We enter into our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. We are blessed to have a school that has been in continuous operation for over 70 years. The pastor who first started the school in 1945, Fr. Bernard Gordon intended for the school to educate the children of the parishioners who sought a Catholic education for their children. He did not want the school to be an elite institution, or and an Academy as we would say, so the school was and is a ministry of the overall Parish of Mt. Carmel. Which is a way of reminding all of us that the education of our children is the responsibility of every one.
The Mission Statement of our School reads:
The role of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School is to provide a holistic Catholic Christian environment that serves the soul, mind and body of each child. Within this environment, religious traditions are celebrated, intellectual skills are developed, critical thinking is encouraged, and students are prepared to live in and make a vital contribution to a changing society.
The goals of our school are spiritual, academic, personal, social, physical and aesthetic so that we can help a child build a foundation that develops their human, spiritual, intellectual and social capabilities. We believe that human knowledge enhanced by divine revelation brings a person to full potential and hence happiness in life and life after.
Catholic schools today have the same mission, commitment to excellence and core values as they did when they began in the 19th century. Yet today the future of our schools in the US is very precarious. The continued existence of parochial schools depends on the willingness of each Catholic community to support, defend and fund them.
We at Mt. Carmel have had a long history of supporting a Parish school. Our families and particularly the parents of our students are the reason why we can operate our school in keeping with the founding mission and philosophy since 1945. It is important to note that whether you have children in our school every parishioner is a stakeholder in our endeavor to provide Catholic education to our children just as every taxpayer is a stakeholder in our public and Charter schools. So remember that your support of the overall life of the Parish also in turn nourishes our families and hence our school.
Each person's stewardship of their gifts and talents and time contribute to building and sustaining the mission of our School. When you volunteer your time to assist our students or teachers, when you participate in our annual Festival, shop with our Food for Thought Gift cards and donate to the Catholic Tuition Organization you are helping ensure that a new generation will have the tools necessary to live our Catholic faith and lifestyle and contribute to the building up of our society and the human family in general.
All the effort, work, planning and sacrifice that we put into running our school is not so we can offer a "better" education than other types of schools nor should anyone choose a Catholic school for that reason. Every child deserves a school that provides the best opportunities for education. Our schools are designed to form the heart, mind and soul of a child in the ways of the Christian faith. A lack of willingness to live a Catholic lifestyle undermines the efforts of a Catholic school and offers spiritual and intellectual confusion to students. In other words we do what we do because of who we are or who we try to be.
Catholic Schools Week provides us another opportunity to recommit ourselves as a community to the continued mission of our Catholic school. It also gives us pause to consider concrete ways we can build up Catholic education here and elsewhere.
Love, Fr. John B.
PS …..Please remember not to forget that if you have not already donated, you have till April 15, 2016 to donate to our School through one of the many Tuition Organizations in AZ including Catholic Education Arizona and claim it as a tax credit on your 2015 AZ State Income Tax. Go to www.catholiceducation.org for more information.