Sr. Marie Pappas, fellow Catholic Channel host and former Associate Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, chats with Father Dave about the gifts of Catholic education during National Catholic Schools Week.
Father Dave asks Sr. Marie for her opinion on why Catholic education is important. “It’s a sense of community,” she responds. “We have such rich social capital in the Catholic school [system] and the kids really build relationships. So many of our parents say, ‘My best friends were friends with me in elementary school and we never stopped being friends as we moved on to high school and into our adult lives.’ And that’s so much a part of Catholic culture to form an authentic relationship, friendship with one another, and to sustain that because your whole life is about living the life of community. You know, really caring for each other, working together, learning together and praying. And there’s just a knitting of the hearts that happens that makes it a forever kind of friendship.”
Sr. Marie is currently serves at Saint Columba school in Hopewell Junction, and reflects on the high standards of education there. “They receive students, whether they’re geniuses or they struggle, but their intent is to help everyone learn,” she says. Sr. Marie also shares that her school has programs which bring both public and Catholic school students together to experience a shared sense of community and growing in faith.
Sr. Marie encourages us all to do our part to help Catholic education thrive. “Every single one of us, without exception, has something beautiful and good to give. [Parents] teach their kids every day how to share with each other. They teach them how to color, they teach them by reading stories. Those same skills can be volunteered in any Catholic school. Every Catholic school welcomes volunteers. We all have a skill set. We all have knowledge and we can give it freely and enjoy it.”