Yesterday, I wrote about a series of emails on Policy in 2009, the "policy" paper presented by the Archdiocese of Washington DC on the future of Catholic schools.
If you want to see the entire Policy in 2009 document, please go to Restore DC Catholicism and then Current Announcements.
I wrote to Ms. Gibbs, the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Washington DC, the following note:
Recently, you sent out an email in response to a broadcast message regarding the possible closing of Catholic schools.
In that email, you stated that the information was incorrect. You discuss at length the process by which you consulted with individuals and groups in dealing with Catholic education. As you stated, most of this information was already discussed in previous Catholic Standard articles and on the Archbishop's Letter on Education.
However, you did not address two issues in the original email. First, why was this not open to the larger Archdiocese for input? Why are comments from Catholics, not invited by their pastors, not being accepted for consideration? Second, and more important, the issue of the closing/merger of Catholic schools.
Are you willing to state that there will be no announcements of closings/mergers of Catholic schools in the near future -- either this school year or next (2009-2010)?
Are you willing to state that the Archdiocese will not change the assessments for parishes for Catholic education either this school year or next?
I will be happy to print your response in full in my blog.
I was quite surprised that I received a response from Ms. Gibbs. Here is her response in full:
The process was discussed in the archbishop’s pastoral, which was widely distributed last August and remains available online at www.adw.org, in addition to the Catholic Standard (which also has printed numerous articles about the Catholic schools and consultation that began in October 2007).
Further, over 12,000 lay people were invited to participate in the surveys, focus groups and consultations, which is quite significant (and information provided in a follow up email already). While all principals, for example, were asked to participate in the surveys, most of those invited were randomly selected parents and parishioners from school and parish lists.
The discussions and consultations over possible policy options have solely been about broad level policy. There was no discussion on specifics at all. It is unfortunate that anyone would have suggested otherwise.
This must be turning into a bit of a public relations headache for the Archdiocese. Angry parents, blog postings, etc. Not what they had hoped for.
I find it interesting that she stated there were no discussion about specifics, but you can be the judge on that if you read the paper.
Most important, note which questions were not answered -- those dealing with school closures/mergers.
It tells me that this is coming.
I have heard various people say it will be Montgomery County. Others say that PG (or Prince George's) will be first.
One friend event told me that it will take place as soon as June.
I believe that it will take place next school year, probably in January or February. It will not give the parents much time to organize. In addition, they will also say it comes from the pastor, therefore, it will take the heat off of the folks in Hyattsville. This has been their modus operandi (a little Latin for those of you in Takoma Park) in the past. Heck, the Archbishop did this at length in Pittsburgh. Schools were cut but the social justice funding increased. (Like education is not a social justice issue.)
Be prepared and think about what your response would be to it. (Note, I am not advocating violence, destruction of property or the breaking of the any law but there are actions you can take that will get their attention.)
If you attended any one of these meetings, I would love to hear from you and would be happy to post your thoughts.
If you did not get a chance to attend, but feel that you can provide input, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and by the way, let all of your fellow Catholics in this Diocese know about this!