Catholic Schools Are Worth It!
Our schools are up-and-running now for three weeks, Alleluia!
In all honesty, I am occasionally tempted to wonder if our schools are worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
Then I visit one of them, as I did last week, for the opening Mass of the Holy Spirit at St. Joseph-by-the Sea High School on Staten Island.
As I left, I concluded, “You bet they’re worth it!”
Upon arrival, I hear the principal, Father Michael Reilly, leading all the 1,170 students in a morning offering of prayer.
The school is filled with well-dressed, courteous, happy students, with obviously devoted teachers.
The halls are adorned with images of Jesus, His Mother, and the saints – – no downplaying here of Catholic identity.
In an ordered way, all the students proceed to Mass.
As I enter, I notice a line of about two-dozen high school boys and girls, and asked Father Reilly what they are waiting for. “Confession,” he tells me, explaining that this sacrament is offered frequently.
The celebration of Mass was a joy, with Father Reilly welcoming me with his observation that the goal of St. Joseph-by-the-Sea High School was to “make the students saints!” (He’d be the first to acknowledge they all have a long way to go!)
To see that jammed hall of students attentive, reverent, and engaged in Mass was a thrill.
And to bless the site for their planned expansion after Mass was a further sign of confidence in the future of Catholic education.
That faculty, alumni, benefactors, board, and student body had no doubt at all that our Catholic schools are indeed worth it!