We are half-way through the summer break. Wow! As you know our parish has around 75 ministries (see parish directory or app), one of which is our school. The parish school is the main ministry of the parish outside of the sacraments. As a ministry of the parish, the school strives to create disciples who know, love and serve the Lord while achieving excellence in education. Archbishop Tobin of Indianapolis recently shared with a group of school pastors that the opportunity to serve our young Catholics five days a week versus one hour per week makes it possible to provide formation in the faith and not merely information about the faith. We are immensely blessed.
The stewardship way of life entails recognizing and receiving God’s gifts. At Blessed Sacrament we recognize the extraordinary gifts of our parish school’s faculty and staff. Mr. Dan Dester will be starting his fifth year as principal and from the get-go he has brought an evangelizing zeal and faith-first approach to all of his work. Without the leadership of a superb principal it would be impossible to stay true to our mission. Of course, if you mention such words to Mr. Dester, he will immediately give credit to Ms. Loyle and the teachers. Our teachers bring a next-level commitment to their classrooms, beginning with our preschool teachers and continuing through to our middle school teachers. This commitment has earned the school the diocesan Banner School Award for the past two years.
What happens when you combine a tremendous principal and tremendous teachers who strive to be disciples? You get growth because word gets around-- in the Catholic world we call it evangelization. Just a few years ago I was told that there would not be much growth in our parish. It makes sense. We are not a new parish and people are not building homes in College Hill. Accordingly, the school would remain at about 390 students. In the 2011-12 academic year we had 388 children enrolled in K-8. My hope was that we could eventually average 400 students. This felt like a true stretch goal, yet realistic, as our superintendent of Catholic Schools has shared with us that Catholic school enrollment in the diocese is declining. This year, I am happy to announce that we currently have 444 students registered for our kindergarten through 8th grades. This is an increase of over 20 students from last school year. Our preschool has nearly 50 children enrolled for the fall, which brings our final number to almost 500 students. I am also happy to say that even with the increases in enrollment, academic excellence has not wavered as demonstrated from the reception of the Banner School Awards. We have a great deal to be excited about and to celebrate in the growth of our parish school.
As part of our parish priority plan we are embracing the vision statement, Creating Disciples . . . Living Stewardship. What a blessing for the parish to be carrying out this vision seven hours a day, five days a week at our parish school. I want to thank all of you who generously respond as disciples to living the stewardship way of life.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God),
Rev. John F. Jirakblog comments powered by Disqus