As you can see today we begin our celebration Catholic School Week.
There are those who say that Catholic Education has run its course.
They believe that Catholic Schools have served their purpose of educating and integrating a vast sea of immigrants into our nation.
They believe that the time for Catholic Schools and even Catholic Education in general is passed and that the resources we spend on them could be better used elsewhere.
We here at St. Paul… do not share their opinion.
We don’t share it.
Over and over again the people of this parish tell me how important our young people are to them.
The parish survey done a couple years ago showed that our young people were the number one concern.
We have a lot to be proud of and grateful for.
We have a excellent school and an excellent Religious Education Program.
Forming our young people in our faith,
being present in their lives,
helping them understand that they are precious in God’s sight
and loved by God is part and parcel of what it means to be a Catholic.
And just like every family sacrifices for their kids so do we here at St. Paul’s.
Just like the parents in our school and in our religious Education write out their tuition checks.
Every month I write out our “tuition check”
and I do so willingly because I know it is the right thing to do.
All of us should understand that we have a serious obligation to prepare our young people for a world that becomes more and more secular and more and more Godless every day.
With our Catholic School and our Religious Education programs we have the possibility of planting the seeds of faith in the hearts of our children.
Sometimes these seeds don’t germinate… right away.
Recently I met a beautiful couple
who hadn’t been in Church for years.
They came to talk about being married in the Church.
One of them said to me “Father I admit it I’ve been away from church for a long time.
I don’t go to church regularly but now I want to come back to God and come back to the Church.”
I have to admit I was a little skeptical.
When I pushed a little harder and asked this person why?
”Father I just wandered away for a while,
I went to St. Paul School and what I learned there is still a part of me.
I want to live a good life.
I want to raise my kids Catholic.”
I was very moved and simply said
There’s a dividend from our little School which is beyond price
I promise you here at St. Paul Church
We will do all that we can to make our school the best that it can be.
First and foremost it will be deeply rooted in the truths of the Gospel.
It will always be a Catholic School in every sense of the word.
Second of all it will be a place where children learn and learn well..
We will never be able to provide our students with all the extras that they can afford in a public school but,
Last year our third graders were reading on 5 grade level
our 4th graders were reading on 6 grade level
our 5 graders were reading on 8th grade level
our 6th graders were reading on 9th grade level
our 7th graders were reading on a 10th grade level
our 3rd graders were working on 4 grade level
our 4th graders were working on 5th grade level
our 5th graders were working on 7th grade level
our 6th graders were working on just shy of a 8th grade level
our 7th graders were work on a 9th grade level
Last year in our school every grade was working above grade level in reading and math.
A couple times they were more than one year ahead and we have the test results to prove it.
We do provide an excellent education.
That’s a lot to be proud of.
As we begin Catholic Schools Week. I want to thank the incredibly dedicated administration faculty and staff of St Paul school for their dedication and sacrifices for our children.
I want to thank you for supporting and believing in our young people
When you came in the kids were passing out a little card with a saying which hangs right inside the door of our school.
Let us recommit ourselves to Christ and our young people by praying it together.
Let it be known to all who enter here
that Jesus Christ is the reason for this school,
the unseen but ever-present teacher in all its classes,
the model of its faculty,
and the inspiration for its staff and students.