Compiled by Nancy Price
National Catholic Schools Week will be held Jan. 26-Feb. 1., starting the last Sunday in January and running all week. Schools typically observe the week with Masses, assemblies and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members to celebrate and congratulate. Mark CSW your own and share your ideas with other schools using #CSW1920. To learn more about Catholic Schools Week, please visit ncea.org.
Letter from Archdiocese
…Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) Recognizing parents as the first teachers of their children, the Office of Catholic Schools is grateful for the opportunity to serve over 22,000 young people in Catholic schools across central and southern Indiana. It is through this ministry of education and formation that our outstanding school leaders, teachers and staff members help students come to know, love and serve God more fully.
In today’s world, success is defined in various ways. Some base success on annual gross income; others on overall material wealth; and still others on job title or ranking within an organization. Rather, as Catholics, we know that God will not measure our success on worldly treasures. What ultimately matters is the extent to which we love and serve God by loving and serving others.
Our Catholic schools prepare students through rigorous academics, diverse experiences, prayerful discernment and service opportunities so that they are ready not only for post-secondary learning and healthy career paths, but also for heaven. Catholic schools serve young people and families through holistic, engaging and academically excellent programming that integrates faith, culture and life.
Whether you are entering one of our nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Schools, admiring the incredible service performed by our youth, or noting the impressive ways in which young people use their gifts of art, music, intellect, or athleticism, you are sure to find children and teens living their faith in ways that honor and glorify God. To learn more about the Catholic schools in your area, please visit oce.archindy.org or set up an appointment to tour a school near you!
Ours will be an archdiocese where every Catholic school community flourishes by having the professional and spiritual leadership it needs to advance the mission of the church and where every professional is supported, every family is engaged and every child, regardless of race, culture, socio-economic condition, or learning need, is nurtured in mind, body and spirit.
With open doors, open arms and open hearts, the Office of Catholic Schools supports the formation of young people through holistic, engaging and academically excellent programming that integrates faith, culture and life as modeled by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our shared values
- We believe that Catholic schools serve as a vital ministry of the greater church.
- We believe that Catholic schools should be accessible and affordable.
- We believe that the viability and vitality of Catholic schools are the responsibility of all the faithful.
- We believe in shared leadership with pastors, school leaders and commissions/boards under the direction of the archbishop and guidance of church teachings.
- We believe in fostering positive relationships that exemplify the love of God.
- We believe that Catholic school communities are enriched by the unique image and likeness of God that is present in each individual.
- We believe that formation best occurs within faith-filled cultures of learning that are inclusive.
- We believe that parents are the primary educators of each young person and that it is the responsibility of Catholic schools to support the domestic church.
- We believe that Catholic schools are part of the evangelizing mission of the church, forming disciples through the intentional integration of faith, culture and life.
- We believe that “excellence” is defined by and achieved through the growth and holistic development – spiritual, intellectual/academic, social, emotional and physical – of the individual within the context of community.
- We believe that professional educators in Catholic schools are valued ministers of the faith who strive to live the universal call to holiness.
Gina Kuntz Fleming
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Our Lady of Greenwood
LETTER from our PRINCIPAL
For nearly 60 years, Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic School has been a vital part of the Southside. From its beginnings with the Sisters of Providence to being named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U. S. Department of Education, our students continue to develop the tenets of faith, knowledge and service.
Students attend a weekly all-school Mass. The school fosters spiritual growth through preparation for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and First Reconciliation.
Daily prayer, religion classes, along with participation in the Mass, Sacrament and special liturgical celebrations provide an environment where students can live their faith every day.
We invite you and your family to experience the difference and begin the journey with Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic School at our Catholic Schools Week Open House Thursday, Jan. 30 from 6-7 p.m. Tours will be available or may be scheduled daily at your convenience. We hope to meet you soon.
My name is Brianna Fletter. I am an eighth-grader at Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic School. My family and I moved here when I was in first grade, and from day one, everyone at OLG made us feel so welcome.
