A Catholic Schools Week Message from Bishop Mark


I read a story told by a young man who was the valedictorian of his high school graduation. In speaking about his academic success, he explained that one of the most important lessons he learned was in ninth-grade health class. Their teacher covered an entire blackboard with the names and locations of the major bones and muscles of the human body. The diagram stayed on the board throughout the term, although the teacher never referred to it. 

On the day of the first-quarter exam, the students entered the classroom and immediately saw that the board was wiped clean. The teacher then announced that there was only one question: “Name and locate every major bone and muscle in the human body.” All the students protested, “We never studied that!” The teacher responded, “That’s no excuse. The information was there for several weeks.” After the students struggled with the test for a while, the teacher collected the papers and tore them up. Then he told the students, “Always remember that education is more than just learning what you are told.” 

In our Catholic schools, our students are encouraged to love God and neighbor and to love themselves as Jesus loves us. They are formed to be good citizens of the world and they are urged to enrich society with the leaven of the Gospel, especially by the example of faith. That faith is informed and grows by what is studied in the classroom and by the manner in which it is put into practice on the athletic field, in their parish, and especially at home.

The theme of Catholic Schools Week 2022 is FAITH. EXCELLENCE. SERVICE. Those words don’t need to remain posted on the classroom wall for young people to grasp their meaning. In our Catholic schools, the truth about God and about who we are as God’s sons and daughters is posted in the minds and hearts of students. It’s a living FAITH in the person of Jesus Christ, which encourages all of our students to strive for EXCELLENCE in all of their endeavors. That living FAITH is manifested through SERVICE to others, especially the poor, and who are in need of a true friend.

I am proud to support our Catholic schools and our students, teachers, and parents who are in search of more than what we are told. Our Catholic schools help young people to come to know who they are and what they are called to be as disciples of the Lord Jesus.

This is at the heart of our “To PROCLAIM and TEACH” strategic planning process for Catholic schools throughout the diocese. FAITH, EXCELLENCE, and SERVICE are not simply words that hang on the wall during Catholic Schools Week. They are the blueprint for the success of all our students in discovering who they are and what they are called to be. Thank you to all who teach, learn, and offer support in our Catholic schools!