Venice | National Catholic Schools Week, held Jan. 27-Feb. 2, served as a showcase for the Diocese of Venice Catholics Schools. They were a buzz of activities highlighting the beacon of light they are for the Church, the community and the nation.
The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week This year’s theme “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” Bishop Frank J. Dewane said during a Mass Jan. 31, for Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice that he while he wants them to all received the best education possible, he is just as concerned about their spiritual growth.
“The education at a Catholic School is unique because it is rooted in the truth of the Gospel,” Bishop Dewane said. “That is a different dimension that you get than your friends in public schools don’t. The idea of ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ ‘What is your faith?’ ‘What does it mean to live a life?’ I think our standards become a bit different and you all need to live those standards to the fullest.”
Schools across the Diocese of Venice observed Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focused on the value of a quality Catholic education.
Bishop Dewane also celebrated an all-Collier County Catholic schools Mass Feb. 1, at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples. Also present were students from the parish school, middle schoolers from St. Ann Catholic School, Donahue Academy and Royal Palm Academy, as well all of St. John Neumann Catholic School. Following the Mass, all of the students walked about a half-mile to St. John Neumann for lunch, as well as fun and games.
The opening event of Catholic Schools Week took place Jan. 26, at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers with the annual Viking 5K Fun Run. A cool morning didn’t deter the 235 runners and walkers. The top runner finished the course in 18:40. Students and faculty from Bishop Verot and nearby St. Francis Xavier and St. Andrew Catholic Schools also took part.
On Jan. 26-27, students spoke at Masses throughout the Diocese touting the academics and spiritual elements of their school.
St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota hosted Olympics games and a tour around the world. This included each classroom decorating their doors and hallways with information about different countries. Some students dressed up in traditional clothing.
At Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, during a flag raising ceremony, Principal Coleen Curlett, whose son is deployed with the U.S. Air Force, was presented with a Blue Star Service Flag. The next day during morning car line, Curlett and several teachers handed bags of candy to parents to thank them for choosing to send their children to Incarnation.
A large part of Catholic Schools Week at the high schools is about doing service projects so as to give back to their community. These projects include going to nursing homes, food banks, soup kitchens, helping those with special needs and much more.
In addition, schools sponsored a variety of activities including special days to honor parents and grandparents. Some had outdoor activities that included fun and games, and competitions against or among the teachers and faculty. Each school also held an open house to show off the latest in technology and share with the public the benefits of a Catholic education for students of all ages. n
ENDNOTE: For more information about Diocesan Catholic Schools, visit www.dioceseofvenice.org/schools.