My dear friends in Christ:

Having served as pastor of a parish with a school, and now as bishop, I am committed to our mission of preaching the Gospel and assuring the formation in the faith of every Catholic. I could certainly not do that successfully without our 14 Catholic schools. This is why I echo the vision of my fellow U.S. Bishops in three vital commitments: Catholic schools will continue to provide a Gospel-based education of the highest quality; will be available, accessible, affordable; and will be staffed by highly qualified administrators and teachers.

Catholic Schools: Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed is the theme for the 2018 Catholic Schools Week celebration. The annual observance starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

Each year during Catholic Schools Week, we celebrate what makes Catholic education special. As we celebrate, we give thanks to those who advance the mission of our schools and acknowledge the generous donors who provide sustained support, without which our schools would not be able to survive and thrive as they do. Again, we continue the tradition of a special diocesan-wide offering that will provide immediate and direct funding assistance for our schools. Although this is but one way to address challenges facing our schools, the Catholic Schools Week Collection provides an additional source of support for schools based on the number of students. Some schools are also participating in the NCEA National Day of Giving to be held throughout the day on Jan. 30.

Our Catholic schools are currently in the third year of a four-year Strategic Management and Development Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to help schools become exceptional, well-managed institutions through institutionalized best practices. Through the grant provided by Catholic Extension, Catholic School Management, Inc. is providing consultation services to help our schools strengthen their Catholic identity, define goals, improve the efficiency of school boards, enhance school image and communications, raise funds, manage enrollment, and market themselves more productively.

Catholic schools continue to be a very important and effective means of the Church in her mission to educate our children and young people who are the future leaders of the Church. As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, I would like to personally applaud the parents who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to give their children a Catholic school education. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the administrators, faculty and staffs of our Catholic schools and Department of Catholic Formation – Department of Schools for their deep faith, hard work and dedication to our children and families. May God bless these educators for the wonderful work they do.

To all those who so faithfully and generously support the work of our Catholic schools, thank you for your life of stewardship and faith.

Gratefully yours in the Lord,

Most Rev. James P. Powers
Bishop of Superior