On this past Wednesday we had our Annual Back to School Night for OLM School. It is night in which parents meet with teachers and discuss the excellent work being done in the classroom. There is also a time for all the parents to gather and hear from the Pastor, the Principal and the Parent Teacher Group President.
This year we have 255 students enrolled in OLM School. It is decrease from last year’s 290 students. This decline in enrollment is a trend that is effecting every Catholic School in the state. The demographics of a declining population of families having young children is the chief cause of the trend. In Rhode Island, our population continues to get older and many young couples forgo having children or even getting married at all.
OLM School continues to excel in many areas including academics, the arts and sports. Our Mission to educate and develop the future saints and scholars of our Church and society remains at the heart of what we do each day. This Mission includes a fine formation in the Catholic Faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
A few years ago, Damien Woody the former Pro-Bowl Offensive Lineman for the Patriots choose to send his seven children to Catholic School even though he and his family are not Catholic. When a fellow parent asked him why he chose a Catholic School for his children, he answered, “My wife and I believe that a school where they love God will love my children.”
God’s love is truly the center of what we do at OLM School every day. Each day the love of God and of our neighbor are not only taught but also lived out in the words and actions of our faculty and students. Each day our students are encouraged to strive to be saints and scholars.
Catholic schools are about love and if OLM School is truly all about love, then this love must be sustained and nourished. That is why I am so happy that our OLM School children not only begin and end every day with prayer but also come together to celebrate Mass once a week. They also receive God’s mercy in Confession four times a year. All this is done to sustain and nourish the foundation of Catholic faith and God’s love they learn about in the classroom each day.
The measure of success at OLM School or at any Catholic school is not to be solely found in academic achievements, athletic victories, or artistic accomplishments. After all any student at any school can expertly learn to add and to subtract, to read and to write, to run and throw or to paint and to sing.
Catholic education is not about being “socially useful.” Nor is it simply about good “values” and discipline. Catholic education is about developing saints and growing the seeds of holiness and flourishing God’s love in the hearts of students. Our Lady of Mercy Church was built by our ancestors in faith in this parish. Their generosity and witness made our faith possible, their love and faith made this parish and school possible.
We’ve inherited this legacy of faith, love and sacrifice. They sacrificed for love of God in the hope that OLM Church and School would remain faithful and holy for the decades and centuries ahead. They sacrificed and lived daily in hope that the foundation they built would always thrive as a strong and loving community of Catholic disciples. They wanted a parish school not merely to educate our children but to develop the saints and scholars so needed in our 21st century.
So please pray for our parish school and for its success in developing students who will be saints and scholars. Your prayers for the school’s students and faculty are appreciated and always needed. So please keep them in your daily prayers!
I also invite you to consider supporting the Mission of OLM School by joining us for the Saints and Scholars Golf Tournament on Monday, September 24th. It will be a great day of golf and fun in support of the little saints and scholars at OLM School. The tournament is at Warwick Country Club and more information can be found at the parish website. There are a few spots left, so sign up soon. Join us and see if you can beat either Fr. Barrows or myself on the course!
Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Sox! Go Pats!!!