The nation’s nearly 7,500 Catholic schools will celebrate Catholic Schools Week January 25-31. Catholic Schools Week celebrates education that goes beyond preparation for a secular life - it is education that prepares students for a Christian life.
This year's theme, “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service,” emphasizes the duty and delight of giving back. The theme is fitting, because Catholicism has a long and rich tradition of direct service to those in need, as well as social justice efforts to end social ills like racism and homelessness. To these ends, Catholic schools incorporate service projects into the curriculum, teaching students the value of helping others as an expression of faith and good citizenship.
“Civic engagement is a hallmark of Catholic education,” said Karen Ristau, president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). “The majority of elementary and secondary schools participate in service projects ranging from collecting canned goods for the homeless to rebuilding schools in the hurricane-torn gulf, so it was natural that we choose service as a major theme.”
Schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with masses, open houses and activities for students, administrators, faculty, school staff, the community and families. This year many schools will undertake new service projects as well.
Catholic Schools Week is a joint project of NCEA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries.