Celebrating Catholic Schools
This Sunday marks the beginning of our celebration of Catholic School’s Week. The theme for this year’s celebration is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Welcome to all the families who join us for the Eucharist today. May our prayers help to deepen our faith and enhance what our children learn in the classroom during the week.
Our school was named one of Chicago’s top Catholic schools by Chicago Magazine. I am proud of our school which is the largest ministry of our parish. Our school is a living testament to the commitment and desire for an exemplary Catholic education in Chicago’s urban center. Those who are new to our parish may not know that Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School is a Pre-K through 8th grade elementary school, located on two campuses in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. Our enrollment this year is 435 students.
We are blessed by the leadership and dedication of our co-principles Mrs. Katie Sullivan and Mrs. Maria Hill, who have made our school an excellent environment for a child to grow and learn. I marvel at the care, guidance and personal attention that our faculty gives our students. I am impressed and grateful for parents who offer their time and talents so that we can provide the best education possible for our children. Catholic education doesn't happen by itself. It comes with many sacrifices.
Did you know that the Archdiocese of Chicago educates more than 82,000 Chicago area children in 240 elementary and high schools? Forming children in our Catholic faith and educating them to be responsible future adults have long been important ministries of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church provides this vital service to our community with no direct public funding, saving Cook and Lake Counties an estimated $1.5 billion annually.
Here are some facts about Immaculate Conception –St. Joseph School that will help parishioners to understand some of the dynamics and magnitude of operating a parish school today.
- The overall School Budget is $4.5 million.
- The school currently employs over 75 persons. This includes the faculty and staff.
- 79% of our faculty hold a Masters degree in education, or, currently pursuing a Masters degree.
- There are 19 students in the Graduation Class of 2015. (We have had four graduation classes since the reopening of the school in 1998.)
- Our alumni are accepted into the top Catholic and select enrollment high schools in Chicago.
- Our 8th grade students did exceptionally well in the ACT Aspire test which tests readiness in math, reading, language, science and writing. They scored higher than other students in the system.
- Our students in grades 1-7 place in the top 10% of the Terra Nova Test, of the students who test nationally.
- There are 435 students in the school. This represents 267 families.
- 42% of our school families are registered at either Immaculate Conception or St. Joseph parish. There are over 20 zip codes represented in the school community.
- Our extra-curricular activities program is thriving; offering such activities as music and dance, chess and legos and technology.
- The school is strongly supported by the efforts and leadership of the Parent Association and School Board of Specified Jurisdiction.
- Our two parishes do not financially subsidize the Operation Budget of the school. The school receives its income primarily through tuition collection and fund-raising efforts.
- The overall fund-raising budget goal is $520,000. The Sparkle event and the Annual Fund are major sources of this income.
- This year, the school has provided over $100,000 in tuition assistance to families in need.
Enrollment for new students is in the process and Pre-Kindergarten applications have exceeded capacity. Our school staff welcomes new families seeking a Catholic education. For more information you can call 312-944-1230; or visit the school website or like us on Facebook.
Liturgical Ministers Update
Next month I will be meeting with our liturgical ministers to plan for the coming season of Lent and take some time for ongoing formation. I ask that our Lectors, Extra-Ordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and Ushers refer to the times and dates included in the bulletin for when the sessions will be offered at both parishes.
2015 Catholic Appeal - “Entrusted with Responsibility”
Many have already responded to the Annual Catholic Appeal mailing from Archbishop Cupich. On behalf of those served by the ministries and services funded by the ACA, I thank you for your gifts. If you received the mailing and have not yet responded, please do so as soon as possible.
This year, the theme of the Appeal is Entrusted with Responsibility. God provides each of us with many gifts. We have a responsibility not only to recognize these gifts but to nurture them.
As we contemplate His gifts to us, we should also reflect on our gratitude for these gifts. Your financial support for the work of our parish, our Archdiocese and the Church throughout the world is, in fact, one way to express this gratitude. Please give generously to the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal.
Remember that when our parishes reach their set goal in paid pledges, that 100% of the additional funds received will be returned directly for the use of our parish. Last year, St. Joseph parish exceeded its goal by $19,773. Immaculate Conception exceeded its goal by $61,013 The rebates to the parish were put directly into our parish operations which helped to pay our monthly bills.
This year the Annual Catholic Appeal goal for St. Joseph is $8,844 and the goal for Immaculate Conception is $28,926.
A Venial Sin?
I was at a parish meeting last week and noticed that the person sitting next to me had a certain glow about them. I leaned over and asked, “Did you have a chance to get way somewhere warm this winter?”
She smiled and confessed, “Yes Father. Over the Christmas break we went down to Florida with the kids. It was great to dodge the Chicago winter weather.”
I teased her. “You know…I think it might actually be a venial sin to have a better suntan than the pastor?”
I will be away from the parish next weekend. I will be in Florida for 6 days visiting my sister-in-law Laura, and my three nieces who live near Ft. Lauderdale. (My brother Ed, Laura’s husband, died in 2005). I look forward to watching the Super Bowl with them.
Be extra nice to the visiting priests who will be covering the two parishes for me when I am gone. Some priests are coming from miles away to celebrate Mass for us. I appreciate their kindness and generosity.