Once again, we are proud to partner with NCEA – the National Catholic Education Association – to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. The logo and theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week is again Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Catholic Schools Week celebrates the contribution that Catholic education provides to children and youth, to our Church, to our communities, and to our nation.

This year we are providing practical tips and resources that are aligned with the daily themes established in the NCEA Catholic Schools Week materials. Our goal is to help you celebrate the Catholic identity of your school. We will also suggest activities and resources to encourage parish and family participation in passing on our faith to the next generation.


Sunday – In Our Parish

There is an integral connection between parishes communities and Catholic schools.

Each Sunday, we come together as a parish community to celebrate the Mass. Yes, it is a celebration! We gather together as a community of believers to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy, we sing praise to God, listen to the Holy Scriptures, eat the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and are sent out to proclaim the Good News to the world.

During Catholic Schools week, many parishes invite members of the school to have a special role in the liturgy. It is a special time for parishioners to pray for, and to show their support for, the ministry of the Catholic school.

Faith in Action – Practical Tips:
Attending Sunday liturgy as a family is an essential part of being a “school family,” for we live our faith in community. We are a sacramental people. The booklet Catholic Prayers and Practices including The Order of the Mass is an excellent resource to help parents strengthen Catholic identity in their children’s lives, so the whole family is prepared to participate fully in the liturgical celebrations each Sunday.


Monday – In Our Community

Service, Catholic Social Teaching, and Faith in Action

Our faith teaches that as disciples of Jesus, we are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in lives of service to others. There are many simple ways to encourage children to live lives of service. And, it goes beyond service projects. Children pay attention to and model their lives after the adults in their lives. When adults integrate service into our everyday lives, we are modeling discipleship for our children.

The principles of Catholic Social Teaching are:

  • The Life and Dignity of the Human Person – ALL people are created in God\u2019s Image, worthy of respect
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation – the human person is both sacred and social
  • Rights and Responsibilities – people have the fundamental right to life, to food, to shelter, to adequate health care & education and the right to work
  • Option for the Poor and Most Vulnerable – the measure of how great a society is lies in the manner it treats the poor and most vulnerable
  • The Dignity of Work and the Rights of the Workers – the economy exists for the people, not the opposite
  • Solidarity – we are called to work for justice throughout the world
  • Care for God\u2019s Creation – we are called to protect the environment, to love and respect it

Faith in Action – Practical Tips:
Helping elder neighbors with lawn care or throughout the seasons is something the whole family can do together. Perhaps your parish has a meal program, and your family can cook a meal together in order to show that sharing resources is a value in your home. Making a family commitment to Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle will help children respect the Earth and all of God’s gifts.


Tuesday – Celebrating Your Students

Nurturing personal faith development in the lives of your students.

We believe Catholic education provides a nurturing environment for children to grow and learn, not only in their studies, but also in their faith. Through Baptism, God has called us each by name. And, each of us has a personal relationship with God as a child of God.

Faith in Action – Practical Tips:
When we help children learn prayers “by heart” and invite them to participate in classroom prayer and all-school liturgies, as well as Sunday Mass with their families, we are modeling a way of life that includes prayer as communication with God as an essential part of life.

Traditional prayers like the Rosary help to connect Catholics throughout the world. And there is a special wisdom in our prayers that crosses over time and culture to provide meaning for our lives. Have you ever noticed in times of trouble or difficulty, you automatically turn to prayers like the Our Father and the Hail Mary? These “prayers by heart” are ready for us because they have become a part of our spiritual selves.

We can also encourage the development of children’s personal faith by reading appropriate bible stories to them beginning in early childhood, and when they can read, encouraging them to read bible stories on their own. Look in our textbook series for guidance on appropriate texts, and teach the children to learn how to find bible verses on their own.

Give the gift of prayer to children by inviting them to learn prayers by heart, and reading God’s holy word in the bible this school year.


Wednesday – Celebrating the Nation

Honoring our civic duty.

As members of a society, we all have civic duties and responsibilities. As adults, we have the responsibility of bringing up our children with a sense of wanting to contribute to our society. President John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

On National Appreciation Day for Catholic Schools we have an opportunity to talk about leadership with our students. What makes a good leader? Are there any people with special talents for leadership in your school, parish, community, or state? Has anyone ever thought they would like to be a mayor, governor, or president?

It is also a good time to remember that we can always pray for our country, for our leaders, and for the world. Remind the children that Jesus calls for us to become peacemakers. What are the qualities of a peacemaker and how are they similar to the qualities of leadership?

Faith in Action – Practical Tips:
Invite your children to look up these scripture passages:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. – Romans 12:18

Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another. – Romans 14:19

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. – James 3:17

Photo from: NASA


Thursday – Celebrating Vocations

Listening to God’s call.

In the root of the word vocation is the Latin word for call, vocare.

We know that through Baptism, that God calls each of us by name. We also believe that God calls each and every one of us into service and discipleship with our lives.

There are many different ways to respond to God’s call. When we celebrate vocations, we are celebrating all of the ways people respond to Gods’ call.

Faith in Action – Practical Tips:
Invite a variety of people to share how they believe they are responding to God's call in their lives. There are religious vocations, like becoming an ordained priest, deacon, religious sister, or brother, or participating in the sacrament of matrimony and raising a family. There are also career vocations.

Inviting parishioners to share their stories of how they discerned God's call for their lives can be inspiring to children, and help them to consider how God has given them special gifts to share with the world.

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Friday – Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers

A day of gratitude.

The road to happiness is found in a grateful heart. Brother David Steindl-Rast says, “The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

We practice so many things in life, but how often do we practice gratitude? There is so much joy in telling people that we appreciate them!

Faith in Action – Practical Tips:
Invite the children to take time to consider all of the people in your school and parish who do things to serve the community. Make a big list of gratitude. Invite the children to create a mural of all of the people who provide leadership and service to the school.

Brainstorm all the different ways to say, "Thank you." How do we show we are thankful? Say we are thankful? Write we are thankful? And live lives of thankfulness?

Invite children to consider when Jesus "gave thanks." How do we “give thanks” each time we attend Mass? Some suggestions are: We bring an offering, listen to the Eucharistic prayers, and remember that Eucharist means “thanksgiving.”


Saturday – Celebrating Families

Family Faith at Home.

Catholic Schools help parents pass on our faith to the next generation. Parents have the sacred responsibility to model faith for children at home. When we pray together as a family, we recognize the grace of God in everyday life. We are all called to bring the Good News of Jesus into the world, and God gave us our families to give us strength, courage, and support along the way.

Catholic traditions help us connect to the ancient practices of our faith and make them new again, meaningful for our time. Love flourishes in our families when we recognize that God is in our midst throughout all of our days.

Faith in Action – Practical Tips
The booklet Our Family Prays: Catholic Prayers and Traditions is a helpful resource for parents to strengthen Catholic identity at home throughout the year.