Jacki Carty is a life-long member of Holy Eucharist Parish in Cherry Hill. She is also a graduate of Christ the King Regional School and Paul VI High School. Her four children followed her footsteps in both Haddonfield schools.
In January, Carty and volunteers throughout the Camden Diocese shared their Catholic school experiences with fellow parishioners. Their support helped kick-off the annual special collection for South Jersey Catholic Schools, which to date has raised $104,000. Following are excerpts from Carty’s speech, delivered at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Dennis Sullivan.
I credit my Catholic School education (along with my parents) for teaching me our faith, which I hold on to firmly today, as it remains an important part of my life. In Catholic school, I learned discipline and how to apply it to my work and personal life. I learned how to practice my faith (not only by attending Sunday Mass — although that’s important), but by service to others, and I learned that we all are asked to answer a personal call to discipleship.
From a parent perspective, I watched my children flourish in an educational environment filled with the tenets of our faith and rich in Gospel truths. In today’s increasingly secular world, there is a real benefit in learning the value of respect, forgiveness, tolerance and compassion. Plus, I loved that my children prayed daily alongside their peers.
As an educator, I can tell you that Catholic schools provide a setting in which teachers have the unique honor of teaching the whole child: mind, body and spirit. … I also taught in the Cherry Hill Public School System for many years before I had my children, so I do know that the public schools here are exceptional.
So, why Catholic school? My answer is simple. I chose Catholic schools for my children for the education in our faith, for the lessons in virtue and character that my children received. In a Catholic school you can be confident that your children will not only receive the fine academics for their minds, but will also benefit from the formation of their heart and their soul.
When you analyze the costs and benefits of a Catholic [school] education, my husband and I agree: If we had to do it over again, we would make the same choice. Was it a sacrifice? Heck yes. We didn’t always think we could afford it. We had some lean years. But here is what we did. We prayed a lot and found that God truly does provide … and we came to understand that in choosing Catholic schools we were making an investment in our children’s future.
For my family the bottom line was not how can we afford to choose a Catholic school education? The bottom line was how could we afford not to choose it! God bless Catholic schools today, this week, and always.
Although parishes are asked to submit contributions by March 31, individuals may contribute to the fund online at any time to support the mission of South Jersey Catholic Schools. www.camdendiocese.org/schools/