HARRISBURG, Pa. – Most Rev. Ronald W. Gainer, Bishop of Harrisburg, and Mr. Daniel Breen, Secretary for Education and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese, recently announced the results of “Christ Before Me: A Strategic Vision for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg.” The announcement came after nearly a year of research, interviews, surveys, and committee meetings.
“Our mission to ‘Go and teach all nations’ will not change, but like any successful organization, we must be reflective and adaptive, focusing on continual improvement and a growth mindset,” said Bishop Gainer. “The four foundational statements of this vision center on the pivotal idea that Jesus Christ is the foundation of our Catholic education communities, that discipleship is the primary emphasis of our vision, and that after our families, our schools are the best environments for forming children as disciples of Christ.”
“We are at a critical juncture in our world, Church, and Diocese in this time of unprecedented change and challenge. Maintaining the status quo in how our schools operate is no longer possible. Given these circumstances, we embarked on a journey to re-envision Catholic education,” said Breen. “There is such a hunger for Catholic education in this Diocese; it’s palpable. This announcement on our strategic vision simply presents the concepts we need to focus on, as we seek to build and improve Catholic education. This is just the beginning, not an end.”
The vision process began in July 2021 as a means of charting a sustainable, healthy future for Catholic education in the Diocese. This vision process will continue the excellent work already happening in our Catholic schools, while focusing more intentionally on five key themes: discipleship, innovation, collaboration, support, and engagement. In addition to these themes, four objectives for this strategic vision were established:
- To form disciples of Jesus Christ. Our schools will have healthy enrollments and will be full of engaged students who experience the Gospel preached with joy and modeled with fidelity.
- To nurture an ethic of excellence in our schools and to employ an innovative and varied curriculum that will allow students to discover the wonders of God’s creation, their own dignity, and the dignity of others.
- To implement robust new efforts to acquire, develop and retain talented, committed Catholic-school professionals. We affirm and value our teachers and staff as vital ministers of the Church’s “New Evangelization” mission, worthy of investment and compensated accordingly.
- We will re-envision the structure, funding, and governance of our schools through a comprehensive and collaborative strategic planning process.
Since 1868, the Catholic schools in the Diocese have educated thousands of students in faith and in academics. Today, we have nearly 10,000 students and 1,000 teachers and staff in the Diocese’s 35 Catholic schools (29 elementary and six secondary). This school year saw an unprecedented enrollment increase of 6.5% across the board from the previous year, with students performing a total of more than 100,000 service hours and graduating seniors receiving $325 million in college scholarships.
The next phase of the vision process is an ongoing process of implementation. The Diocese will launch a new website during the summer detailing the strategic vision and our progress. As this process unfolds, please visit gocatholicschools.org for the latest information.
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The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg was established on March 3, 1868. It covers 15 counties in south and central Pennsylvania, is home to 89 parishes and 35 Catholic schools, and has nearly 230,000 Catholics.