The new academic year is on its way with opening meetings for new parish catechetical leaders, new principals, new teachers, and the all-together meeting that is known as the Bishop’s Convocation.
Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, NY, Bishop Lennon’s invited guest speaker informed us of the importance of Evangelization and the critical part catechesis plays in making it happen. Bishop Malone holds key positions on both the Evangelization and Catechetical Committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Some of us have never really “left for the summer:” our own Nutrition Services that administers the Summer Lunch program for those in need in the city, all those who begin preparation of materials for the opening meetings we are conducting, curriculum writing committees who worked hard to prepare the next curriculum in the cycle of revisions, and, of course, principals whose planning never ends, staff who continue their professional development, and maintenance who prepare our buildings to present a clean and safe environment to our staff and students when they return from the summer.
As we begin the year, I share with you my goals. For this school year, my staff and I will emphasize the catechetical dimension of all of our ministries, emphasize the academic excellence of our schools through marketing and address the challenges of faith development, bring clarity to government-funded programs, and standardize and raise the bar for Newman Campus Ministry and Parish Schools of Religion programs. Quite a challenge, but one that we willingly accept for 2013-2014.
The impact of our Holy Father Francis with his consistent message of service to the poor makes our mission of Catholic catechesis even more important. Our Faith moves us to serve Christ in each person we meet. The continuing Year of Faith with its monthly reminders of the richness of our traditions and beliefs keeps before us why we do what we do.
As we look back over last year, we are proud of our continuing development of Faith communities among our students, staff and families, and of our continuing proof of academic achievement in diocesan-wide testing. Even with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills aligned with the Common Core challenge, it is evident the longer students are in our schools, the better they achieve on standardized tests. Our students consistently meet or surpass the national average of 75%ile in reading and mathematics.
Catholic High School 10th graders in the Diocese of Cleveland score well over the state averages in reading and mathematics on the Ohio Graduation Test: reading state average = 89%; Catholic high schools =97%. Mathematics state average = 84%; Catholic high schools=92%.
We know that the parents and parishioners as well as other donors believe in what we do. Their response to the Rooted in Faith campaign is proof that they want Catholic catechesis and education in the diocese to continue to flourish. With the leadership of our pastors, parish catechetical leaders, principals, catechists and teachers who are passionate about their ministries, we will continue to be strong and make a significant impact upon the future Church of Cleveland.
August 13, 2013