Ireland Launches Catholic Schools Week Initiative

US Also Celebrates Catholic Education

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DUBLIN, Ireland, JAN. 26, 2009 ( This week, an all-Ireland initiative will celebrate Catholic schools with special activities and resources meant to encourage reflection on Catholic identity.

A press release from the Irish bishops’ conference announced that the theme of this celebration, from today to Feb. 1, is «A Vision for Life.»

The week will include seminars on education and the role of Catholic schools, as well as other events held in parishes and schools.

Bishop Leo O’Reilly, chair of the Bishops’ Commission for Education, noted that «Catholic schools provide young people with the moral, intellectual, and spiritual foundation to contribute to the common good. This special week is also a celebration of the indispensable role of teachers in the life of the school and parish through their committed service to the education of the young.»
He explained that «parishes are asked to pray for the future of Catholic schools in a changing context which challenges the mission of the school while it provides exciting new challenges.»

The Web site of the bishops’ conference offers resources that help educators reflect on two questions: «What makes a school Catholic? and What does it mean to be a Catholic school?»

The week aims to «mark the important contribution that Catholic education offers to our nation» and to «highlight the Catholic school’s mission of combining faith and reason in its pedagogical project and its constant pursuit of the truth.»

United States

Schools in the United States will also celebrate the annual event beginning today, until Jan. 31. The theme of this 36th Catholic Schools Week is «Catholic Schools Celebrate Service.»

This theme reflects an initiative in which students pledged hours of community service as a birthday gift for Benedict XVI during his April 2008 visit to the United States. Catholic youth committed over 2 million hours of service to honor the Pontiff.

The week is sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association and the U. S. bishops’ conference and will include a national appreciation day for Catholic schools, television features on the students and other activities.

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On the Net:

Resources for Catholic Schools Week in Ireland:

Catholic Schools Week in the United States:

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