Catholic Schools Week 2009 Focuses on Service
Washington, D.C.--The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2009 celebrates Catholic schools and community service.
Catholic Schools Week is celebrated nationally the last week in January, this year Jan. 25-31. The logo for the observance shows the words “Celebrate Service” and hands reaching out and surrounding a globe. The “t” in the word celebrate is formed as a cross.
“Civic engagement is a hallmark of Catholic education,” said Karen Ristau, president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). “The majority of elementary and secondary schools participate in service projects ranging from collecting canned goods for the homeless to rebuilding schools in the hurricane-torn gulf, so it was natural that we choose service as a major theme.”
Schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses and activities for students, administrators, faculty, school staff, the community and families. Additionally this year many schools will undertake new service projects.
The 2009 theme links to a recently completed NCEA initiative, “Birthday Blessings for Pope Benedict.” During the pope’s April 2008 visit to the United States, Catholic youth were asked to pledge hours of community service to honor the pope’s 81st birthday. More than 2 million hours of service were pledged by the end of the campaign. Three Catholic school students representing Catholic youth nationwide had the opportunity to deliver the pledged hours personally to Pope Benedict during a private moment at the Vatican Embassy, where the pope stayed during his Washington, D.C., visit.
Wednesday of Catholic Schools traditionally is observed as National Appreciation Day for Catholic Schools. On that day, student delegations meet on Capitol Hill to deliver packets of information about the good news of Catholic education to U.S. congressional leaders. Schools nationwide are encouraged to make similar presentations to local and state officials.
Catholic Schools Week is a joint project of NCEA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries.