The Vision from Archbishop
Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis
In 2018 we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Over the past two centuries, we have faced many changes and challenges. We have provided excellent choices for the families we serve.
We stand on the shoulders of the many faithful women and men who sacrificed so much to build, maintain, staff and grow our Catholic schools. These clergy, religious and lay faithful embraced change and met challenges, choosing to stay committed to the mission of Jesus Christ to proclaim the Gospel message to every generation.
Today, the faithful of the Church of St. Louis will once again confront changes, address challenges and make new choices to maintain and strengthen our Catholic elementary schools.
We entrust our efforts for a renaissance for Catholic education to the intercession of the patrons of our archdiocese – St. Louis, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis
The Renaissance for Catholic Education
The renaissance for Catholic schools opens a new era in affordable and accessible Catholic education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This work has been underway for several years. The vision of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson is firmly rooted in his 2011 Pastoral Letter on Catholic education, Alive in Christ!
“. . . handing on the faith to the young Church is an essential part of the Church’s evangelizing mission. And Catholic schools . . . stand at the heart of the task of forming children in the Catholic faith. The stability and the growth of Catholic schools, therefore, are topics that must concern all Catholics who take the missionary mandate of Christ seriously.
“We must keep our schools Catholic. We must grow them. And they must be financially sound and able to assist those in need.”
Change has been with us since the opening of our Catholic schools by such people as St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in the early 1800s. Waves of immigration required the opening of many new schools to meet the diversity of those coming to the United States. Catholic schools met the changes ushered in by desegregation of schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, seven years before the United States Supreme Court mandated such changes.
Today, recent demographic shifts, a new wave of immigration and an aging Catholic population in some areas have created new conditions for change. This renaissance is a rebirth that gives new life to the mission and ministry of Catholic education in a new era.
Catholic schools have always challenged young people to be better students and better people. Schools have met continual challenges: improved educational programs, advances in technology, fully certified administrators and faculty skilled in best practices, and fully accredited schools. At the same time, Catholic schools must maintain a strong commitment to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this time and place.
Today, families have unprecedented choice in public, private and archdiocesan schools. Without question, there are many paths to an excellent, exceptional elementary and secondary education. Parents and students must weigh the strengths of schools and choose the path that will best lead children to a happy and holy life. Catholic schools are committed, now more than ever, to ensuring that a Catholic school is the best choice.