Bishop’s Catholic Schools Week 2023 Message


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When I was a student at Holy Family Catholic School in Syracuse, New York – under the watchful eyes of the Sisters of Saint Joseph – lunch for my classmates and me usually included a bologna sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lovingly prepared by our moms. Some were even lucky enough to occasionally find a delicious meat loaf sandwich in their brown bag! Regardless of the types of sandwiches, they were always wrapped in wax paper, which we folded neatly at the end of lunch and returned home in the brown bag for reuse the next day. Back then, families were always looking to save money, so tossing the wax paper in the trash probably would have required a trip to the confessional!

Fast forward to today, and it seems like saving money is more important than ever. Prices for almost everything are soaring, and everyone wants to get the best value for their hard-earned dollar.

When it comes to the education of our children, the best investment – without question – is Catholic education. There are many good environments that foster learning, but only Catholic schools offer young people a complete education that includes quality academic and extracurricular opportunities in a setting where Jesus Christ is the center of everything.

As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week 2023, it is a good time to thank God for the gift of Catholic education and to celebrate the success of our great Catholic schools here in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The theme for Catholic Schools Week is FAITH. EXCELLENCE. SERVICE. Our students embody that theme not only as they study, learn, and grow, but as they encounter the Lord inside the classroom and joyfully help others encounter Him outside the classroom. I am proud of them, and I am grateful to our parents, teachers, administrators, staff, pastors, alumni, and others who lovingly nurture a family atmosphere and tirelessly support the great tradition of Catholic education in our diocese.

Money saving tricks like reusing wax paper are essential these days. For our precious children and their future, the best value continues to be Catholic education. The return on investment will truly last a lifetime.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev. Mark L. Bartchak
Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown