Monday, June 1, 2009

Catholic Schools - Priests Consultation

Well, folks, as I mentioned to you last Friday, there was a convocation of priests (apx. 120) who met to discuss Catholic Schools.

Here are some highlights from the article:

- parish assessments also may change to reflect a consensus that Catholic schools should be the responsibility of the entire archdiocese and not just parishes with schools. Parishes would likely see an assessment increase starting in July 2010 to more evenly distribute support for families seeking a Catholic school education. (Note: This was discussed in the Policy in 2009 Paper.)

- the priests discussed the proposed policies...they recognize that changes to the way Catholic schools are funded are essential to sustaining them into the future.

- Msgr. Bill Parent, pastor of St. Peter Parish in Waldorf, Maryland. "My parish contributed $277,000 last year to our school. We can't continue to do that so I am very much in favor of trying to share the load (among all parishes)."

- A survey about different priorities then was sent to more than 12,000 Catholic school educators, parents, parishioners and priests and was followed by focus groups of pastors, principals, teachers, parents and parishioners. (Note: About 1000 responded, which by survey standards is good.)

- A final round of consultations was held last month with eight regional meetings in parishes across the archdiocese. More than 1,000 pastors, principals, teachers and parish representatives were invited to provide feedback and input on draft policy options. (Note: About invitees attended the meetings. No open meetings were held. )

This is sad, because once a Catholic school closes, there is really no chance that it will open again. As we reduce the number of schools, we will also see a reduction in parishioners, as well as, those who adhere to the faith. Schools really help make the parish a vibrant place.

I have been in both -- parishes w/ and w/o schools -- and the ones w/ schools have so much more to offer and are so much more vibrant.

However, you have noticed that there is no talk of any cuts in any social programs, from the Spanish Center to the McCarrick Center, to any of the other special programs. Schools seem to be expendable, yet they (schools) are just as important as any other social program we offer.

It is my opinion, that the Archdiocese of Washington DC is slowly turning into a social services agency, that happens to be Roman Catholic, instead of the Roman Catholic Church, which has a social services component.

For the full article, go here.

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