By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
In the midst of a week filled with celebrations, including silly sock and pajama party days, students and teachers prayerfully gathered at St. Albert the Great Church for the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass.
The Mass, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz told them, is an opportunity to give thanks for Catholic education.
“Those of you who represent our schools throughout the archdiocese, I hope that you bring with you that spirit of pride and gratitude that is infused around your Catholic school throughout every day,” he said.
National Catholic Schools Week was observed across the country Jan. 28 to Feb. 2. The theme for the week was “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” Each school in the Archdiocese of Louisville was invited to send representatives to the local Mass.
During his homily, the archbishop recalled a recent trip to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, the seminary he attended while studying to become a priest.
He said the experience was deeper than simple nostalgia.
“It has to do with gratitude for the foundation, gratitude for the foundation that God has provided in our” formation, he said. “To be formed in Christ in all aspects of our lives. And, Catholic schools do it so well.”
Leisa Schulz, superintendent of Catholic schools, said the Mass is an opportunity to celebrate “how each of us and each of our schools make our Catholic schools communities of learning, service, leadership and success.”
Following the Liturgy of the Eucharist, several archdiocesan awards were presented to educators and a volunteer. They are:
- Dr. Rob Mullen, president of Trinity High School, received the Distinguished Catholic School Leader Award.
- Anne Bahr, a teacher at St. Martha School, received the Father Joseph McGee Award for Outstanding Catholic Educator. The Father McGee Award will be presented at the Salute to Catholic School Alumni March 27.
- Caroline Robinson, a teacher at St. Leonard School, received the Irene Casey Catholic Inclusion Award.
- John Amback, a volunteer at Ascension School, was named the Outstanding School Volunteer.
The Catholic Education Foundation presented awards to four students who won its Catholic Schools Week essay and poster contests.
The contests invited students to celebrate the Catholic Schools Week theme: “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” The winners and their work are listed in the Catholic Schools Week section on page 10.
Schools across the archdiocese celebrated the week with a number of events. The following is a sample of activities that included service:
- St. Edward School, 9610 Sue Helen Drive, will host a Knights of Columbus Volunteer Service Day Jan. 31. The Knights of Columbus will visit the school and attend morning Mass with the students, volunteer in the school and read in classrooms.
- Holy Trinity School, 423 Cherrywood Road, held a collection for St. Nicholas School. The two schools’ student councils also held a joint meeting.
- St. James School in Elizabethtown, Ky., hosted a Business Community Breakfast Jan. 28, where 120 business people from the city of Elizabethtown visited the school. St. James middle school students put together military care packages with items collected by students.
- Sacred Heart Model School, 3107 Lexington Road, collected blankets to donate to Catholic Charities of Louisville. Students also created place mats which they will donate to hospitals for use by patients. Students also wrote thank you notes to the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, who sponsor Sacred Heart Schools.
- Sacred Heart Preschool, 3105 Lexington Road, collected mittens, hats and scarves; created Valentines for veterans and wrote thank you notes to the Ursuline Sisters.
Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has been the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States and is sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Catholic Education. Nearly 1.8 million students are currently educated in 6,352 Catholic schools in the United States. Locally, there are 19,032 students in prekindergarten through 12th-grade enrolled in 49 Catholic elementary and secondary schools located in seven counties in the archdiocese.