When I feel down, I can feel God. I can feel him in everything as he helps me through my day. Through words, friends, or little actions, God is always there. Another benefit to going to a Catholic school is being able to have religion class every day; plus, we get to go to Mass once a week and spend an hour with God. I learn something new about him every time I sit inside the church. I use that information to teach others about God.
I recently got confirmed in the Catholic faith. Not only does my confirmation make me a full practicing member of my church, but I am also going to keep spreading God’s good news to younger parishioners. As it is said in Deuteronomy 32:2, “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Being the second oldest to (almost) eight siblings, I have multiple opportunities to teach them about God and remind them that he is always there and watching over us.
At OLG we have many activities that the whole school participates in, and it causes all of us to bond more as a school. We take part in service opportunities such as our Catholic Schools Week collections, having a used book drive and our Faith Filled Fridays, where we donate either an item or money to a good cause. A favorite schoolwide activity is our Family Fridays. Once a month, students from younger grades unite with students from the upper grades and do activities. The eighth-graders get to be the leaders of their families. I love that!
Catholic schools have taught me to be who I really am and that I am a unique creation of God’s image.
For the past eight years, I have been attending Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic School. I can still remember back to my first days at OLG. I remember telling my friends, “Even though I’ve only been here for days, it feels like years.” From the very beginning, I’ve felt so welcome in this school environment.
I love that religion class is more of a conversation than a teacher just talking at a class. We do so many activities to help students better understand their faith. One specific example was one of our first religion classes in sixth grade. My teacher was telling us about one of her trips. She started drawing different aspects of her trip like fish, seaweed, mountains and just different things that she saw. When the white board was flipped sideways, it was an image of Jesus. I remember just being absolutely amazed, along with the entire class.
I am a current altar server for OLG Parish and I love to serve at school Mass as well as on weekends. For me, this is a great experience that brings me closer to God.
I truly believe that my Catholic education has had a major impact on my life and I’m so grateful for my years at OLG.
Disregarded. Worthless. Manipulated. These are the feelings that I felt four years ago at my last school. The year was 2017. I was in fifth grade, about to jump schools. It took no genius to know that I needed a transfer in my middle school years. But the question was, where? Somehow, I ended up at Our Lady of the Greenwood. My shadow day went amazing and all of the paperwork was signed. The transfer was complete. How did my middle school years go? Awesome.
My name is Henry Pippenger. I have autism. It just makes me different. Sometimes in good ways, but other times in bad ways. Some people not used to me have trouble adapting to my behaviors. Another thing about me is that I am Christian. Protestant to be exact. Not Catholic. These were the two main things going into a Catholic private school.
When I first arrived, I was still fitting in. The Wednesday Mass, religion class and higher expectations were still new to me. It took a ton of time to understand these concepts. However, once I got those concepts down, OLG felt more like a home to me.
Things only got better in the seventh and eighth grades. I was exploring my religion a lot more in depth. My behaviors were better as well! It still isn’t perfect, but far better than my fifth-grade year. Comparing myself four different years ago, it was like I was a different person.
As I mentioned, I’m in eighth grade. This year will be my last year at OLG. But I am so glad I got this experience. OLG was that one extra experience I needed. Without them, I might have never found my way back to a much calmer nature. To my former classmates I say that I want to get in touch sometime. Just to meet up and see where you are at now. I really hope I can get in touch with some of you. My name is Henry Pippenger and a Catholic school helped me get back on my feet again.
Roncalli High School
LETTER from our PRINCIPAL
Roncalli High School continues to offer young people and their families a faith-filled, life-changing experience that propels them forward on a path for success in life!
