Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Heart speaks to heart!
Catholic schools: an unparalleled opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ
by John Fencik, for the Inland Register
(From the June 16, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
In the May issue of the Inland Register, Bishop Thomas Daly spoke about the much-needed focus on Catholic schools – a priority in his ministry as our bishop. Although nationally there has been a decline in the number of Catholic schools, the value of a Catholic school education cannot be underestimated. It is worth our parents taking a closer look at Catholic schools and what they provide in supporting their parental role. For many families, there is great sacrifice in making this choice. That sacrifice is also shared by school administrators, faculty, and staff to ensure that Catholic school education remain a shining light of faith in a secular society that often seeks to extinguish religious expression.
Catholic schools provide an unparalleled opportunity for children to enter into a deeper encounter with the living Person of Jesus Christ! This encounter has been so prevalent in the preaching of Pope-emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis. St. John Paul II said: “A Catholic School is a place where students live a shared experience of faith in God and where they learn the riches of Catholic culture...Catholic schools must help students to deepen their relationship with God and to discover that all things human have their deepest meaning in the person and teaching of Jesus Christ.” For Catholics, this is at the heart of our lives: to know, love, and serve the Lord! Our schools provide the nurturing “soil” for the Baptismal seed of faith to grow into a life-long encounter with Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life! The entire Catholic community must do all that it can to encourage our young people to discover this truth for themselves.
Catholic schools help our youth swim against the societal tide of instant gratification, the loss of social skills in interpersonal communication, and good manners. With a focus on Gospel values, our schools guide them through the maze of false avenues to happiness, and phony offers of “immortality” that are, in fact, deadly! The insatiable quest for success (often measured only by money and power) often leads to crushing other people in the path to the top. We seek success and love on life’s journey. Catholic schools support parents in instilling in the young that in the human adventure we always belong to Christ first!
Catholic schools have the highest academic standards and outpace public schools in national testing. We seek to educate the whole child – including the spiritual. They create an environment that encourages children to achieve their full potential while becoming more Christ-like in their relationships. There is no doubt that at any level, our graduates are ready for the next level of education, vocation, or profession.
In supporting our bishop’s focus on Catholic schools, Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services of Spokane gave a scholarship gift to a graduating 8th grader at our local Catholic schools who would be attending Gonzaga Prep and to a Prep graduate attending a Catholic college. Our congratulations to the following students:
All Saints: Ryan Blevins.
Finally, a Catholic school reflects what St. John Paul II (1993) said to youth: “Allow yourselves to be drawn to Christ; accept His invitation and follow Him. Go and preach in a world which is often tempted to despair; become communicators of faith in a society which at times seems resigned to disbelief; become communicators of love in daily events that are often marked by a mentality of unbridled selfishness.”
(John Fencik is director of Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services of Spokane.)
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