Ours is a time filled with uncertainty. There is concern and consternation about the global economy and its impact on all of us.
Foreign affairs are fraught with peril. We’re at war with a concept — religious extremism — and not with another nation state. So there is no defined “army” to fight; no clearly visible battlefield. Yet no one questions the uncertainty that stands hand-in-hand with our military future.
We’re uncertain about the climate, about our lack of progress toward racial and gender equality. In fact, there are a number of things that could be added to the list of 21st century “uncertainties.”
So it is with great relief, great comfort that we know we can take solace in the certainty that is the Catholic Church.
Travel the world over, if you have the chance, and take comfort that wherever Mass is offered, it will be familiar. The language might be one we can’t speak or fathom. But the liturgy is something with which we are all familiar and is the same the world over. We should be grateful for that.
It is also nice to know that within the Archdiocese of Louisville there are also constants, things we can count on to give us both comfort and, in some cases, cause for pride.
One is our system of Catholic schools.
Catholic Schools Week was celebrated Jan. 24 to 30 in dozens of ways by the 49 elementary and secondary schools within the archdiocese. And in about a month, Catholic school alumni will be honored once again at the annual Salute the Catholic School Alumni banquet, which this year will be held March 16.
The schools in which we justifiably take such pride have about 19,000 students taught and led by 1,500 faculty and staff. Each and every year they make us proud — just last year, for instance, four of our schools were named U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools. They were St. Albert the Great, St. Gabriel and St. Margaret Mary schools along with St. Mary Academy.
To date there have been in the Archdiocese of Louisville 18 schools — elementary, middle and high schools — recognized with this national award.
Blue Ribbon Schools are almost as common in the archdiocese as snowflakes in winter, and no doubt there will be more schools honored in the near future.
According to school Superintendent Leisa Schulz, standardized test scores “put Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic elementary schools in the top 15 percent” of schools tested throughout the nation.
As proud as we have the right to be of our Catholic schools, we should also take pride and comfort in the work of the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF).
Under the insightful and enthusiastic guidance of Richard Lechleiter, president of the CEF, tuition assistance has grown dramatically for those families who want, but can’t afford, a Catholic education for their children.
According to CEF figures, in the fall of 2015 the foundation and its funding partners awarded a staggering $5 million in tuition assistance. This year Lechleiter wants that figure to increase by another $1 million. Lechleiter and his staff at the CEF have adopted a slogan that conveys their positive message about Catholic schools. If you want your child to get a Catholic education, and if you wonder if there are ways to afford it, the CEF says, “The answer is yes.”
So remember that when the February and March winds keep howling, when we think that spring will never get here and that our days will forever remain dark and gloomy. It isn’t so. The church tells us as much; Mass affirms that positive message each week.
Our faith should be strong, even in the darkest of hours, because God’s love for us is a constant, even in an ever-changing world.
Record Editor Emeritus