Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Diocese’s Catholic schools plan busy week of celebration

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Jan. 15, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Catholic Schools Week 2004 is designated Jan. 25-30. The special week gives Catholic schools an opportunity not only to note their accomplishments, but also to say “thank you” to their many supporters.

This year’s theme is “A Faith-Filled Future.”

Though not all plans had been finalized by press time, the Catholic schools of the Spokane Diocese will be scheduling a number of special events in celebration of “their” week. Here are a few of the week’s highlights:

St. Mary School in Spokane Valley starts the week Sunday, Jan. 25, with school principal Jeanne Brown giving a reflection at the Sunday Masses. During the reflection, she will thank the parishioners for their support of the school.

On Monday, Jan. 26, teachers and staff, assisted by the local Knights of Columbus council, will serve a “big pancake breakfast” to students. “This is the third year we’ve done the breakfast, and it’s one of my favorite things,” said Brown.

On Tuesday, noted author Claire Rudolph Murphy will spend the day at the school. Murphy was one of the contributing writers for the recent Daughts of the Desert, published by Skylight Paths. One of her co-authors on that project was IR columnist Mary Cronk Farrell.

Murphy will visit students in their classrooms and give writing workshops. “This is our first year to try this,” Brown said, “and we’re looking forward to it.”

The school’s many volunteers will be recognized at Mass on Wednesday, and will be “greatly appreciated” throughout the day. On Thursday, Brown said, the school will recognize its many other supporters with a community lunch. Everyone comes, she said – parents, grandparents, friends – “the school is crawling with people that day.” Pizza is on the menu.

On Friday, one teacher and one student with his or her family, will join Principal Brown for breakfast at Gonzaga University with Bishop William Skylstad. The breakfast event was started last year, to recognize the connection between GU and local Catholic schools and also to honor a teacher of the year.

The week ends at St. Mary when the students give a talent show, which is always “very exciting,” Brown said.

• Up at Assumption School in north Spokane, the special week begins Saturday, Jan. 24, with a spaghetti dinner, and recognition given at the Sunday Masses.

On Monday, senior members of the parish will be honored at an appreciation lunch; on Tuesday, the school’s volunteers are honored. The school also holds an academic fair on Tuesday.

Wednesday is student service day, when students will perform some kind of community service project. Each class will do an activity to serve others, such as making prayer cards, visiting nearby nursing homes or cleaning the parish grounds.

Celebrity readers will come to school on Thursday. They read to the students and spend time visiting. Among the guests are Rick and Teresa Lukens, Spokane Mayor Jim West, Bobby Williams of the Spokane Chiefs, and the diocese’s superintendent of education, Dr. Duane Schafer.

Friday is student appreciation day, with everyone enjoying an ice cream party. Students will also have a free dress day. A pep assembly is scheduled at the end of the day, when 100 Ways in 100 Days will be recognized. In the 100 Ways’ project, students collect 100 of each of various items for Catholic Charities’ many programs such as St. Margaret Shelter and the House of Charity.

St. Aloysius School near Gonzaga University will recognize parents and volunteers on Monday, students on Tuesday and teachers on Wednesday. On Thursday, grandparents are especially invited to Mass and lunch. Friday will see the students involved in some kind of service project. On Sunday, Feb. 1, the parish will be thanked for its support of school activities.

St. Paschal students, teachers and staff will have different activities each to “show our Catholic school spirit,” said Principal Rick Pelkie. “All activities will present themselves with a strong message of faith and community.”

St. Patrick School in Spokane did not have its plans made, but Principal Randall Wallace said the school choir always sings at one of the weekend Masses for St. Francis Xavier and St. Patrick parishes. The students also organize a special Mass during the weekend and enjoy “crazy days” during the week, he said.

Trinity School in west central Spokane fills the whole week with special activities, including celebrity readers and physical education challenges.

St. Charles School in the northwest area of Spokane plans activities including a skating party and a pancake breakfast. They are also planning to send representation to Gonzaga University’s breakfast with the bishop on Friday.

There are 8,000 Catholic schools across the country: 6,785 elementary schools and 1,215 elementary schools. The Spokane Diocese has 18 Catholic schools, including three high schools: Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, DeSales in Walla Walla, and Tri-Cities Prep in Pasco.

Nationally, students enrolled in Catholic schools number 2,553,277. More than half, or 1,906,670, attend elementary and middle schools; the rest are enrolled in secondary schools. Non-Catholic enrollment is 341,819, about 13.4 percent of the total enrollment. According to the Spokane diocesan directory Catholic school students in the diocese number around 4,100.

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