January 29, 2016

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Thank you for your support: Value of Catholic schools to country and Church is indispensable, speaker says

An archdiocesan celebration of Catholic education on Oct. 26, 2015, honored four individuals whose Catholic values mark their lives. Sitting, from left, are honorees Tom Dale, Dr. Marianne Price and Dr. Frank Price. Standing, from left, are honoree Dave Gehrich, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and keynote speaker, Holy Cross Father Timothy Scully. (Photo by Rob Banayote)

An archdiocesan celebration of Catholic education on Oct. 26, 2015, honored four individuals whose Catholic values mark their lives. Sitting, from left, are honorees Tom Dale, Dr. Marianne Price and Dr. Frank Price. Standing, from left, are honoree Dave Gehrich, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and keynote speaker, Holy Cross Father Timothy Scully. (Photo by Rob Banayote)

By John Shaughnessy

The compelling question came in the midst of a celebration—a celebration in which the archdiocese continued to move closer to raising more than $5.6 million this year to help children receive a Catholic education.

The question was posed by Holy Cross Father Timothy Scully, the featured speaker during the 20th annual Celebrating Catholic School Values Awards event at Union Station in Indianapolis on Oct. 26.

“Sometimes, it’s interesting when you’re thinking about the value of something to think about what our life would be like without it,” said Father Scully, the co-founder of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), which trains educators to serve in Catholic schools in economically challenged communities across the United States.

“What would be different in America today, in our Church, in our communities, if Catholic schools never existed?”

Father Scully started his answer by focusing on the impact of a Catholic education on the most vulnerable children in American society.

“It’s been shown when Catholic schools close in an urban neighborhood, crime increases, delinquency rises, urban decay sets in,” Father Scully told the 600 people at the event. “Catholic schools represent islands of hope in the midst of lives often bereft of hope, generating untold social capital.

“Our graduates are more likely to be engaged in community service as adults. They’re far less likely to be incarcerated, and they experience far higher lifetime earnings. Moreover, in the aggregate, Catholic schools are in fact more racially and socially plural than their public school counterparts. In many of our poorest urban communities, more than 90 percent of our students are minorities and many of them are not Catholic.

“The truth of the matter is that Catholic schools are absolutely essential, sacred places serving civic purposes. Their existence and vitality are essential to the life and health of our nation.”

From an economic standpoint, Catholic schools also “save the public purse in our country more than $21 billion a year,” Father Scully noted.
 


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