Dear Friends in Christ,
At his Ascension to glory, the Lord Jesus gave the Apostles their Great Commission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28.19) From that day to this, the Church has sought to fulfill these instructions by engaging in the public work of teaching everything that Christ has taught us. With the arrival of the new school year, let’s consider the ways in which everyone at St Mary’s receives a Catholic education.
Every Catholic parent has a profound moral duty to give their children a truly Catholic education, and parents are the first and most important educators of their children. Both to fulfill the Great Commission and to assist parents in this task, the Church organizes Catholic schools, and placing children in a Catholic school remains the best and most highly recommended means of giving children a Catholic education. We are most fortunate at St. Mary’s to have a truly outstanding Catholic school, and every family in the parish is encouraged to place their children from age 3 through the eighth grade in our parish school.
For children between grades one and eight who are not in our parish school, there are two other ways of receiving a Catholic education: our religious education classes on Wednesday evening or a Catholic home school organized by the parents. Registration is taking place this weekend for children who will be in our Wednesday evening classes this year, and we require homeschooling parents in the parish to register with our Director of Religious Education, Joann Miller, so that I will be aware of each child in the parish who is being homeschooled.
For high school students, the primary means of continuing a Catholic education is to participate in our high school youth group which meets each Sunday from 6 to 8 pm, and all high school students are invited to come and see for themselves that this is not something dreary or boring, but a truly satisfying and enriching experience of Christian fellowship with their peers.
And for adults, the opportunities for continuing Christian education are too numerous to list, and everyone is invited to participate in some way. Too many Catholics stop learning about our faith at the time of their Confirmation, usually in early adolescence. Imagine if you had to live any part of your adult life knowing only what you knew when you were fourteen. Studying Holy Scripture, sacred theology, Church history, the documents of Popes and Ecumenical Councils, and the lives of the saints are among the many ways we can continue to fulfill the Great Commission. For information on any form of adult eduction at St Mary’s, please contact our Director of Christian Formation, T.J. Nielsen.