Catholic Schools Week begins January 29 and ends February 4. Catholic schools all across the United States will be celebrating in their own unique ways.
Established in 1974, the week celebrates the ongoing contributions of Catholic education in the United States. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” (A good fact sheet on Catholic schools can be found at the USCCB website here.)
Beginning on Sunday, parishes across the country will likely dedicate a Mass to Catholic education. Most schools, such as our parish school, will probably be holding an open house for parents to observe their child’s progress in the classroom. Parents who may be interested in having their children attend the school are also invited.
Parishes may offer refreshments coinciding with the open house to facilitate fellowship. This is an excellent opportunity to invite family and friends, especially those with children, to church.
On Monday, the focus is on serving others. Whether it is at the community or global level, service is demonstrated by giving freely. This day showcases the values the students have learned while in Catholic school.
Holding food drives and donating clothing to the homeless are excellent service ideas that many schools take part in. Our parish also honors Grandparents on this special day, inviting them to eat lunch and play games with the students.
On Tuesday the schools celebrates the students themselves. They may have planned activities that showcase the fun times they have had during their Catholic school careers. For example, students may work on activities that highlight the friendships they have made while attending Catholic school. Pizza parties and age-appropriate games are activities that are usually planned for this special day.
Wednesday is National Appreciation Day. Prayers and appreciation ceremonies for the elderly and those who serve our country are planned. For example, the children at our parish school will make Valentine’s Day cards for nursing home residents and those who serve in the military.
Thursday celebrates religious vocations, but whatever our children aim to be later in life, Catholic schools provide an excellent educational and faith foundation. On this day, students may volunteer to serve at Mass or sing in the choir. Sisters and priests may speak with the students about religious life. Our parish priest is always honored with a special spiritual bouquet made by the students.
On Friday the students celebrate the faculty and staff. The teachers, principals, and support staffs all work hard to provide an outstanding Catholic education for our children. At our school, we like to honor them with a banquet style lunch. Any and all other volunteers may also be recognized. The teachers are always very grateful for this special day.
Saturday celebrates the parish family. On this last day of Catholic Schools Week, our parish holds our annual Winter Festival. Each family participates by donating snacks and prizes. The room mothers are in charge of games which include a prize wheel, a cake walk, and treasure chests. The children always leave with an abundance of treats!
Does your parish school celebrate Catholic Schools Week? It is a wonderful way to get involved at your parish or local Catholic school and give of your time, talent, and treasure.