Bulletin (February 1, 2004)

This week we celebrate Catholic Schools. Holy Family School principal, Mr. Stephen Morissette will speak at our four Sunday morning Masses. As you know, our elementary school is the major apostolate of the parish. Through our school we strive for the moral and religious formation of each child who attends.

During Catholic Schools Week, Fr. Steve Rowan (superintendent of the archdiocesan school system) gathered the pastors who have parish schools for a dinner and a presentation regarding the future of our schools. Although we face great challenges, we also have great reasons to hope. By a number of measures Catholic Schools have shown their effectiveness. Graduates of Catholic Schools have not only excelled academically and professionally, they also are much more likely to be involved, practicing members of their parishes. Also Catholic school graduates have a greater involvement in service professions such as medicine, government and education. A principal of one of our local Catholic high schools was chairing a meeting of other high school principals. He asked how many of the public school principals were products of Catholic education. The majority raised their hands.

We saw a poignant example of Catholic involvement in service professions back in 1995. Most of us remember the Pang Warehouse fire, which took the lives of four fire fighters. All four were Catholics, one of them, Randy Terlicker, a graduate of Holy Family School. Of the firefighters who died in the September 11 attack, the majority were Catholics. These examples of heroism can give a certain justifiable pride – and make us aware that the formation we give our young people does make a difference. Catholic education, whether in the school, home or religious education program, helps form Christian citizens.

Holy Family School is made possible by the support of all parishioners. For that I am personally grateful as pastor and this Sunday Mr. Morissette will express the gratitude of school children, parents and staff. Our tuition rate ($2573 per year for the first child) is lower than our per pupil cost. (For “out of parish” families we charge $3,848 which reflects the actual per pupil cost.) The per pupil rate goes down if a family has more than one child. We do have one family with four children in our elementary school. The rate for them is $1,352 per child.

I want Holy Family School to be available to all our parishioners, including those with limited economic resources. For that we need a bigger scholarship fund. A couple of weeks ago, I asked if any of you would consider “adopting” a child at our school. At the entrances of the church, you will find a form with information about becoming a “Champion of Catholic Education.” It involves making a monthly commitment (for example, $100 or $50 or even $20) to help a family send their child through our parish school. Please consider becoming such a champion. To invest in a child’s education is the best thing we can do with our economic resources. On that same line, the two-bit collection this weekend will go to our school scholarship fund.

As citizens we can ask for greater measure of justice for our Catholic school parents. All of us are paying taxes toward the education of children in the public schools. I don’t think any of us begrudge that. We want good public schools. However we should also note that in 1998 the Seattle School District spent $7,639 per pupil, all of which came from taxes, while Catholic schools received very little by way of public help. Our bishops have been asking the government to give parents a real choice in education by having some kind of school vouchers program for parents. At the entrances of the church I have provided a copy of their statement: Educational Excellence, a Matter of Choice. I ask you to take that document and read it carefully.

Above all, I ask you to pray. The greatest concern of any of us has to be the formation of our children. Holy Family School continues to make a great contribution to that formation – and with the support of all parishioners, will continue to make that contribution.

Esta semana celebramos escuelas católicas. El director de la Escuela de Holy Family, el Sr. Stephen Morissette hablará durante las cuatro misas este domingo. Como Uds. saben, la escuela primaria es un mayor apostolado de la parroquia. Por medio de la escuela formamos moral y religiosamente a los niños que asisten.

Las escuelas católicas han mostrado su eficacia. Sus graduados no solamente sobresalen académica y profesionalmente, sino tienen mayor probabilidad de ser miembros practicantes de sus parroquias. También los graduados tienen mayor presencia en profesiones de servicio – por ejemplo, medicina, gobierno y educación.

Los feligreses hacen posible nuestra escuela. Por eso estoy agradecido personalmente como párroco y este domingo el Sr. Morissette expresará su gratitud de parte de los niños, papás y profesores de la escuela. La tuición ($2573 por año por el primer niño) es mas bajo que el costo actual por alumno. (Para las familias “fuera de la parroquia” cobramos $3,848 que refleja el costo real.) El costo por niño baja si una familia tiene mas de un hijo. Por ejemplo, tenemos una familia con cuatro hijos en nuestra escuela. El costo para ellos es $1,352 por niño.

De las 57 escuelas primarias en la arquidiócesis, Sagrada Familia es la más diversa étnicamente. Es una gran bendición, pero también nos pone desafíos. Quisieria que mi escuela sea abierta a todos los feligreses. Por eso tenemos un fondo de becas. Estamos pidiendo ayuda de los que pueden ser “Campeones de Educación Católica.” Hay un formulario en las entradas. También la segunda colecta hoy es para el fondo de becas.

Como ciudadanos podemos pedir una mayor medida de justicia para los papas que envían sus niños a escuelas católicas. Todos pagamos impuestos que apoyan a los que van a escuelas publicas. Eso esta bien porque queremos tener buenas escuelas publicas. Al mismo tiempo tenemos que notar que en el Distrito de Escuelas de Seattle el costo anual por niño es $7,639 (en 1998). Los obispos han hecho un documento titulado “Educational Excellence, a Matter of Choice.” Les invito recoger una copia y leerlo cuidadosamente.

Sobre todo pido sus oraciones. Nuestra mayor preocupación es la formación de nuestros niños. La escuela de Holy Family sigue haciendo una buena contribución a esa formación – y con el apoyo de todos los feligreses, continuará. Para mayor información ver: http://www.holyfamilyschool.vista.com/