The thirty-two Catholic schools and early childhood centers in the Diocese of Raleigh celebrated Catholic Schools Week January 31-February 7 with a variety of events and activities at each school. This year’s national theme is Catholic Schools: Dividends for Life, emphasizing four key elements of a Catholic education; Faith, Knowledge, Discipline and Morals.
In a letter to Catholic educators and staff serving in the Diocese of Raleigh, Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge expressed his gratitude for their commitment to this important ministry. “Without your leadership,” Bishop Burbidge said, “our Diocese would not be able to provide the quality education that is so important to our families.”
Currently, the Diocese has 32 educational facilities in its 54 counties, including one Diocesan high school, Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, with an enrollment of 1,185 students. The Diocese has 22 elementary/middle schools K-8th with 6,429 students enrolled and an additional 1,347 children enrolled in nine early childhood centers.
The oldest Catholic school in the Diocese is St. Mary School in Wilmington, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary of service to the community. Immaculata School in Durham is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Bishop Burbidge celebrated the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass at Immaculata on Friday, February 5. (A story on Immaculata’s centennial celebration is in the Jan/Feb issue of the NC Catholics).
Catholic Schools Week is a celebration that recognizes the rich tradition of Catholic schools in their communities and in our country. While the week includes fun activities, the education component remains strong, with many schools holding special educational programs.
All Catholic schools in the Diocese, throughout the year, take part in service projects in their communities. Several schools used this week to highlight that service in a special way. Examples include:
- Students at St. Mary School in Wilmington brought in lunches for the Good Shepherd House.
- Sacred Heart Cathedral students in Raleigh conducted a food drive for Urban Ministries.
- St. Ann School students in Fayetteville began drive to collect coats, clothing, etc for the local homeless shelter.
- Students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rocky Mount brought food to help the local Soup Kitchen.
In his letter to Diocesan educators, Bishop Burbidge said, “I am ever convinced and confident that a Catholic education is truly an investment that with God’s grace will produce abundant fruit.”