January 26, 2024
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As we begin our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week, we are given the opportunity to celebrate the unparalleled role of our Catholic schools in forming our youth in the Catholic faith and to thank everyone involved in our diocesan schools. In my first six months as your bishop, I have been blessed to visit nearly half of our Catholic schools throughout the diocese. I have met exemplary students; dedicated administrators, teachers, and staff; generous benefactors, school board members, parents and guardians. Each in their own way helps to form the strong communities of faith that are our Catholic elementary and secondary schools.
This year the national theme for Catholic Schools Week comes to us as “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community.” The success of our 34 Catholic schools, filled with over 1,000 staff members and 10,000 students, is rooted in the faith proclaimed and lived out in our schools. Certainly, we can boast proudly of our students achieving higher than average testing scores across all grades; our strong and consistent enrollment; and the accomplishments of our fine arts and athletic programs. It is no surprise with the high achievement in our schools and commitment of our students and their families, that our high school graduates annually earn millions of dollars in scholarship monies. Yet, it is the faith celebrated through prayer and Holy Mass as well as the faith exercised through the visible witness of works of mercy in over 60,000 hours of service annually undertaken by our students, which is our greatest cause for joy.
On behalf of all who benefit from the gift of our diocesan Catholic schools, I thank the Secretariat for Catholic Education and all our educators and staff who sacrifice so much to fulfill the mission and ministry entrusted to their care. My prayer of gratitude continues for all our students, their families, staff and donors who support the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg. United in the faith of the Church, may we continue to build up God’s kingdom in this great gift of Catholic schools.