Guided by our Catholic faith and bolstered by a tradition of academic and extracurricular excellence, Roncalli is not so much an academic institution as much as it is a transformational institution. We truly believe that the experience that awaits all students at our school is transformational! When you allow the Holy Spirit to be a vibrant part of your daily life, one cannot help but to be transformed. We have worked very hard to attract and retain some of the state’s finest, most passionate, faith-filled educators! They are the ones that work daily with students, in and out of the classroom, helping them in their efforts to discern, develop and share their talents with the world. When done well, we are making the world a little better place while building up God’s kingdom here on earth.
The following comments shared by some Roncalli teachers gives one a glimpse as to what they cherish most about the opportunity they have to teach in a dynamic, faith-filled environment:
- I love and value the family atmosphere that exists among the students, faculty and staff.
- I cherish that it’s a place where I can openly talk about science and faith and how those two interact and aren’t mutually exclusive. Most of all, I appreciate that I can be myself and that my students are free and open to be themselves as well in a safe and loving environment.
- There is a strong sense of teamwork and partnership with parents in support of our students. Parents actively support what I do in the classroom, and I support the values and lessons instilled at home. It truly is a winning combination!
- Academics are important, and we work very hard in the classroom, but when I am able to be a witness to or play a role in my students’ faith lives, there is nothing more meaningful. Whether it be at an all-school Mass, a retreat, or a short conversation after class, I count myself immensely blessed to be a part of their lives in such a deep, powerful way.
- I have administrative and parental support when holding high expectations for my students. I find students are prepared to meet these expectations because they know they are loved, supported and encouraged not only by me as their teacher but all in our staff at Roncalli.
- I feel blessed to be a part of something bigger than me and my own career/vocation.
- It was clear to me when I was a student at Roncalli that my teachers were here for the right reasons – to be a positive influence, role model and help foster my love of learning. Now back at Roncalli as a teacher, it’s my pleasure to have the same effect on my students – Roncalli is proud to offer the most comprehensive academic programming for any faith-based school in our state.
Roncalli offers a rigorous, challenging curriculum that meets the needs of students of all academic levels, including students with special needs as well as those seeking training for post-secondary vocational opportunities. It truly lives out its mission to be a Life Prep school!
Students find joy, fulfillment and life-impacting experiences through a dynamic performing arts program, a highly respected and successful athletic program as well as a plethora of wide-ranging clubs!
To assist in their understanding of the Biblical message that it is better to give than to receive, all students complete a minimum of community service hours by the time they graduate. The majority of these hours are spent serving those less fortunate in and around central Indiana. The overwhelming majority of our graduates far exceed the required number of 144 hours.
Here are some comments from students as to what they most cherish about their Roncalli experience:
- I appreciate the teachers as they are genuinely nice people who care about me and all of the students!
- I love the strong family feel to the school!
- It is very clear that everyone is here for each other; especially in hard times.
- There are so many different ways to get involved and meet new people and we are encouraged to do this.
- My teachers and coaches care for me more than just how am I doing in school. They care about me as a whole person!
- I love my Catholic faith, so I really love that we are challenged daily to grow closer to God.
- I have had great teachers in my four years. I am very confident as I prepare to move on to college!
Roncalli has been renowned for decades as a welcoming community! Our overarching mission is to help each person in our school and school family (students, faculty, staff, parents, etc.) in their daily walk with Christ. All parents are encouraged to consider Roncalli as they explore high school options for their child!
My name’s Janeth Iman, and I’m a Roncalli High School senior. For the majority of my life, I’ve gone to a public school. While studying at public school, I was never able to truly have a connection with God. In fear of offending others, I didn’t ever publicly practice my faith. Along with that, I remember other students making fun of those that were Catholic. Even though my parents would teach me and my siblings about our religion, teachings and traditions, I felt like I didn’t truly know Him.
Switching over to a Catholic school my seventh-grade year was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I was able to learn about God, practice my faith and become more immersed with my faith. Being able to connect with others that understand and practice the same religion as I do was really refreshing. Meeting them was amazing because I knew that when someone said, “I’ll pray for you” they genuinely meant it.
