BY CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
It’s time for uniforms, backpacks, books, laptops, peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, and masks!
Yes, it’s back-to-school! A blessed fresh academic year to our students, teachers, principals, priests, and staff!
Since our heroic faculties, parents, and children were back “in-person” this time last year, the students in our cherished Catholic schools are “used to it all.” Twelve months ago, the nation marveled as our schools opened in a very safe and healthy way. The whole country expressed what you and I have known for two centuries, “Those Catholic schools have a lot of grit, determination, and passionate commitment!”
Our enrollment went up as parents and students of the other unopened schools were eager for “in-person learning,” and came to us. Glad they did. Guess what? Most of them so appreciate the safety, atmosphere, education, and faith of our schools that, even now when they could go back to their former schools, they want to stay with us. No surprise!
As usual, funds due us by law from the Covid-relief package we so vigorously supported, working closely with Senator Schumer, are still mired in bureaucratic red tape. I’m hopeful our new governor, who has inspired us all with her openness and gracious demeanor, can get to us what by law belongs to our kids, teachers, and schools.
One very grateful parent wrote me to thank us for welcoming her two children as transfers, and to advise me that she’s now sold on the quality of our schools:
“I used to shrug and say, ‘I wish I could send my two kids up to the Catholic school, but I just can’t afford it.’ Now I’m admitting that I can’t afford not to!”
She went on to tell me how the daily prayer, positive, reinforcing discipline and emphasis on character and biblical virtues were so needed by her kids. Now she confesses an education cannot be whole and integrated without all that.
Thanks to our generous benefactors. Our people loyally support our schools. This year is the golden anniversary of the brave, bold initiative of Cardinal Terence Cooke and trusted lay leaders in founding the internationally acclaimed Inner City Scholarship Fund. Our opponents want to dismiss our schools as “private and elite.” Malarkey! We know better. We do it for overwhelmingly poor and middle-class families, and we do it twice as well for half the cost.
God’s blessings on our Catholic schools as they get back to the desks!