There is nothing more inspiring than attending a Catholic school Mass. As a teacher, principal, and superintendent, I have had many opportunities to attend school Masses. I always leave these services reinvigorated and affirmed in the mission of Catholic education. It is extremely powerful to hear the voices of children united in prayer or song. I love to hear readings led by children, and witness the eagerness of young people as they come together to share the Eucharist. If you have never taken the time to attend an elementary school Mass, I strongly encourage you to do so.
Just before Christmas, I heard a fascinating story on NPR about the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia of Nashville. The story profiled an explosion in new young novices in the order. In listening to the story, I was moved by the enthusiasm and evident faith of the profiled women. In an era in which we struggle to recruit priests, deacons, sisters, and brothers, it is reassuring to see one order that is thriving. I encourage all Catholic school supporters to hear the story; it can be accessed by visiting: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/22/131753494/for-these-young-nuns-habits-are-....
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit two Catholic high schools in the Dayton area. Both were great visits; as with most of my visits to Catholic schools this year, I was impressed by the overall quality of education and the commitment of the teachers, administrators, and stakeholders. However, I was particularly struck by the excellence of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in the schools. These programs truly seem to be priorities; from robotics and engineering courses to microbiology and organic chemistry, the depth and content of STEM courses were staggering.
There has been a lot of conversation lately about the likelihood of cuts in public education in the coming year. In Monday's edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer, state officials were quoted as predicting that education funding may be slashed as much as 15-20%. A number of tax levies in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas failed during elections last month. Many public school districts are talking about massive cuts in expenses, including widespread layoffs of teachers and staff members. The immediate future of public education seems bleak.
Last Friday, November 19th, I had the opportunity to visit the two Catholic schools that are most distant from our Archdiocesan office building in downtown Cincinnati. After driving for more than two hours, I visited Holy Rosary Catholic School in St. Mary's and Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Celina. For both schools, my visit was an eye-opener. Each school exists in a vibrantly Catholic area. They possess teachers, parents, and supporters who are wholeheartedly committed to their school.
Two of our Catholic schools were recently recognized with Blue Ribbon Awards. St. Gabriel's Consolidated School and St. Susanna School join a growing number of Archdiocesan schools that have received this prestigious award. Having visited both of these schools, I can verify that the awards are well deserved.
I have now been physically present in 40 of our schools. I am continually amazed at the academic excellence and vibrant, Christ-centered communities in our schools. We are truly doing a superior job of educating children.
Greetings! I am delighted to welcome you to the website for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. I plan on using this blog to share my thoughts, impressions, and experiences as the new Director of Educational Services and Superintendent of Catholic Schools. We are blessed to have many wonderful Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. I hope that you will view this blog to stay abreast of what is occuring in our Catholic schools.
May God bless our schools and their many supporters!