Yesterday marked the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. At Mass we had little plaid-skirted girls and shirt-and-tie boys serving as greeters, serving as readers, and bringing up the offertory gifts. Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows I have a guarded approach to Catholic schools. In theory they can be wonderfully Catholic environments that enhance the Catholic culture of the entire parish. In practice, they can become elite academies with very little connection to the parish other than a monetary pipeline. Part of me always cringes when Catholic Schools Week rolls around and much fanfare is given to these parents who are sacrificing so much to send their children to Catholic Schools. Where are the accolades for our CCD parents and home school parents who are also sacrificing and diligently passing on the faith to their children?
So I was very grateful to hear our pastor give the CCD parents and home school parents some credit during his homily. He emphasized that parents are the primary educators of their children. He acknowledged that parents must follow their consciences and choose Catholic school, public school, or home school depending on the needs of their children and their families. Wow! Until yesterday, I had never heard that during Catholic Schools Week--Catholic Schools are one very fine option, but they are not the only legitimate option.
What I would like to see is a parish community that supports and nurtures all their “domestic churches” whether the children are in the parish school or not. Homilies like the one I heard yesterday are a good step in that direction.