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Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, OP, is a former superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why We ‘Do’ Catholic Schools

I should be on the happy wagon - but it is tough. We lost a principal and a four year-old over Christmas. Since school began, illness and accident stole other young lives. All precious, all irreplaceable.

I should be celebrating parent choices for faith, focus, and achievement as we gear up to invite the world to look at the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago (see the new video called 'We Choose Catholic Schools' on YouTube).

I should be striking up the band for the increased number of young adults who tested at our high schools and for our elementary schools opening wide their doors. Should be loving those fantastic ACT scores; whole schools at service, like St. Francis Xavier in LaGrange; and the new building at Chicago's Immaculate Conception on North Park, St. Josaphat, and Old St. Mary. Should be thanking those whose solid work and creation of scholarships is turning around enrollment trends.

Instead I mourn the loss of those lives that enriched us.

It is not just a “Debbie Downer,” but an ache only God can touch, a God who lets us see the face of Jesus in the wood of the manger and of the cross.

So God keeps giving me signs, like the one at St. Michael in South Chicago. The face of Christ shines in children who - given a few hours with adults who loved them - were able to sing, proclaim scripture, play bells and drums, share stories, receive Communion and blessing with reverence....to remember and celebrate the principal who loved them.

This is why we "do" Catholic schools. We do this work because God lives - and says we will, too. Alleluia.

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