Dear Parishioners: As the late, great Yogi Berra once said: “It’s déjà vu all over again!” Big snowstorms on the weekend are back again! I was hoping they might not reappear but alas Mother Nature dashed all hope last weekend. Let’s pray it won’t happen as often as it did last year.
This weekend we kick off National Catholic Schools Week! It is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. The theme for the national celebration is: “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Catholic schools offer academic excellence and faith-filled education for students nationwide. National test scores, high school graduation rates, college attendance and other data show that Catholic schools frequently outperform schools in both the public and private sectors.
We are celebrating our own parish school this week. Some of our students from OLM School are speaking at Mass this weekend to share their positive experiences attending OLM. There is an Open House at OLM School on Sunday from 10:00AM until Noon. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore what our school offers. Under the dynamic leadership of our Principal, Scott Fuller, lots of new, exciting and innovative things have been happening at OLM School and I encourage you go to the OLM School webpage (olmschool.org) to find more information. Also take a look at the terrific new promotional video about OLM School.
Our parish school has many events planned for this special week. Of course, we begin this Catholic Schools Week on Monday with an OLM School Mass. I hope you join us for the Mass at 9:00AM as we worship and pray together. We give thanks for Catholic Education especially for OLM School and its excellent faculty and wonderful students. We’ve also updated our school mission which now states:
“Our Mission at Our Lady of Mercy School is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church as we pursue excellence in academics, athletics and the arts. In the midst of a safe and nurturing environment we seek to develop a good moral character built upon the teachings of the Catholic Church. We strive to be Saints and Scholars who serve the evangelical mission of our parish so that Mercy may flourish.“
There are many challenges for Catholic Education especially here in Rhode Island. A declining population as Catholic families have less children impacts enrollment in our schools. The expense of running a parish school continues to increase as costs for health insurance, pensions, and utilities rise. Keeping tuition affordable for all and helping those who need aid is also a real challenge for our schools. As we continue the mission of OLM School in making saints and scholars in the future, we have established the Saints and Scholars Fund. It helps with the expense and also builds a stronger endowment for the future. This new fund is the second collection this weekend, I thank you for your generous support.
The former NFL player, Damien Woody, when he was playing for the New York Jets, choose to send his children to a Catholic School even though his family wasn’t Catholic. A fellow school parent asked him why he sent his kids to Catholic School even though he wasn’t Catholic. He answered, “My wife and I believe that a school where they love God will love my children.”
Some say Catholic education, the largest private education system in America, is about many things like excellence and discipline but certainly not about love. I firmly believe that the center of Catholic Education truly must be love. A love that exists here at OLM School every day. It is a deep and abiding love of God and of our neighbor lived out daily. Pray for Catholic Schools, pray for our principal, faculty and students this week. Celebrate and support Catholic Education as together we strive to be Saints and Scholars. Football season is over! Go Sox!!! Be well. Do Good. God Bless. !!!