By William W. Crist | Superintendent of Schools

Catholic Schools Week, nationally and within the Diocese of Syracuse, celebrates our school communities’ theme of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Throughout this week, our students, our parishes, our communities, and our nation will be recognized with activities and events from January 31 to February 6.

As a start to the weeklong celebration, the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Syracuse presented the 10th Annual Light the Way Scholarship Dinner, a gathering of honorees and guests from each of our Catholic schools. This year, 21 honorees were recognized for the 40 or more years of service and dedication they have given to their personal mission for Catholic school education — what an exciting tribute to the remarkable commitment and incredible achievement of service to our schools.

Most honorees trace their experience to their own Catholic upbringing, their Catholic education, support from a strong Catholic family and a faith that brought them to service, to a vocation, to a calling and to this ministry. As Father Christopher Seibt regularly professes weekly on “Around the Diocese” from Syracuse Catholic Television, God is doing great things in each of us! We are all so proud of the roles our honorees play and we appreciate the dedication that they have all made to the thousands of students they have had an impact on over those 40-plus years.

To better connect with the wishes of Pope Francis during this Year of Mercy, our schools performed special service during this Catholic Schools Week. Our Catholic schools shared in a Day of Service on February 2, which provided diverse and varied service to our greater community through each of our schools. Partner organizations, including Catholic Charities, Samaritan Center – Syracuse, Joseph’s House, the Missionary for God Orphanage in Haiti, the Human Concern Center – Oswego, Oneida Healthcare Lullaby Center, and several parish food pantries and human development ministries, all benefitted from the service and work of each of our schools on this special day. The service our students provided throughout our diocese will make a difference for so many.

As Bishop Robert J. Cunningham recently noted, we acknowledge that our schools open their doors to our youth, challenging them all to become more connected in their faith and communities focused on promoting academic excellence, developing a strong moral conscience and embracing Catholic principles to enable each student to meet lifelong challenges.

Finally, we are overjoyed to acknowledge our schools during Catholic Schools Week 2016. Our recent announcement of accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools is a jewel in our crown of success. But that does not allow anyone to rest; rather, we better focus our pursuits as we strive for continuous improvement and remain uncompromised in our commitment to excellence. Foremost, we live the example of our Catholic faith in our lessons of life, woven within the fabric of the Gospels.

Thank you to all those who support our Catholic schools within the Diocese of Syracuse. I hope that any new families will use this time and the coming weeks to visit a school in their area. Come and witness the difference!

For more information on any of the 22 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Syracuse, visit

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