As we approach the opening of another academic year in our South Jersey Catholic Schools, the excitement I feel is similar to the energy that comes with opening day in major league baseball: ahead lies a journey full of grit, determination and joy.
Our students, who have had a few months of rest, were hopefully blessed with some new experiences, and perhaps got in a little summer reading and similar academic activities to prepare for the coming school year. Most students and maybe a few parents will be nervous, but excited, about the coming year with fresh opportunities for success.
Since coming to the diocese in 2013, I have made a point to visit our Catholic schools around South Jersey each year. There is always great enthusiasm among students, teachers and administrators, which makes both newcomer and returning student feel welcomed and loved.
One of the greatest joys for me is participating in opening liturgies at the Catholic high schools, when we celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in every Catholic school community.
Of course, Catholic schools are more than just the anticipation of what is to come. They are places where young people receive the opportunity to achieve more than their public school counterparts through the benefit of Christian spirituality and ethics.
Grounded in gospel values, our schools prepare students to be faithful citizens of the world. Every year, 96% or more of our graduates move on to higher education. Our students consistently outperform New Jersey and national averages on standardized tests and SATs. They acquire the technical and critical thinking skills they need to become leaders and problem solvers in an ever-changing world. They learn the importance of serving others. And every day, they enter a community where they are loved.
As we near the start of the 2019-20 school year, I ask for your prayers on behalf of our students, families, teachers, administrators, and all individuals who work in or for our schools. If you are already in our school community, welcome back. If you would like to learn more and find a school near you, visit www.southjerseycatholicschools.org, and discover why a Catholic school education is the Gift of a Lifetime.