Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Washington DC

Annual Events Celebrate Catholic Education

Published February 9, 2006

“Catholic Schools: Character. Compassion. Values.” was the theme of Catholic Schools Week 2006. The week ran from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 in Catholic schools throughout the nation. The observance begins on the last Sunday in January every year.

National Appreciation Day For Catholic Schools was observed Wednesday, Feb. 1. Two other highlights of the week were Vocation Appreciation Day on Feb. 2 and National Appreciation Day For Catholic School Teachers, a tribute to the 163,000 Catholic educators, observed Feb. 3.

In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, students in Catholic schools marked the week in various ways. The annual archdiocesan spelling bee was held Jan. 31, and Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory celebrated the Catholic Schools Mass for eighth-graders at St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell on Feb. 1.

At St. John the Evangelist School in Hapeville, students took flowerpots containing planted seeds to community workers, such as police and fire personnel. They also celebrated parents, teachers and the students in a variety of ways. Principal Karen Vogtner said the students held a videoconference with students from another St. John the Evangelist School in Minnesota and were struck by how much alike their schools were.

“Even though the schools are far away from each other, we found out how similar we are. Our mission is the same. That’s the beauty of Catholic schools,” she said.

And Catholic Schools Week gives all schools a chance to celebrate that mission, she added.

“It’s important to focus on the mission of what we do and to realize that this is bigger than just the local community. There are Catholic schools all over the world and we have the same mission—educating our students for everlasting life,” she said. “It really gives us a time to celebrate our accomplishments and to focus on that mission. It’s a time for all of us—parents, faculty, and students—to celebrate Catholic schools.”

A longtime tradition in Catholic education, now in its 32nd year, Catholic Schools Week became part of The National Marketing Campaign For Catholic Schools in 1991. This year-round program is a collaborative undertaking by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“Catholic Schools Week is an especially good time to celebrate character, compassion and values. Many of our schools in the Gulf suffered serious damage in the hurricanes,” said Karen Ristau, NCEA president. “True to their character, most of them have reopened. Other students across the nation contributed more than $1 million in a Child to Child relief effort, demonstrating that their compassion and values are enduring.”

The purpose of Catholic Schools Week is to build support and recognition for the almost 8,000 Catholic schools nationwide. During this week, many dioceses encourage parents to enroll their children in Catholic schools. CSW also is an opportunity to interest citizens in volunteering their time and talents to local Catholic schools.