By Kathryne A. Sparaco

Principal Nancy Ferrarone introduces Catholic Schools Week. Photos by Chuck Wainwright.

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia kicked off Catholic Schools Week on Jan. 30 with a Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville. He was joined by celebrants Father Thomas J.  Ryan, Father Philip A. Hearn, Msgr. Ronald C. Bill and Father Jason Downer, S.J., along with the many families of the children who attend Immaculate Conception School.

Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 5, is always a prideful time for our Catholic schools. “Catholic Schools Week is important for many reasons,” shared Immaculate Conception’s principal, Nancy Ferrarone. “Primarily, it is important for our students and families to be recognized for the commitment they’ve made to Catholic education. It’s important to showcase the efforts of our dedicated and talented faculty and staff as well. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share with our community the benefits of what Immaculate Conception has to offer.”

This year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week is “Faith. Excellence. Service.” In Bishop Lucia’s homily, he tied in how we are faithful and excellent people by the way we serve others. “Through our baptism, all of us share in God’s priesthood. We are all called to ask ourselves how do I serve God? How do I give witness to God?” he said. “The most excellent way we are called to use our gifts is to love. It makes a difference when we learn to love.” Bishop Lucia also shared that we live out our faith by using the gifts that God gave us. “We are all made in the image and likeness of God. And what God has made is good. Each one of us is gifted by God in a different way.”

An exciting week follows the Mass for all the Catholic schools in the diocese. Each participates in activities focused on the value of Catholic education and contributing to the Church, school and community.

An IC School sixth-grader welcomes students and families to Mass.

Ferrarone was looking forward to the week ahead. “In addition to reflecting on the benefits of a Catholic education and the importance of including our faith in all we do, we have some other special events planned such as horse-drawn-carriage rides, snowman-building contests and some Winter-Olympic-themed activities,” she said.

In closing, Bishop Lucia reiterated that the root of bringing faith, excellence and service into the world is to love. “We do not walk this way alone. Our God is with us. And at the heart of that is love,” he said. “My prayer is that Immaculate Conception is a place where we learn about faith, excellence and service. And the model for that is love.”

Kathryne A. Sparaco is the Administrative Assistant for the Office of Vicar General, the Chancellor/Director of Communications, the Vicar of Religious and Synodal Planning, and the Director of Facilities.

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