A Publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland
Catholic Voice Online Edition
Front Page In this Issue Around the Diocese Letters News in Brief Calendar Commentary

U.S. Catholic bishops: Catholic schools a ‘sound education rooted in the Gospel message’
Principal and renowned singer to receive Seton Awards
O’Dowd teacher one of six NCEA recipients of national honor
Catholic school in San Lorenzo is proudest accomplishment of parish Women’s Club
Carondelet High School grief group helps students cope with death of parents
Holy Names High senior: My vision for Oakland’s youth
Students bridge digital divide in exchange program
Moreau Catholic High named an Apple Distinguished School
St. Clement School honored for its wide use of technology in learning
What was the greatest value you learned in Catholic school?
Oakland cathedral has on-line teaching tools
National campaign to add more Hispanics in Catholic schools
Catholic school fifth-grader in Mississippi voices Tiana in ‘The Princess and the Frog’


Catholic Voice
  January 25, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA

Singing with joy
Rafael Gomez, Giles Carlos, Brandon Riso, Isabelle Leber and Haley Logan, fourth graders at St. Peter Martyr School in Pittsburg, sing and dance to the spiritual “Ezekial Saw de Wheel” during music class earlier this month.
U.S. Catholic bishops:
Catholic schools a ‘sound education rooted in the Gospel message’

High School Poet Laureate
Sarah Su, a sophomore at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, has been named the city’s first High School Poet Laureate. She was honored Jan. 16 at Alameda Museum where she gave a reading of her poetry. Her 2008 poem, “Face it,” includes the lines: “A mirror is a piece of glass. Nothing that can tell the past. Nothing that can make people see what it is like to be you or me.”

Young people are a valued treasure and the future leaders of our Church. It is the responsibility of the entire Catholic community—bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and laity—to continue to strive towards the goal of making our Catholic elementary and secondary schools available, accessible, and affordable to all Catholic parents and their children, including those who are poor and middle class.

Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. Therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church.

Catholic schools collaborate with parents and guardians in raising and forming their children as families struggle with the changing and challenging cultural and moral contexts in which they find themselves.

By equipping our young people with a sound education, rooted in the Gospel message, the Person of Jesus Christ, and rich in the cherished traditions and liturgical practices of our faith, we ensure that they have the foundation to live morally and uprightly in our complex modern world.

This unique Catholic identity makes our Catholic elementary and secondary schools “schools for the human person” and allows them to fill a critical role in the future life of our Church, our country, and our world (Catholic Schools on the Threshold, no. 9).

Catholic schools are often the Church’s most effective contribution to those families who are poor and disadvantaged, especially in poor inner-city neighborhoods and rural areas.

Catholic schools cultivate healthy interaction among the increasingly diverse populations of our society.
In cities and rural areas, Catholic schools are often the only opportunity for economically disadvantaged young people to receive an education of quality that speaks to the development of the whole person. As we continue to address the many and varied needs of our nation’s new immigrant population, the Church and its schools are often among the few institutions providing immigrants and newcomers with a sense of welcome, dignity, community, and connections with their spiritual roots.

As im-portant as a sound Catholic school education is for the new immigrant and the poor, it continues to be of prime importance to those children and grandchildren of the generations who earlier came to our shores.

Our Catholic schools have produced countless numbers of well-educated and moral citizens who are leaders in our civic and ecclesial communities. We must work with all parents so they have the choice of an education that no other school can supply — excellent academics imparted in the context of Catholic teaching and practice.

Sharing holiday cheer
Virginia Rose, a resident at Salem Lutheran Home in Oakland, peeks into a basket of holiday goodies being delivered by Michael Schirmer, a fifth grader at Assumption School in San Leandro, during his class’s visit to the retirement facility. The school’s second grade also joined in the service learning project that included singing Christmas songs with the residents. Salem Lutheran Home is part of Elder Care Alliance, cosponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
We, the Catholic bishops of the United States, wish to offer our deep gratitude to those individuals who staff our Catholic elementary and secondary schools, the dedicated lay and religious administrators and teachers.

We applaud their professionalism, personal sacrifices, daily witness to faith, and efforts to integrate learning and faith in the lives of their students in order to “accomplish the very purpose of evangelization: the incarnation of the Christian message in the lives of men and women” (Lay Catholics in Schools: Witnesses to Faith, no. 31).

We take this opportunity to encourage all who are devoted to working in Catholic schools to “persevere in their most important mission” (Ecclesia in America, no. 71).

We are encouraged by the laity’s increased involvement with school boards, commissions, and councils. We commend the efforts that are being made to develop programs for the spiritual growth of staff, students, and parents; to create safe environment programs for children and young people; to open development and endowment offices in dioceses and schools; to market schools; and to establish parent organizations that advocate for the rights of Catholic school students and teachers to be treated equitably in government-sponsored programs and services.

While we look with pride to the many successes and achievements of our Catholic elementary and secondary schools, the entire Catholic community must now focus on the future and the many challenges we face.

Our young people are the Church of today and tomorrow. It is imperative that we provide them with schools ready to address their spiritual, moral, and academic needs.

Our challenge today is to provide schools close to where our Catholic people live. In areas where there currently are no Catholic schools, we should open schools that have a mission to evangelize. In addition, Catholic schools should be available to students who are not Catholic and who wish to attend them. This has been a proud part of the history of Catholic schools in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We must continue this outreach in the new millennium.

We call on the entire Catholic community to assist in addressing the critical financial questions that continue to face our Catholic schools. This will require the Catholic community to make both personal and financial sacrifices to overcome these financial challenges.

The burden of supporting our Catholic schools can no longer be placed exclusively on the individual parishes that have schools and on parents who pay tuition. This will require all Catholics, including those in parishes without schools, to focus on the spirituality of stewardship.

(For a copy of the full text of “Renewing Our Commitment” contact the Dept. of Catholic Schools, 2121 Harrison Street, Oakland CA 94612 or email: sdept@csdo.org)

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