In his Feb. 13, 2014, address to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Vatican City, Pope Francis stated, "Catholic education is one of the most important challenges for the church, currently committed to new evangelization in a historical and cultural context that is undergoing constant transformation."
To help meet that challenge head-on, Upon This Rock, the diocesan-wide campaign currently underway designed to help the Catholic Church in Western New York address the needs of today and provide the strength and security needed for future generations, will make a $15 million investment in Catholic education.
Sister Carol Cimino, SSJ, superintendent of Catholic schools reports, "Our schools have been deeply rooted in the history of Western New York. Catholic schools form and support well-rounded individuals who are grounded in gospel values and who have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. In addition to their excelling academically every year, our students spend thousands of hours volunteering for various charities, programs and ministries. Those experiences, coupled with the classroom education provided by Catholic schools, enable our students to excel in leadership and ministry so that they are prepared to fulfill their responsibilities, ultimately leading others to know, love and practice the values of the Gospel in everyday life. Catholic school graduates make good citizens and leaders who make God-centered choices, showing concern and compassion for their neighbors and are good stewards of our God-given gifts.
Sister Carol goes further by stating, "Quality education is only possible with a commitment to offer the best. Dating back to the formation of our diocese, the mission of our Catholic schools has been to offer that quality to all who are interested. Regrettably, despite our best efforts to keep tuition rates as low as possible, some families are unable to choose Catholic education because those tuition rates, even as low as they are, represent a disproportionate share of their income."
To allow more families the ability to choose Catholic education, Upon This Rock will create a $12 million tuition assistance endowment which will allow the diocese to provide to a far greater number of elementary and high school students.
Upon This Rock also makes a $3 million investment in STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) curriculum and technology enhancements, leadership and professional development, making all of our schools top-choice destinations for parents who desire the best possible education for their children.
An additional $13 million in funding from Upon This Rock will be available to all parishes to assist with lifelong faith formation evangelization and catechesis programs and will be available to all parishes and ministries through a grant application process.
For more information go to www.UponThisRock.org.