As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, it is important to reflect on the significance of Catholic education in our Diocese and in the lives of our students.

The theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week, “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community,” beautifully captures the essence of what our Catholic schools strive to achieve.

One of the key aspects of Catholic education is the formation of students’ faith. Our Catholic schools play a vital role in helping students grow in their relationship with God and in their understanding of the teachings of the Church.

As Pope John Paul II stated, Catholic school teachers “bring [students] to a reverence and knowledge of God’s word and… explain to them the doctrine of the Church” (Pope John Paul II, 1982). Through religion classes, prayer, sacramental preparation and participation in the liturgical life of the Church, our students are nurtured in their faith and encouraged to live as disciples of Christ.

In addition to faith formation, Catholic schools also prioritize strong academics. The Church recognizes the importance of education in preparing students for their future roles in society. Pope Paul VI emphasized the need for Catholic schools to adapt to contemporary conditions and cater to the needs of the times (Pope Paul VI, 1965).

Now more than ever, our world needs young people with integrity and a strong moral compass. By providing a well-rounded education that combines academic excellence
with a Catholic worldview, our schools equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their chosen paths. Furthermore, Catholic schools instill in students a sense of service and social responsibility. Our schools are called to be a light in the world, reaching out to those in need and promoting social welfare. Through service projects, outreach programs and a curriculum that emphasizes social justice, our students learn the value of compassion, empathy and making a positive difference in the world.

Catholic schools are not only important for the present but also for the future of our Church. By providing an education rooted in the principles of the Gospel, our schools contribute to the building of a world that is freed from the negative influences of our society. Our Catholic schools are a beacon of hope, shaping the next generation of faithful Catholics who will continue to carry the torch of our faith.

In the Diocese of Orange, we are blessed to have 36 Catholic schools serving over 17,000 students from preschool through twelfth grade. As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, let us recognize the pivotal role our schools play in shaping shaping the future of our world. Our commitment to faith formation, strong academics, and acts of service is a testament to the enduring impact of Catholic education. We recognize that we are not merely educating students; we are nurturing disciples who will carry the light of Christ into the world.

May this week be a time of gratitude for the teachers, administrators and supporters who make Catholic education possible. Together, as a community of faith, let us continue to inspire and empower the next generation of Catholics, confident in the knowledge that our schools are indeed “United in Faith and Community.” C