Statement from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge for Catholic Schools Week 2021
January 31 to February 6, 2021
As we celebrate National Catholic Schools Week and the importance our Catholic schools play in the lives of families throughout the Diocese of Arlington, I extend my heartfelt and sincere appreciation to our Catholic school parents, who have taken the necessary steps to ensure their children are provided with sound faith formation and excellence in education. I am very proud of the Catholic identity of our schools and the role they play in helping our students draw closer to the Lord and to live his Gospel.
The Catholic schools of the Diocese enjoy an excellent reputation. The 37 parish schools, four high schools, three free-standing pre-schools and five independent Catholic schools in the Diocese represent 17,000 students. Each met a daunting challenge over the past 10 months, has risen to the challenge and continues to thrive despite the circumstances we faced. Following safety protocols and guidance from public health experts, our hybrid and in-school classroom environments have been successful and mitigated the spread of the coronavirus. I express my gratitude for the collaboration and commitment this required of students, parents, faculty and staff. This was no small undertaking, and yet they did it faithfully and with understanding.
As I travel to schools amid the masks, new traffic patterns, distancing requirements, and creative use of technology and space, I see students and teachers so very happy and grateful to be together. They are beautiful communities of faith. Children are thriving because our 1,400 teachers and administrators are mission-driven and faithfully dedicated to their vocation. As Gospel witnesses for their students, our Catholic educators help our students grow in confidence to use the gifts with which God has blessed them, while guiding them to know, love and seek Jesus in their lives.
Our Catholic schools are experiencing tremendous growth and have much to celebrate. This past year included the opening of St. Paul VI Catholic High School’s new campus in Chantilly, and ribbon cutting ceremonies marked the completion of major construction and renovation projects at Bishop Ireton and Bishop O’Connell High Schools in Alexandria and Arlington.
I am so very proud of our schools: the pastors who lead them, the administrators who oversee them, the teachers who teach in them, parents who support them and the wonderful children who are formed in them. I keep you all in my daily prayers.
Happy Catholic Schools Week, Diocese of Arlington!