By Becky Aubut
FALL RIVER, Mass.— The Anchor is currently working hand-in-hand with all 22 of the Diocese of Fall River Catholic schools, from elementary to high school and from all five deaneries, to create a Back to School supplement paper to be published in a few weeks. The free newspaper will be filled with pertinent written information and photos provided by faculty and staff from each of the Catholic schools.
The publication will be made available to all 22 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River, and additional copies will be made available to parishes associated with a school. The entire Back to School supplement is focused on Catholic schools and what each school has to offer its current and prospective students.
“For our diocese’s Catholic schools, I consider the upcoming Back to School supplement a sort of ‘playbill’ that highlights and celebrates for the readership past, present, and future attractions,” said interim-superintendent of the Diocese of Fall River Catholic Education Center, Stephen Perla. “Such, I hope, would prompt in some persons rejuvenated interest in how and in what ways the Church’s mission, for future generations, is being advanced up and down the hallways of our Catholic schools.”
About 1.9 million students are currently educated in nearly 6,600 Catholic schools around the country. Students receive an education that prepares them for higher education, a competitive work environment, but most importantly, living a Christian life of virtue in a challenging society. “We want our students to keep their eyes fixed on eternity which is the ultimate goal of a complete education,” said Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, Neb., chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Education.
“Catholic schools are a vital aspect of the Church’s mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so an important aspect of our own teaching mission,” said the archbishop. He noted that Pope Francis reminded Catholic educators at the World Congress held last year in Rome to know the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy and to offer them to students in Catholic schools as practical examples of how to live the Gospel.
“By teaching the Good News of the Gospel, Catholic educators guide our students to Jesus Christ and His healing mercy,” Archbishop Lucas said.
Here, in part, is some of what Perla wrote for the upcoming Back to School issue: “There is much to be grateful for and much to look forward to as the diocese prepares to implement a hope-filled vision for the future of Catholic school education.
“For his strong commitment to Catholic school education, the Catholic schools are grateful to Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. They are also blessed to have a cadre of school pastors whose faith leadership and support continue to strengthen the schools. Furthermore, the schools are thankful for their many prodigious and deeply committed leaders who, in their collaboration with the diocese’s many talented teachers, meet daily the needs of Catholic school students and families.
“This year our schools will welcome approximately 6,500 students to our 22 campuses. They will be greeted with enthusiasm for a new year of learning academics rooted in Catholic values.”
Using words and photos, each school has a chance to highlight events and to feature the extraordinary and faith-filled curriculum each student experiences at his or her school. This is an opportunity for current administration to welcome students into the school year of 2016-2017, while newly-appointed administration can create his or her own greeting to incoming students and faculty.
Catholic school students learn to experience God’s grace and presence in their lives through their relationships with family, friends, and teachers. The loving and supportive relationships each student experiences through his or her years at Catholic school are reflections of the love and life-giving dynamic of the Trinity.
Catholic school students are given the opportunity to explore the beauty and richness of Sacred Scripture seen through the lens of faith and lived out in daily practice. They experience the ongoing revelation of God in Scripture as the One Who leads the Israelites through the Promised Land, and Who redeems them through His cross and Resurrection. They also come to view the human person as created in God’s “image and likeness,” and destined for eternal life. Each student learns to apply Scripture to their own lives as a tool for prayer and the true guide for virtuous living.
Archbishop Lucas added that the backbone of Catholic education is the relationship between the parent, the school and the Church — each doing a part to provide an educational environment that keeps Christ at the center of each child’s life within a challenging and nurturing educational setting. “Catholic schools partner with families to provide a quality faith-filled education for children. At this time in society, elevating the rights and duties of parents and families is a critical ministry in the Church,” he said.
There is still time to place an advertisement in the Back to School supplement; for those interested, please contact: Wayne Powers at 508-675-7151 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.