By Leisa Schulz
Happy Catholic Schools Week! Each year we take time to celebrate our Catholic schools that form students in the attitudes and actions of the heart as well as in knowledge about the faith.
I think we can agree this year has been a year like no other with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has brought to every facet of our lives. Our Catholic schools have provided a bedrock of support to our students, families and communities. Led by our pastors, principals, teachers and staff, our Catholic school communities simultaneously made bold changes to respond to the needs of those we serve.
Our Catholic schools continue to live out the history that began over 200 years ago in Kentucky. The first Catholic school was formed in 1777 when Jane Coomes, recognized as the first teacher in Kentucky, began teaching the Lord’s Prayer as well as the alphabet and arithmetic to the children at Ft. Harrod. Jane was described as a woman of “remarkable intellect, great originality and fertility of resource, and of strong and noble character.”
Formed in faith, Jane saw a need and responded. Our Catholic school communities continue that history today. Catholic schools are second to the home in teaching the faith, developing good moral habits, shaping values and instilling a love of learning. They are also adept at transforming how they carry out that ministry — moving from in-person to remote learning, implementing COVID-19 protocols, celebrating “drive-by” graduations — all the while providing a strong and stable faith community for students.
We are privileged as catechists in Catholic schools to share our faith with students in the way that Jesus shared his faith with his disciples. Our leaders and educators are unwavering in their commitment to students. On a daily basis, we have opportunities to walk with students as they come to know, celebrate and reflect upon the mystery of Jesus Christ, whether that is face-to-face or via Zoom meeting.
Our school communities continue to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19. The one constant is keeping our Catholic faith at the center both as a source of comfort and a call to action to respond to the needs of our students. Catholic Schools Week celebrations may be different this year; however, the festivities will affirm the faith, excellence and service that are Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville!
Throughout it all, our Catholic school educators respond out of their love, commitment and dedication to their faith and to their students. They foster attitudes and actions of the heart. What a marvelous gift these educators are to our Church!