Naperville-area Catholic schools are joining their counterparts around the country as National Catholic Schools Week kicks off.
Beginning each year on the last Sunday in January and continuing all week, Catholic Schools Week promotes awareness about the important role these schools play. The theme of this year’s observation, Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.
“St. Raphael students strive to attain three goals: to Achieve, to be Responsible and to be Christian. We are ARC … angels,” said Mary Rehfield, principal of St. Raphael Catholic School in Naperville.
Area schools have special activities planned for the week, including open houses, special Masses, awards and recognition programs and service projects.
All Saints Catholic Academy will collect Change for Peace to support an orphanage in Mexico.
Patty Bajek, director of student services at All Saints, said students have established an ongoing relationship with the orphanage by including them in prayers, exchanging correspondence and collecting money to provide financial support.
“Our students, who have so much, remember these students who have so little,” Bajek said.
Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School will raise money to support a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
Their observance of Catholic Schools Week also will include celebrating their designation as a Blue Ribbon School, an award for academic excellence.
St. Raphael Catholic School will have themed school days, including Favorite Team Day, Pajama Day and Focus on Faith Day. Students will have the opportunity to work on a Valentine’s Day craft for residents at Martin Manor.
Bajek stressed that Catholic schools play a vital role within the community.
“All parents start to guide, nourish and discipline their children from an early age. As someone with wisdom once said, ‘you only have one chance in life to make a masterpiece, so mold carefully,’” she said.
“In Catholic schools, students are not just prepared academically with God at the center of their instruction, but spiritually with the guidance of Catholic values, morals and principles that allow them to authentically grow into confident and caring people.”