Coming over to a Catholic school showed me how much people put into their faith. People with Catholic education tend to not worry about the future as much since they believe God will be by their side no matter what they do, which I admire greatly. It took some time but by my sophomore year, I began to just leave my worries and struggles with the future at the foot of the cross. Letting God deal with my struggles and not letting myself get too stressed with all my struggles has allowed me to grow in multiple ways. Overall, my faith has grown to the point that I no longer stress about what I cannot control, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I had never been enrolled in a Catholic institution.
Growing up in a large Catholic family and attending a Catholic grade school, I was very thankful for the opportunity to share my faith with others. Throughout my eight years of attendance at Saint Barnabas Catholic School, I never realized how your faith prepares and shapes you as a person.
I remember as a child I would dread going to church because it was “boring,” and I never understood how I was supposed to relate to the homilies. As I became a teenager and started high school at Roncalli, I started to understand that church was a very important part of my faith. I began to relate to the messages of the homilies and began to understand why they taught me what I learned in school. I was able to bring what I was taught at church on Sunday and share it in my religion classes. During the various years of religion classes, I began to understand not only Catholicism but myself as a person, which is why I am very appreciative of my Catholic education.
Without my Catholic education, I do not think I would be the person I am today. Recently, I was taught by my Christian Adulthood teacher about how our actions affect our pathway to eternal life with Christ. From that day, I decided to put myself to the test. I started noticing every action and determined if it was strengthening the passage to Christ, or if it was another impediment making the journey harder. Prayer has become an important part of my life. I continue to pray numerous times during the day, and I ask for God’s guidance throughout my religious journey. Because of my Catholic education, I am allowed to join with others in their faith-filled route to heaven by praying for them. The appreciation I have for my teachers, priests and parents is endless because they have taught me what it is like to be a true child of God.
Saints Francis & Clare Catholic School
LETTER from our PRINCIPAL
This year we are encouraging families to “Discover Catholic Schools” during Catholic Schools Week. We are hosting an open house Jan. 29 from 5:30-7 p.m. All visitors that are new to our school that are interested in enrolling will receive a door prize for attending.
Our school commission and the administration are inviting every family to have small-group, face-to-face conversations about our school this year. These small meetings are intended to foster continued involvement of our parents, leverage our strengths and address questions or concerns parents have.
Families that currently attend our school are witness to the factors that make our school a fantastic place to attend. They believe that the size of the school brings a strong community connection that makes us a family. They are confident that we are building great character and a strong moral compass in their children’s lives.
New family registration will op Feb. 16 and the form can be found at ss-fc.org under the school tab. Don’t miss the chance to “Discover” a great opportunity for your child to be a student in a school that fosters the whole child, academically, socially and emotionally. Tours can also be set up at any time by calling (317) 859-4673.
Happy Catholic Schools Week!
Mrs. Betty Popp
Do you like Catholic schools? I do! I have been going to Catholic school for five years now, preschool through fourth grade! Overall, Catholic schools have been a great experience. My favorite things about Catholic schools is that we can talk about our faith without being judged, they take a lot of time preparing for Mass and the fun Catholic activities. First, let’s discuss the time they give.
One thing they prepare for us is Mass, which takes a long time. Another thing they have to prepare is poster boards in the hallway, and they’re amazing. They also stay up late to grade students’ work for a long time. Now, let’s discuss the fun Catholic events.
My school does something called faith and action. That’s when we do a fun act of kindness. Those kinds of activities are hard work, but they do it for us. Now, let’s talk about being able to talk about our faith without being judged.
Believe it or not, some places do not believe in God. Some of those places will judge people who do. Here, there is no judgement because we all do believe in God. This is my favorite thing about Catholic schools.
SSFC is a good school because they do a lot of fun things. There are also a lot of nice people and teachers. SSFC also keeps you safe. They do lockdowns, lockouts, fire drills and tornado drills.
I like going to SSFC because you get to learn about God. I love going to mass and having communion with the wine. I also like listening to the homily that the priest says.