The Legacy of Catholic Schools
Catholic Schools have provided an invaluable service to the United States and Western Pennsylvania as well. U.S. Catholic Bishops recognize the importance of Catholic schools. In the Pittsburgh Diocese and other dioceses, the building of schools was given priority over the building of the parish church after World War II. At that time, religious orders comprised most of the staffing of these schools. Their dedication has left a legacy of schools with excellent academic success founded on the Gospel truth which is rooted in God’s inestimable love for each and every person.
Catholic education has been an integral part of the life of the United States.
Pope Saint John Paul II, in his 1999 Apostolic Exhortation, “The Church in America”, stated, "It is essential that every possible effort be made to ensure that Catholic schools, despite financial difficulties, continue to provide a Catholic education to the poor and the marginalized in society. It will never be possible to free the needy from their poverty unless they are first freed from the impoverishment arising from the lack of adequate education."
In 2012, Pope Benedict also commented on the role of American Catholic Schools, saying, “Important efforts are also being made to preserve the great patrimony of America’s Catholic elementary and high schools, which have been deeply affected by changing demographics and increased costs, while at the same time ensuring that the education they provide remains within the reach of all families, whatever their financial status…these schools remain an essential resource for the new evangelization, and the significant contribution that they make to American society as a whole ought to be better appreciated and more generously supported.”
The financial challenge facing Catholic school parents today
Generally, parish schools and parents of school children receive some aid from the diocese, but the bulk of the burden falls to the parish itself, and much of that burden falls to the parents of those with school age children through tuition and fundraising. Unfortunately, the support available at the diocesan level is not sufficient to prevent the closing of numerous parish schools. It is very important that we do not allow a dynamic to exist where only schools remain open in affluent neighborhoods and where only those with financial means are able to avail themselves of a Catholic Education.
It is worthwhile to consider that the public school system model relies on all members of the community to contribute to the funding of public education. Education is seen as a core service to the community. The obvious dilemma is that married couples or single parents with children at school age are generally at the lower end of their earning capacity and range in age from their 20’s to 40’s At this point in their lives, they face the challenging task of handling housing, car, food, clothing, and all the other expenses of a family. Assuming tuition for one child is $4,000 a year, a Catholic grade school education will cost $32,000 over eight years. This is before considering a Catholic secondary school and before considering that parents often are trying to save for college tuition.
This burden understandably increases as many parents have been blessed with more than one child. A very real need exists for those who feel God’s call to help support lower and middle income parents in their desire to send their children to a Catholic School. We, as a Church, need to recognize and support the decision of parents who want to send their children to a Catholic School. Their decision is a beautiful response to their wedding day vow to raise their children according to the law of Christ and his Church.
Catholic schools – an enduring legacy of hope
Catholic Schools represent a beacon of hope for the Church and for our country. Catholic Schools generally will likely not ever compete with the physical facilities of the public school system. Amidst the present day culture which overemphasizes the material and passing things of this world, the Catholic school focuses on an education with profoundly deeper values which stem from the daily invitation of Christ into the classroom. Catholic Schools allow God, the source of all wisdom and knowledge, to be the foundation of the educational experience.
In turn, God can reveal His love that transcends all learning and knowledge so that learning is not an end in itself, but can be seen in the context of God’s great love for each child. In this setting, a student can come to understand their inestimable value in God’s eyes and begin to understand the ultimate goal of their life. The Catholic School environment is essential to parents to supplement their primary role of educators of the faith. They are able to counter balance negative cultural influences through daily participation in prayer and service to others as well as frequent participation in a sacramental life.
Teach the Truth strives to ensure viable Catholic Schools remain an option for all parents of school age children. Although the landscape has changed for U.S. Catholic Schools with the majority of the staffing shifting from religious orders to dedicated lay professionals, Christ’s call to evangelization remains the same. The Church strives to aid Catholic Schools from the diocesan level, but numerous other responsibilities preclude the Church from being able to ensure that all children have an opportunity to go to a Catholic School. Teach the Truth invites individuals of goodwill to participate in the noble call to maintain the legacy of Catholic schools.
Clicking "Make a Donation" will redirect you to our web page where you will find information on where you can send a check or make a secure donation online. We are grateful to those who have the means and are able to donate to assist children of Catholic schools.
We also very much appreciate all those who assist in our mission by praying for its success. We are a volunteer organization, and all monetary donations will go to assisting Catholic school students and the success of their schools.