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
Our schools are a mission of the Church
by Bishop Thomas Daly
(From the May 19, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
The month of May ushers in the winding down of the school year, preparation for graduation, and anticipation for much-deserved summer vacations. May also marks my first year as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Spokane. Over the past 12 months, I have visited almost all of our 80 parishes and missions, and all but one of the 16 Catholic schools.
When asked about my priorities for the Catholic faithful of Eastern Washington, I have made it clear that there are three: strengthening the faith formation of our young people in our Catholic schools and religious education programs, encouraging and praying for vocations to consecrated life and priesthood, and growing in holiness for the salvation of souls.
Working with Duane Schafer, our Superintendent of Schools, and Katie Rieckers, Curriculum Director, as well as the board of the Nazareth Guild and Dr. Vinny Alfonso, Dean of the School of Education at Gonzaga, we have charted a course of action to strengthen our schools as a mission of the Church. The words of Jesus found in St. Mark’s Gospel, 10:14 – “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them” – serve as a constant reminder of the essential role Catholic schools play in assisting parents who are the first teachers of the Faith.
Earlier this month, pastors, principals, and school board members spent two days participating in a workshop designed to assist them with strategies for increased enrollment and more successful development programs. In addition, I am sending five priests to attend a week-long conference at Notre Dame University focused on the important role priests play in the ministry of Catholic education.
In March, I visited the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Md. She is the patron saint of Catholic schools in the United States. I entrusted our schools to her intercession and prayed that she will help us in our endeavor to make Catholic education possible for all of our families.
I know that many other children are home-schooled or receive their education in a non-religious setting. As I work with our Council of Priests (the Presbyteral Council), I have asked them to help find ways to improve religious education in our parishes so as to deepen the knowledge and lived experience of our Catholic faith in the lives of all young people.
Please join me in thanking those who are entrusted with guiding our young people to grow in grace and wisdom, in our Catholic schools and our religious education programs. Let us pray for all of our graduates as they prepare to move on to their next endeavors, and for their parents, who make daily sacrifices to help their children come to know God.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.... Pray for us. Live, Jesus, in our hearts ... Forever!
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