.- Catholic schools across the country are celebrating excellence in education this week and promoting the benefits of combined academic and faith formation.
Catholic Schools Week, created more than 30 years ago, also serves as an opportunity for Catholic schools to promote themselves and to reach out to the community.
"The whole idea is to celebrate the beauty of Catholic education," St. Gertrude School Principal John Coury told the Valley News Dispatch last week.
The annual event is organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Education Association. It began last Friday and will run until the end of this week. This year's theme is "Faith in Every Student."
Most schools begin the activities with a special Mass, and many schools hold open houses, showcasing student projects and offering tours of the school to the community.
Catholic schools in the Greensburg and Pittsburgh dioceses are celebrating with a mix of activities, reported the Valley News Dispatch.
Divine Redeemer School in Ford City, for example, will offer a puppet show that promotes self-esteem, and a special reading event.
Joseph Mauro, principal of Divine Redeemer, told the Dispatch that Catholic Schools Week “helps instill in the kids a pride in the academic education and Gospel values they learn.”
St. Gertrude's activities began last week with a family night on Friday, which included a performance by a local rock band. Other activities include a Lewis and Clark presentation by a local family, and a workshop with the Carnegie Science Center.
"Catholic schools have long been a beacon of light and hope for our families," Fr. Kris D. Stubna, the Pittsburgh Diocese's secretary of education, told the newspaper. "Our schools provide an array of extracurricular opportunities, a disciplined and safe learning environment, a strong program of moral and ethical formation and a highly qualified and dedicated staff."