Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Policy for 2009 - My Recommendations

Did you get a copy of Policy for 2009 by the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Office? It is the blueprint for school consolidation over the next few years.

If not, you may write to them at Do you have thoughts on what you have read? Do you agree or disagree with this? Then let the Archdiocese know

Your views need to be heard by Saturday, May 9th. Don't wait.


To Whom It May Concern:

The Archdiocese of Washington DC has laid out their vision of Catholic education in the near future -- one of fewer Catholic schools, and in many instances, each school supported by multiple parishes. While at the same time, the other "social services" provided by the Archdiocese will increase.

Although this may seem like the appropriate action in the near term, in the long term this is a mistake from which we probably will never recover.

A good, solid Catholic education lays the foundation for Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church. Of course, this does not mean that every Catholic parent who sends their children to public schools fails in teaching and upholding the faith. And of course, not every child that attends Catholic school will remain faithful to the Church.

In addition, schools help keep parishes vibrant and going. Events are centered around the school and people become involved for years in helping the school and parish, even after their children have long graduated. They become close friends, sponsors at Confirmation, going to their weddings, and sadly, at each others funerals. I know all too well about that.

By reducing the number of schools, we will find more and more Catholics leaving the Church and those who stay will have less and less of an understanding of our faith. If you think that things are bad now, it will only get worse. In 20 or 30 years, we will be no better off than the Episcopalians and other mainline Protestant churches -- wracked with schism, and even emptier facilities.

Therefore, I would like to recommend the following:

1. Reduce monies slated for Catholic Charities by 10% to 15% based on the Forward in Faith allocation. According to the Archdiocese, $20 million has been slated for this. A reducation will give you $2 to $3 million dollars.

2. Reduce monies slated for the Multi-Cultural Apostolates by 20%. This will raise apx. $3 million dollars based on the allocation in Forward in Faith. You can do most of this by closing the Lay Leadership Institute and selling the McCarrick Center in Wheaton. My sources tell me that there you are not seeing the benefit as originally envisioned. Don't let it become a sink hole.

3. Parish Sharing. Allow all parishes which exceed their Forward in Faith contributions to keep 80% of those funds, instead of 20%. Those with schools can put the funds back into the schools by increasing the amount of tuition assistance.

This will increase the amount designated for education by an additional $3million -- my rough estimate.

If you are going to close schools, then put all of the schools on the block, do not keep some off limits. My sources tell me that St. Catherine in Wheaton is one of those off limits. What makes that school off limits but not every other school?

You may say that the mission of the Church is to help and that by cutting these services, you will hurt people, that I am not Catholic and that I do not care. In some instances, the government provides these services. Let them handle it for the short term. That will also serve as a wake up call to them, that they need the Catholic Church's social services and Catholic education.

By building up Catholic education, you are actually helping people in the long term. You are not only providing a good Catholic education for the children, but good jobs (with benefits) for teachers, support staff, etc., as well as, contractors who may need to do various jobs around the school plant. You will also increase the involvement of parents and others in the life of the school and the Church as a whole, which not only means funding but also volunteer hours.

I look forward to your response.




Dymphna said...

Good letter. However, I suspect that the decisions and the real estate deals have already been made.

Anonymous said...

A very good letter indeed. I too suspect when you have the likes of Thomas Burnford, Thomas Duffy and Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill involved in these things, decisions have been made in advance of the "consultations." The Archdiocese has made a lot of mistakes in the area of Catholic education recently, and some of the chickens are comming home to roost. The financial benefits that the leadership claimed would come about as a result of the charter school conversion will never happen. Please watch this situation carefully.The same people who brought about the conversion sink hole are in charge of the plans for the future of Catholic education. They created one mess, and they could do it one more time.

Anonymous said...

Please make your feelings know to the Archdiocese. It is important that they receive many emails and phone calls protesting their actions. The Archdiocese believes they can do this "under the radar"
Also, please spread the word about what is happening. Informed parishioners are our best hope. .
Tell the Archdiocese reps: Jane Belford, Tom Bumford at 301-853-3800 or that their deadline is arbitrary and unconscionable considering the enormity of what they are about to do. The coverage in the Catholic Standard and Parish Bulletins should occur before the alleged "Consultation Process", not after. Tell them that the parishioners of these parishes are too sophisticated to buy this spin. If they were so proud of this "process", why were they not more open and inclusive with the process? It will not pass the investigation that more enlightened parishioners will conduct. The Archdiocese will be caught in a web of their own making.