As the new school year begins, may God bless our Catholic schools

Students at Our Lady of the Lakes School in Waterford smile during a class assignment in this file photo. In Catholic schools, faith isn't just one subject among many, but an animating force behind every lesson, activity and assignment. (Madi Myers Cook | Special to Detroit Catholic)

To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ and to all who value Catholic education,

Thank you for all you do for our Catholic schools here in the Archdiocese of Detroit, and I wish you a joyous start to this upcoming school year. As we begin another year, it is good to reflect on why this investment is so important for our Church. Our schools serve the mission of the Church because they provide an opportunity for the evangelization and the formation of every child enrolled.

This week my wife and I celebrate 23 years of marriage. I remember standing before the altar in that little country parish with all our family and friends present as we recited the promises that entered us into the covenant of marriage. We vowed to love each other and remain faithful until death, to be open to the blessing of children, and to do our best to raise those children in the faith. My wife and I wanted to do our best to live up to these promises. We realized that in order to fully live out the last vow, we would do everything we could to ensure that our children attended Catholic schools. We knew there was no better way to ensure that our children were raised in the faith than to partner with our Catholic schools to best form them in the faith.

Our Catholic schools are called to integrate faith in every subject area and every aspect of school life. Religion is not merely one subject among many, but rather the context and hinge for everything we do. Our students are afforded opportunities to receive the sacraments, to incorporate prayer into every facet of the day, and to have opportunities to serve others in full Christian charity. Our schools are called to provide an environment permeated with our Catholic culture — rich soil in which the seeds of faith can grow.

In his pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron states, “Evangelizing aims to lead others to life-changing encounters with Jesus, with the result that he becomes the Lord of one’s life.” This is what we attempt to do in Catholic schools each day. We provide students with the opportunity to grow in their love and knowledge of our Lord, to grow in their relationship with Him, and to discern how they can carry the Light of His Gospel out into the world. The mission of Catholic schools is lived out through the reality of our Lord’s beautiful bride, the Church, as an integral part of her mission.

In these times, which can appear uncertain and confusing, especially for young people, our Catholic schools stand as a witness to the beauty of all Truth and continue to bring that Truth to the students they serve. Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do for our Catholic schools. May St. Anne, the teacher of our Blessed Mother Mary, intercede to our Lord for the continued success of all our Catholic schools.

Deacon Sean Costello is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit.


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