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About the Blogger


Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, OP, is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago. A Chicago native, she has 37 years of experience as a Catholic school teacher and administrator.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Make Some Noise

With 258 schools to love, I guess I shouldn't be sleeping at night. Truthfully, when I finally get there, I sleep well: our schools are good, darn good....and the beautiful faces of the students and the adults who love them are a solid motivator.

Three enthusiastic students work on their St. Jude Children’s Hospital Math-A-Thon booklets (April 2007) at one of our Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools. The school raised over $1,700 for the Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee that treats childhood cancers.

Photo: Courtesy of the Office for Catholic Schools

What does haunt me is how we will find the resources for our schools in order to continue to bring faith and learning - the best of heaven and earth - in this culture and economy.

Last week, I even wrote the President, much to the amusement of my administrative assistant.

Why write him and others?

Because we need to make some noise.

I simply cannot believe that we do not have the will to open the Catholic Schools to all young people and their parents who are willing to live by the ethos of our schools. We will find a way: if not in DC, then in our own hearts here in Chicago.....

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Comments

Friday, June 19, 2009 4:51 PM

To JD in Dallas - I am hoping we can implement your fine contribution this fall when school reopens: your themes, the experiences of the students, parents, and teachers: powerful. Thanks!

Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, OP

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 8:34 PM

I appreciated your insights and found your questions compelling. I sent a link to your blog to my son, a product of Catholic schools and recent Teach for America corps member who now teaches math at a public high school in a low income community. In his response to me, he recognized differences between public and Catholic schools, but said that when money has been an issue in the public schools, good programs have been funded through grant-writing.

I recently read statistics from Giving USA Foundation showing that despite a general decline in charitable giving in 2008, contributions to religious organizations actually increased by 5.5% last year. Although contributions to education went down by 5.5% from 2007, donations to religion and education combined made up 48% of all charitable contributions received in 2008, or $147.83 billion (based on data submitted by organizations to national agencies).

Just think if students and their families could find more ways, as you suggested in the Catholic New World, to connect their faith formation, their profound school experiences of retreats and service opportunities, and their experiences of worship - in the parish and beyond. It seems likely that, with good leadership, there are many possibilities for experimenting and growth here.

Wendy M.

Wendy M.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 4:58 PM

Sr. Mary Paul: I have an idea that will get the President's attention- as well as the media. Have every student in the Archdiocese, all 68,000 +, write letters to the President and to the Secretary of Education requesting the funding you addressed in your correspondence to the President. The correspondence should highlight the following: The numerous contribtions made by and through Catholic education (far too many to name here), the power of community service and how it has affected the lives of both the donors and the recipients, names and stories of prolific Chicago Catholic school alumni who have made contribtions to Chicago & Illinois, the contributions of Catholic aluni who have served the military and our nation in times of peace and war, the enduring sacrifices parents must make to send their children to private school, etc. Thereafter, have your teachers issue same. There are thousands of stories here that need to be told. They will read and listen if the letters are issued. That will get their attention. Very large numbers have a way of doing that. Thank you for listening. JD Gonzales, Dallas

JD G.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 4:09 PM

Thanks, Mary N. - let's all send one!

To Tony S.: There is one, actually, on the web under stewardship, but (like so much that we do) it is not "out there." Let's see if we can fix that!

Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, OP

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 4:06 PM

To Carol B: Thanks so much, but it is not I: the mission and the people make our schools holy ground!

To Chick O: We will get the confirmed figure, but you are right: a 3 Billion Dollar per year saving statewide should mean something.

Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, OP

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:41 PM

Sister Mary Paul: You are doing one great job. I have heard you speak and you are a wonderful speaker; so full of inspiration, insight and intelligence! I hope and pray that you meet the goals you have set for yourself and for the Arch! Thank you for being a great educator and an even greater witness to the beauty and grace that is the consecrated Religious Life! God Bless!

Carol B.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:29 AM

I appreciate your blunt request to "Show me the money..." coupled with the commitment to get the job done in a fiscally responsible manner.
We have failed to make noise, but we need to. Catholic schools save taxpayers billions of dollars a year due to the sacrifice of parents and the generosity of caring catholics.
Until we make the public aware of the how they benefit from catholic schools, we will continue to fail to get the assistance we need.

Chick O.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:00 AM

Great letter to the President. Short and to the point. I agree.

Mary N.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 5:16 PM

You should set up an online donation button so that people may donate money towards the education of future Catholics.
Sincerely, Tony Silos

Tony S.

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