Bright and early on Monday morning, December 4, I will co-host a prayer breakfast fundraiser at Saint Charles Borromeo Academy alongside Bishop Johnston, Larry Moore, and our principal, Ann Lachowitzer. The purpose and goal is three-fold: to raise necessary funds to operate our fledgling academy, to introduce and promote Catholic diocesan classical liberal arts education to the Kansas City area, and, of course, to pray for the success of Borromeo Academy. In those days following Thanksgiving as we enter the season of Advent, we hold renewed hope for what is coming. I also have tremendous hope for what is coming in the way of educating children in our area.
“Advent” means the coming. Once again, we will celebrate the coming of Christ-in-history as we honor his birth over 2,000 years ago, the coming of Christ-in-mystery as we prepare for a spiritual re-awakening within our hearts, and the coming of Christ-in-majesty as we anticipate His glorious second coming. This past, present, and future event holds a central place in our lives because it is the centerpiece of salvation history. Through the Child Jesus we instinctively draw closer to children each December, especially those who, like Him, were born into poverty and difficult circumstances. Like many priests, I don’t like to ask for money but, also like many priests, I don’t mind telling our story and inviting you to support our cause.
Part of the story is that in the 1880s, at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, American bishops established a parochial school system stating their hope that every Catholic parish in the United States operate or support a school to educate children in religion, morality, and knowledge. In recent decades, for multiple reasons, enrollment in our Catholics schools has significantly decreased; some contend that so have our standards. I don’t know if this is true but I am becoming thoroughly convinced that the classical model, which we employed this year at Borromeo Academy, can set Catholic Schools apart with academic and behavioral standards that shine; and I am grateful that our bishop has encouraged us to become a model for other diocesan schools.
Another part of the story is that many good families that desire for their children to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and faith in a safe and nurturing Catholic educational environment cannot afford to pay anywhere near what it costs to educate them; some can afford to pay nothing at all. We have a goal to raise $50,000 at our prayer breakfast in order to establish a foundation that helps with their education. With only 117 students enrolled here last year (K-8), we have 148 this year; we hope to increase to 175 next year and reach 200 the following year—a level at which we can regain financial stability. It is our hope that funds raised at future events will help to impact other Catholics schools in our diocese as well.
In this blog post I am inviting you to join us on December 4 at Saint Charles, to start off your day, your week, your Advent, with a reminder of the importance of children and the great gift we can offer them and their coming future. Come and learn about the classical liberal arts model of education and how it can impact our Catholic schools. Come and meet our students from whom we can gain much inspiration as God’s children. And come to pray with us in thanksgiving for the opportunity we have to impact their future from earth to heaven. To inquire about attendance at the prayer breakfast or other ways that you can assist in the education of the little ones, go on-line at www.stcharleskc.weshareonline.org or contact me at 816-436-0880.