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Catholic Schools Week being celebrated through Feb. 6

This is the logo for 2021 Catholic Schools Week, scheduled for Jan. 31 through Feb. 6. (Logo courtesy of the National Catholic Educational Association)

Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated this year from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 2021. Unlike past years, when schools celebrated Catholic education with a week of Masses, open houses, assemblies and special activities, the ongoing pandemic and required safety protocols is limiting in-person events at Catholic schools.

“COVID-19 has made it a challenge … during Discover Catholic Schools Week,” the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) noted in a statement. “The easiest ways to stay safe and still get noticed is to make good use of social media and your website. Short videos, photos and animated clips can capture the attention of parents, alumni and parishioners.”

Schools throughout the Archdiocese of Washington have planned inventive ways to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

Among the activities planned at archdiocesan Catholic schools are Masses both streamed and with limited attendance, virtual bingo games, writing letters to essential workers, honoring the military and other first responders, parent appreciation days, a virtual variety show, and a vocation day.

Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has been the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States, sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Catholic Education. The week is set aside to focus on the good work being accomplished in Catholic schools nationwide and in the Archdiocese of Washington.

The theme for Catholic Schools this year is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.”

“Catholic schools have a specific purpose to form students to be good citizens of the world, love God and neighbor and enrich society with the leaven of the Gospel and by example of faith,” the NCEA said in explaining the theme. “Catholic schools instill in students their destiny to become saints.  Academic excellence is the hallmark of Catholic education (and) … service is fundamental to Catholic education and the core of Catholic discipleship.”

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will join their counterparts throughout the country in celebrating National Catholic Schools Week.

Catholics in every parish in the Archdiocese of Washington help support Catholic schools and to make a Catholic education more affordable and accessible for families. Since 2009, the archdiocese has followed a strategy that has strengthened and sustained Catholic schools with the establishment of regional schools involving several sponsoring parishes.

A combined total of about 25,000 students from diverse backgrounds attend classes at 91 archdiocesan and independent Catholic pre-kindergarten through high schools located in the Archdiocese of Washington. The archdiocese’s Catholic schools are located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington award more than $6 million in tuition assistance each year. Of Catholic high school students in the archdiocese, 99 percent graduate and 97 percent of graduates go on to college.