John Burger writes today about the importance of the presence of a priest in parochial school environments. He turned to Father Peter M.J. Stravinskas, executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation, for perspective on the matter. Fr. Stravinskas used an example of a young priest who was sent to a failing parish school to attempt a revival:
Every morning he led the children in morning prayer. He took over teaching religion in 7th and 8th grades. He was in the cafeteria with kids at lunch time. At the end of the school day he made the sign of the cross over the students as they left. “The school enrollment quickly went from 50 to 100 then 150 and now largest school in the city,” the priest reported. Father Stravinskas concluded: “The principal mistake parishes make is saying, ‘If we get rid of the school the parish will thrive.’ That never happens. If the school goes the parish is finished.”
There are many perks of a Catholic school education, they usually hire experienced and competent teachers, you need not worry about the curriculum contradicting our faith, Catholic schools help to integrate Catholic thinking into everyday life, and children will also be taken through their CCD education as they mature and receive their sacraments.
The most important of these, however, may be the presence of a priest, the man who takes the place of the Shepherd every weekend as he consecrates the Blessed Sacrament, guiding our children through their formative years. What do you think?