Dear Friends in Christ,
Before the Lord Jesus returned to his Father’s glory, he gave the Apostles their Great Commission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19) The work of teaching what Christ commands begins with evangelization and continues in catechesis, but we can call the whole project of handing on the teaching of Christ by the general name of Catholic education, which comes in many shapes and sizes for people of every age.
Catholic parents have a grave moral duty to give their children a truly Catholic education, and to assist parents in this task, the Church conducts Catholic schools from kindergarten though graduate school. Placing children in a Catholic school remains the best and most highly recommended means of giving children a Catholic education, and we are most fortunate at St. Mary’s to have an extraordinary Catholic school. Every family at St. Mary’s is encouraged to place their children from age 3 through the eighth grade in our Catholic school, which is the primary apostolate of the parish.
For children through the eighth grade who are not in our parish school, there are two other ways of receiving a Catholic education: our religious education classes on Wednesday evening and a Catholic home school organized by the parents. Registration is now open for children who will be in our Wednesday evening classes this year, and parents can find registration forms on the parish website. We also ask homeschooling parents in the parish to register with our Director of Religious Education, Joann Miller, so that I will be aware of each child in the parish who is being homeschooled. This is requested of all homeschooling families and is absolutely required of those with children who need to receive sacraments in the coming year.
For high school students, the primary means of continuing a Catholic education is to attend St. Joseph’s High School and to participate in our high school youth group on Sunday evening. Our high school group meets each Sunday beginning at 6.30 in McGrady Hall in the undercroft of the church, and all high school students are invited to come and experience Christian fellowship with their peers.
Finally, adults of every age are invited to participate in our Program of Catholic Studies or any of the several ongoing Bible studies in the parish. The course called “An Introduction to Catholicism” is an excellent way to deepen one’s knowledge of the Gospel, and periodic lectures and days of recollection are also offered in fulfillment of the Great Commission. Lifelong learning is an essential part of authentic Christian discipleship, and I encourage everyone to find the appropriate means to continue to learn all that Christ commands us.