Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jude, a fifth grade student at Saint Peter School in Somerset. With great confidence and enthusiasm, he told me how much he loves his Catholic school environment and how grateful he is to learn about his faith and celebrate it daily.
Besides excelling in the classroom and other academic endeavors, Jude is also engaged in Scouting, and he is an Altar Server. He spoke proudly about his family and the many ways in which he helps around the family farm. He mentioned that he even loves to make boxed mashed potatoes!
Jude is just one example of the outstanding youth who attend Catholic schools in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, and his student experience certainly highlights the theme of Catholic Schools Week 2018: “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”
Catholic education is a complete education – one in which students learn and thrive in the classroom while coming to further know Jesus Christ as the center of their lives. Our Catholic school students also put their faith into action by gladly serving others. This foundation inspires and enables young adults to reach great heights as they further their education, enter the workforce, raise families, and contribute to their Church and community.
As we welcome Catholic Schools Week 2018, I see so many shining examples of learning, serving, leading, and succeeding. I see them in our students and alumni. I see them in our dedicated teachers, administrators, and staff. I see them in our clergy who greatly assist in the mission of Catholic education. I also see them in our devoted parents who recognize the value of investing in their children’s future.
Indeed, Catholic Schools Week is a time of great pride and joy here in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Please be assured of my prayers and continued support of Catholic education. I am especially grateful for students like Jude who embody the value of a complete, Catholic education. I am confident he and others will continue to “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” That’s something worth celebrating – maybe over a bowl of Jude’s delicious mashed potatoes!
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Mark L. Bartchak
Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown