On Monday, August 28, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington will welcome back more than 18,000 students and 1,500 educators for the start of a new school year. Dr. Jennifer Bigelow shares the advantages of a Catholic education.
By: Dr. Jennifer Bigelow, Superintendent of Arlington Catholic Schools
It’s that wonderful time of year again! The start of another school year in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington!
We are truly blessed with wonderful Catholic educational communities with supportive pastors and priests, passionate principals and exemplary educators.
The Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Arlington are an essential component in the educational ministry of the Church. Our schools are committed to providing an education rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ where Catholic doctrine and values, and academic excellence, prepare each student for a life of faith, service and integrity.
As a ministry where Gospel values are learned, embraced and integrated by all members, our goal is to be a center for lifelong learning, which both challenges and empowers persons to assess the present and to design the future. We know that this is accomplished by excellence in leadership, partnerships and prayer.
We continue to have strong leadership from our bishops for Catholic schools. Bishop Loverde had a great love and passion for schools and that love and passion can still be seen on a daily basis with Bishop Burbidge. Bishop Burbidge has visited many of our schools and enjoys the opportunity to encounter teachers, staff and students. His leadership provides a joyous and joy-filled spirit to Catholic education.
Leadership extends to our schools. Whether it is the fact that 60 percent of our elementary schools are Blue Ribbon Schools; or that we have stand-alone preschools bursting at their seams; or that our high school seniors are being accepted into top universities in the country; or that more than 100 men and women from Catholic schools in our Diocese have answered God’s call to become a priest or a member of consecrated life; or that once again, more than 30 of our schools raised over $32,000 for Catholic Charities through the We Care Week — we have much to celebrate!
Catholic education works and thrives in the Diocese of Arlington because of the strong leadership and partnerships. Many of our schools partner with local businesses and non-profit organizations to provide services and resources to our schools. We are very appreciative of their partnership. Our partnership with parents is also crucial for the success of each student and school. When parents and schools truly partner together, our students thrive!
And Prayer. We know that all things are possible with God. We must make time to pray and live a life of prayer. In our office, we begin our day in prayer. We pray for all of you and the schools and each day, we also pray for a specific school community. I offer our prayer that all good things happen as we begin the 2017-2018 school year, and that God grants us wisdom, grace, and peace.
O God, we ask You to help our schools do their work in Your name.
Bound by charity to one another,
may we be penetrated by an apostolic spirit,
which reaches out to all the faculty, staff and administrators in our schools,
joined in this ministry of Catholic education.
We ask You to help them give witness to Christ, the unique teacher,
by their lives as well as by their teachings.
May all the students and families of our schools
follow Your example and be generous, pure, respectful and sincere,
and find You the prophet of truth and love,
the companion and friend of all,
present and active in their lives.
On behalf of the 1,500 Catholic school educators in the Diocese of Arlington, we look forward to welcoming almost 18,000 students in our 45 schools this year. May God grant you many blessings and may you grow closer in your relationship with God and his Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.