At Organ-ic Chemist This week's torchlight post is "Is a Parish School Good for the Parish?" by Denise Hunnell at Catholic Mom.
Three items for consideration...
1. Riddle me this. Which provides "more health care?"
A. A parish-subsidized, nurse-assisted convalescent home for 20 people, some impoverished, some not, orB. Free blood-pressure screenings after Mass?
2. I've seen this done on occasion after Communion in different parts of the country with similar results, although I admit the evidence is anecdotal. "Will the following people please stand:"
A. All those who currently attend our parish schoolB. All those who graduated from our parish schoolC. All those who attended our parish schoolD. All those who graduated from any other Catholic grade school, or high schoolE. All those who attended any other Catholic grade school, or high schoolMore than three-fourths (oftentimes more) of the congregation is standing at this point, i.e., a vast majority of the people who were actually in the pews for (at least) those Masses had attended a Catholic school. (I'd really like to know if there's a study that addresses the question of who the practical Catholics are.)
3. Pope John Paul the Great:
A. [T]he work of the school is irreplaceable and the investment of human and material resources in the school becomes a prophetic choice. On the threshold of the third millennium we perceive the full strength of the mandate which the Church handed down to the Catholic school in that "Pentecost" which was the Second Vatican Council: "Since the Catholic school can be of such service in developing the mission of the People of God and in promoting dialogue between the Church and the community at large to the advantage of both, it is still of vital importance even in our times". (emphasis added)B. One of the reasons for the Church's influence on the Christian formation of Americans is her vast presence in the field of education and especially in the university world. The many Catholic universities spread throughout the continent are a typical feature of Church life in America. Also in the field of primary and secondary education, the large number of Catholic schools makes possible a wide-ranging evangelizing effort, as long as there is a clear will to impart a truly Christian education. (emphasis added)
It's about both catechizing and evangelizing our youth effectively, efficiently, and efficaciously. Despite their myriad problems, the Church's "bang for the buck" nod has to go to Catholic schools over either homeschooling, or CCD, which is to take nothing of their positives away from them. One can argue the relative merits of the good of a particular school for a particular parish, but there ought to be no doubt that, in the main, parish schools are good for the Church.