Editor's note: The following letter was sent to all Catholic school families, principals, faculty and staff, pastors and pastoral administrators from the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw.
Dear Members of our Catholic School Family,
With great enthusiasm and gratitude, we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, January 30-February 5, 2011. I am so proud of our wonderful students and the many contributions of all those who make Catholic education possible: dedicated principals, teachers, school staffs and volunteers, committed parents, pastors and pastoral administrators who provide excellent leadership, and, in a special way, generous parishioners and benefactors. Thank you for all you do to support Catholic education.
There is no better opportunity to teach the faith than in our Catholic schools, where Christ Himself is revered as the True Teacher. Since becoming the Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, I have committed a great deal of time, thought and prayer to our Catholic schools. Our Catholic schools are a treasure. Strengthening them remains a priority for me in my ministry.
Today, our Catholic schools face many challenges. Nonetheless, it is important that we continue to share the good news about all that our schools have to offer. In our classrooms, students learn discipline and how to live their lives in a faith-filled and moral way. As a group they perform among the top in the nation. They provide countless hours of service to such worthwhile causes as feeding the poor, visiting the elderly, and working with the disabled here in our diocese. They raise awareness of important social issues such as abortion and euthanasia. As scholars, athletes, artists and citizens they use their knowledge, gifts and many talents to change the world.
While there is always more work that can be done, we should be encouraged by what I consider signs of hope. This past year, one of our schools broke ground on a multi-million dollar expansion project after doubling the number of students in its school over the past six years. In the fall more than half of our schools reported slight increases in enrollment.
Our Catholic schools have so much to offer our children, our Church and our community. I continue to pledge my personal commitment to do everything within my power to maintain a strong Catholic educational program for our diocese. May Saint John Neumann, in his love for Catholic schools, guide and bless us as we work together to ensure that our schools continue to serve us for generations to come.
With prayerful best wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Revered Joseph R. Cistone, D.D.
Bishop of Saginaw