schools will mark the week with Masses, open houses and programs and activities for students, families, parishioners and community members.
“Catholic Schools Week is an opportunity for the 22 elementary and secondary schools in the Fall River Diocese to celebrate the distinctive spiritual, academic, and social mission of Catholic education,” said Fall River Diocesan Superintendent of Schools Michael S. Griffin, Ph.D.
Most Catholic schools also open registration for the following academic year during Catholic Schools Week. Parents who are interested in enrolling a child in a Catholic school in the diocese or learning more about one should contact the school of interest for more information.
The theme of the week, “Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” will focus on the value that Catholic education provides to students and its contributions to the Church, local communities and the nation.
Dr. Griffin pointed out that “faith, knowledge and service are woven into the fabric of each Catholic school” in the diocese and that each will be highlighted in the course of various Catholic Schools Week events.
Special Masses for school communities will be celebrated during the week and many schools have included opportunities for special prayers for peace, for their families, for those in the armed forces, and for school faculty and staff.
In Fall River, a regional Catholic Schools Week Mass celebrated by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha for students and staff from schools in that area will take place at St. Anne Church in that city at 10 a.m., Wednesday, January 28. It will culminate a series of six Masses said by the bishop across the diocese in recent weeks involving students from all Catholic schools.
The theme of knowledge will be showcased during Catholic Schools Week through science fairs, spelling bees, academic challenges and music and arts festivals.
Lastly, service – a facet of every Catholic school experience – will be highlighted in the week with drives for food items and household staples, preparation of kits for the homeless, and cards for the elderly, police and fire personnel, and men and women in the service.
Catholic Schools Week is also a time for student fun and social activities. School schedules offer assemblies, entertainment, sports team days, class trips, lunches and ice cream sundae parties.
Dr. Griffin believes that Catholic Schools Week is an appropriate time to consider the contributions of Catholic schools especially in regard to the future of the Church.
He referenced a June 2014 survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University that found a higher rate of Mass attendance among young Catholic school graduates (age 32 and below) than the population in general, and a continuing trend in findings in relation to reception of the sacrament of Confirmation, consideration of the priesthood and religious life, and lay participation in parish ministries.
“A Catholic school student spends over 1,000 hours a year in an environment that includes daily prayer, religion classes, high expectations of respect for self and others, service to the community, and pursuit of academic excellence,” Griffin reflected.
“The results are powerful and lasting, and important to our Church and society as Catholic school children develop into a new generation of leaders.”
Griffin invites all interested families to take advantage of Catholic Schools Week to explore the opportunities for growth in faith, knowledge and service that are offered at a nearby Catholic school in the diocese.