At last year’s Open House for our school, a parent shared with me, “When my wife and I brought our four children to St. John Vianney Catholic School we did it for them. But it’s not just them who have changed. The experience has changed our whole family.” In our conversation, I was reminded that the important effects of Catholic education stretch far beyond the classroom or church building. It was a reminder that the entire family of those who choose Catholic education for their children also benefit from the experience. This father shared that the children are now the ones that remind the family to pray before meals, make sure that they don’t miss Mass on Sunday, and remind others what Jesus might think about what someone says or does. For this family, choosing Catholic education has given the parents an opportunity to grow in faith with their children! Growing in our faith is what Catholic education is all about!
This week there is a great deal of excitement for our students, faculty and staff as we celebrate those many ways that our school is a Community of Faith, Knowledge and Service. From Mass and praying the Rosary, to a History Symposium and National Junior Honor Society inductions, to a canned food drive and Holy Cross Appreciation Day, our students will be celebrating each of these areas of faith, knowledge and service. That’s not to mention the other fun events to round out the week, like the Staff/Student Kickball game, the Door Decoration Contest, the Pep Rally, and the letter writing campaign to thank all of the parents!
At this week’s Open House, I know that there will be many stories shared by our families conveying the many ways that their decision to seek Catholic education has benefitted not only their children, but the whole family. One of the most important things that we do in the Congregation of Holy Cross is “educating the minds and hearts” of those that we serve. During Catholic Schools Week here at St. John Vianney Catholic School, we celebrate Catholic education for the whole family!
Fr. Tom Eckert, C.S.C., has been the Pastor of St. John Vianney Parish and School in Goodyear, Arizona since 2011, where he had previously ministered as a deacon. Fr. Tom professed First Vows in 1997 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2003.