By Kathy Gaito
The theme for the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal is “Standing Together to Build the Future”. Each month we will feature a group who supports our Diocesan Ministries by following this motto through their good works.
A Catholic education is a gift! The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Norwich have been successfully developing their stewardship equation of time, talent and treasure…keeping our schools strong and constantly building toward the future.
Mr. Henry Fiore, Jr., Superintendent of Schools, answered questions about the schools and the importance of a Catholic Education:
- The theme for this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal is, ‘Standing Together to Build the Future’. What are ways that our Diocesan schools are planning for their future?
“All schools have wonderful advisory boards. The boards, together with the pastors and school communities, are updating three to five year strategic plans in the areas of Catholic Identity, PR/Marketing, Finances, Development/Fundraising, Facilities, Education, Technology and Safety. In addition, our high schools are co-sponsored by religious orders, which provide in-depth accountability and resources in many of the above areas. Consultation with The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (our accrediting agency), and Catholic School Management, a nationally renowned consultant firm, has increased and enhanced the planning process in our schools. Vision and planning are two areas which we embrace as essential in all of our Catholic schools. The Catholic schools in the Diocese of Norwich place planning as a priority.”
- What makes attending a Catholic School in the Diocese of Norwich unique?
“Our schools provide academic excellence in a faith-filled environment. They are safe schools in a caring environment, where our Catholic faith is integrated into the curricula. The faith that is being instilled is put into action with a wide variety of service projects helping those in need both locally and globally. They have access to clergy to celebrate Mass, sacraments, confessions, etc., and Bishop Cote is a visible presence in our schools, reaffirming to the children, faculty, and administration that what we do is mission-driven, based upon the teachings of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
- If someone asked you why they should send their child to a Catholic school how would you respond?
“The academics are solid in our Catholic schools. Faith is needed more than ever during this particular time in history. Given what children are constantly exposed to, our schools provide a great foundation in faith, which not only spiritually regulates them, but brings joy and hope, both of which are in popular demand right now. We bring Jesus to our children and they eventually bring Him to the world.”
- What are the schools’ strongest academic areas?
“Catholic schools have traditionally formed great readers and writers. All of our subjects are strong, and we are more hands-on with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. I would have to include that Religion is also a course in which our students are well versed. It is reinforced by the example of living the faith daily. I would be remiss if I did not include the strength of our Arts programs, including Music, Art, Instruments, and Drama.”
- Approximately how many students are enrolled in our schools?
“We have approximately 1,408 students in our Pre-K to Grade 8 schools and approximately 1,423 students in our high schools.”
- If you could make one statement that would impress upon those reading this article that support of our Catholic schools is important what would that statement be?
“Parents are the primary educators of their children. Accordingly, they have options when it comes to school choice. Our schools have proven to have high standards academically and safe environments. Most importantly, the main reason they exist is to follow Jesus’ directive: “…make disciples of all nations, …teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew: 28:19-20). We humbly plant seeds of faith and lead our children and teens to the path of holiness. This is a very important ministry in the Diocese of Norwich. We are blessed to have Bishop Cote prioritizing Catholic education, and the dedication of all of the clergy, faculty and staff members involved with our schools.”
- Are there ways for others in the community to stand with our schools to help build their future? If so, what are those ways?
“Like Catholic schools from all over the country, our schools are tuition-based with little external funding. Support of our diocesan campaigns and school fundraisers are much needed and much appreciated. Also, I cannot express enough how much volunteers contribute to our subcommittees and committees. We are always seeking volunteers who have expertise in the areas of Education, Finances, Facilities, PR/Marketing, Safety, Technology…the same areas I mentioned which are of great importance to our long-range planning. We also welcome retirees to these positions who have the experience and time to be true stewards of our schools.”
Thank you to all who serve our Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Norwich! Your support and the support of others allow our ministries to continue their service to our community. Thank you for “Standing Together to Build the Future” of the Diocese of Norwich!
To learn more about the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal and about how you can help support the ministries in the Diocese of Norwich please visit www.norwichdiocesedevelopment.org to view the ACA video and make your pledge. Or call the Office of Development at 860-886-1928.