By William W. Crist | Diocesan superintendent
We are excited to once again celebrate Catholic education at each of our Catholic schools and throughout our diocese during the annual national observance of Catholic Schools Week, this year Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. Catholic education provides a wonderful academic foundation, but is especially important because of the community it builds beyond individual schools through the students and families as they grow in faith and service to their neighbors. I am reminded of the words of Dr. Thomas W. Burnford, CEO of the National Catholic Educational Association: “As Catholic educators we can teach the fullness of our Catholic faith… and proclaim the truth” to build students with strong character ready to take on the challenges of our modern world.
The festivities begin with our 13th Annual Light the Way Scholarship Dinner on Jan. 25 at the Marriott Downtown Syracuse. This annual evening of recognition has raised more than $250,000 for tuition assistance since its inception. We are grateful for sponsorship, in part by M&T Bank, KeyBank, Mirabito Energy Products and Convenience Stores, Visual Technologies, FACTS Tuition Management, Eastwood Litho, and Le Moyne College.
How fitting that we recognize Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, our bishop in the Diocese of Syracuse, as the Light The Way Award recipient for his unwavering support and significant influence on the life of Catholic education in our diocese. His light has been shining on our schools throughout his time as our bishop.
The Superintendent’s Service Medal Award will be awarded to Tara Nolan, a parent volunteer at St. Mary’s Academy in Baldwinsville, for her dedication and service to that school and supporting the mission of Catholic education.
We are also getting ready to celebrate in our schools. Parishes, communities, vocations, faculty, staff, and volunteers will all be recognized and celebrated in each of our 22 our schools throughout the week. Of course, families are an integral part of our schools as well. Parents are the first teachers of their children and our students and schools benefit from the partnership between home and school.
We will be conducting a special Diocesan Day of Service during which our students and schools will offer an act, or ongoing service, to those in need throughout our communities. Schools will be providing meals, food and personal items, clothing, and personal acts of service to people and organizations that need assistance. Service to others stands as a pillar in each of our schools and the students within each of them are taught to answer the Gospel call to help those less fortunate.
Our schools will also be participating in a National Day of Giving for the second consecutive year. “Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools” is an online giving campaign that allows community members to donate online safely and securely in support of Catholic education. As we begin our celebration of our Catholic schools as part of Catholic Schools Week, we are pleased to participate in this national campaign. Scheduled for January 29 and 30, this is a time for individuals to give to their local Catholic school or support the Light a Child’s Future Fund, which provides tuition assistance for families across our seven-county diocese. We invite you to support Catholic education and share this with your friends. Donate by visiting the Catholic School Office Facebook page (facebook.com/syracusecatholicschools) or your local Catholic school’s website.
Information about each of our 22 schools and a complete schedule of activities and celebrations for Catholic Schools Week can be found on our diocesan website at syrdio.org. Thank you for your continued support of our schools and Catholic education in the Diocese of Syracuse!