Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tuition assistance collection scheduled

Both Channel 10 and the Catholic Courier are reporting that Bishop Clark has directed that a special collection be conducted either this weekend or next. Its purpose is to raise funds to meet a challenge issued by the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation.

The Wegman family has offered the diocese $2 million in assistance for poor children to attend Catholic schools, provided the diocese can raise another $500,000 in new donations on its own.

It appears that the bishop has already gone through his list of wealthy donors and has managed to come up with about $320,000. Now he's reaching out to average parishioners in an effort to raise the remaining $180,000.

The bishop has also directed that a letter asking for support be read at every Mass this weekend. The bishop's letter says, in part,

I know you have already been generous to the Catholic Ministries Appeal. But I ask you again for support in this special effort for the sake of these children and their future.

In this time of almsgiving, in this time in which we celebrate our own blessings and the abundant love and forgiveness of Almighty God, let us give hope to these children; let us stretch out our hands and offer them a way up and out of poverty through education.

Given that the CMA drive seems to be stalling out substantially short of its goal, it will be interesting to see how well the people respond.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

We plan to give to this collection. It's one way to show that there IS support for the Catholic schools in the DoR, even if it isn't coming from Buffalo Road.
CathMom

Mike said...

CathMom,

I'll also be donating, and for the same reason.

It would be a wonderful eye-opener if this "out of the blue" appeal could raise substantially more than the $180,000 the diocese needs.

gretchen said...

The Wegman family has always been so generous, we need to rise to the occasion and meet their challenge! Where else can you get four times your money added to your investment? Let's show the bishop how much Catholic education means to us!

sunny said...

I couldn't give him 1 penny. I actually left church in tears after that letter was read. How hypocritical of him to go on and on about the good that the Catholic schools do, when he closed all but 1 in the city. If the Wegman family wasn't giving this money, we wouldn't hear a peep from him about Catholic education.
We have made the difficult decision to not re-register our children in Catholic School for next year. The school we have been forced to attend is woefully inadequate in its physical plan, its academics, and most importantly its spiritual life. My donation will instead go to the Holy Cross preschool where I know it will be appreciated and do some good.

Mike said...

Sunny,

I'm sorry to hear that things haven't worked out at your kids' new school. I believe I know which one you're talking about and, if I'm correct, its physical plant is definitely inferior to HC's.

I was, however, surprised to hear about the academics and spiritual life there. Do you think the poorer academics had anything to do with increased class size?

As far as the bishop reaching out for funds, I was talking with someone after Mass this morning and they had heard that the Wegmans family is really upset that he's never done it before and decided to set up this challenge in such a way that he would be forced to do it this time.

My source added that there are some pastors in this diocese so adamantly opposed to Catholic schools (due to their cost) that they had to be ordered to take up the collection.

I'm not sure how much credence to put into those comments but, if true, they sure explain a lot.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think the class sizes are a huge part of the problem. I have heard ok things about the Jr high academics. My kids are in the primary grades and bored to tears. My son's class spent pretty much the entire 1st semester doing what they already covered in Kindergarten at HC. I think they have so many kids from so many schools, they are all at very diff skill levels.
Discipline is also a problem. The school is sheer chaos. My daughter rarely gets a full lunch period to eat because they have to wait for the troublemakers to settle down.
As for the spiritual life......definitely could use a boost.There are no 1st Friday masses. No prayer services. We have done 1 outreach project (we used to do 1 a quarter).The 4th grade has actually voted at times whether to have religion class or color. Guess what won out?
Lest you think we are just complainers, various parents (myself included) have tried numerous times to initiate and coordinate some of these activities only to be told "No".

Your source is absolutely correct about some pastors having to be ordered to read that letter. I think it's no secret some were glad to have the "burden" of a school taken away.

PS I'm sure you are correct about the school I'm talking about....let's just say it's nearby.....
Sunny

Anonymous said...

Sunny,
That's really too bad about your family's new school. I have to say our experience has been different, but I've heard the same complaints about a school on the East side of town. The leadership is the problem, and until that is addressed nothing will change. Unfortunately the DoR pay scale will only get truly dedicated principals and the ones that couldn't be administrators anywhere else. It sounds like you got stuck with the latter.

Mike said...

Sunny,

I'm really surprised - and sorry - to hear about the spiritual life issues. I'll grant you that I attended Catholic elementary school over 50 years ago, but I thought that most of the things you cite were still common fare in Catholic schools. Otherwise, why do they exist? Promoting a Catholic way of life involves - or should involve - more than daily religion classes.

I guess my granddaughters' experiences at HC have spoiled me.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
From what I hear, it's not even common practice in all the schools to open the day with a prayer or say Grace before meals. First Friday Masses and Stations of the Cross are considered inconvenient and unnecessary.
Some of us were indeed spoiled! They newest phrase I have heard in regard to these schools is "Catholic Lite"
CathMom

Anonymous said...

I think "Catholic Lite" describes it perfectly.It is also what pushed us over the edge....we were VERY spoiled!
-Sunny

Nerina said...

Hi Mike,

We didn't hear the letter at our Mass this weekend and it wasn't in the bulletin. Hmmm.

Mike said...

Nerina,

Are you in a Monroe County parish?

Nerina said...

Hi Mike.

No, I'm in Ontario County. Is that the reason?

Mike said...

Nerina,

I don't know for sure but I suspect it might be. I believe the Wegman money, and hence DOR's need to raise a matching $500,000, was targeted at students in the Monroe County Catholic School System. If so, then the bishop's letter would have gone out just to Monroe County parishes.

dayana said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Margaret

http://grantsforeducation.info

dayana said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Margaret

http://grantsforeducation.info

Mike said...

dayana (or Margaret),

Hi and welcome!

Fell free to jump in any time the mood strikes.