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Catholic Schools Week Ideas and Activities
By: Allie Johnston
These Catholic Schools Week ideas will be a valuable resource as you prepare to celebrate the rich traditions and the incredible value of Catholic education. We've also compiled thematic Catholic Schools Week activities that can be downloaded for FREE and will enhance your school or parish celebrations!
What is Catholic Schools Week?
Catholic Schools Week is a national celebration of Catholic education and an opportunity to recognize the importance, the value, and the contributions of Catholic education to the Church and the world. Catholic Schools Week is sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
An annual tradition that began in 1974, Catholic schools across the nation commemorate Catholic Schools Week with celebrations, Masses, open houses, and activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members. Catholic Schools Week events showcase and celebrate the rich traditions and the incredible value of Catholic education on both a local and national level.
Each year, Catholic Schools Week is celebrated during the last week of January. This year, Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated from January 27th through February 2nd.
Catholic Schools and the Students They Serve
According to NCEA, there are more than 6,000 Catholic schools nationwide. These schools—serving elementary, middle, and secondary school students—are located across all regions, giving many families the opportunity for accessible Catholic education.
The Benefits of Catholic Schools
The integration of faith with academic subjects, culture, and everyday life
The emphasis of living out the faith as missionary disciples
Catholic virtues and values and Catholic Social Teaching, which contribute to productive citizenship and responsible leadership
An environment that encourages and nurtures prayer and is safe, welcoming, and supportive for children
A favorable student to teacher ratio
High graduation and college attendance rates
For further reading and in addition to these benefits, explore NCEA’s A Dozen Reasons to Choose Catholic Schools Info Graphic.
Celebrating Catholic Schools Week
Throughout Catholic Schools Week, schools, parishes, and dioceses schedule activities and events to provide opportunities for celebration and engagement with students and families related to the annual theme. Parishioners and community members are also often invited to participate in some events. Events invite participants to reflect on the value and importance that Catholic education to the school and community, the Church, and the world.
Many Catholic schools also host an open house to start or during Catholic Schools Week. An open house is an opportunity to celebrate the mission of the Catholic school, welcome visitors and newcomers, and perhaps showcase original student artwork inspired by the 2010 theme. Families, visitors, and special guests can see firsthand the benefits of students learning, playing, praying and living out their faith and school.
Each year, Catholic Schools Week has a theme. The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2019 is Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. Each day of Catholic Schools Week focuses on a particular celebration. Within the overarching theme for the week are the following daily themes:
- Sunday: Celebrating your parish
- Monday: Celebrating your community
- Tuesday: Celebrating your students
- Wednesday: Celebrating the nation
- Thursday: Celebrating vocations
- Friday: Celebrating faculty, staff, and volunteers
- Saturday: Celebrating families
Explore below Catholic Schools Week ideas, activities, and printable resources that will enhance your celebrations each day during Catholic Schools Week 2019.
Ideas for Catholic Schools Week
Celebrating All Week through Learning, Service, Leadership and Success
During the 2019 celebration, you can incorporate daily themes suggestions into your observation of Catholic Schools Week with a special Catholic Schools Week Daily Activity Guide. With this resource, you can kick off Catholic Schools Week with an opening prayer service, and then find suggestions for focusing your celebrations on the daily themes.
In addition to the Opening Prayer and Daily Activity Guide, below you'll find suggestions for you to enhance each day’s celebration during Catholic Schools Week.
Celebrating Your Parish on Sunday
On the opening day of Catholic Schools Week, many parishes devote a Mass to Catholic education. These celebrations show the connection between Catholic schools and parishes, on both a local and national level, and reflect the support and guidance parishes provide.
Families and catechists can prepare children and students for this Mass by reflecting with them on the support they witness through the assembly of school, Church and community. Students can be reminded that Catholic school students, families, and supporters are gatherings all over the country as they beginning Catholic Schools Week at Mass in their own parishes.
For further reading and to help prepare students for participation in this and other celebrations of the Mass, download the 5 Tips for Teaching the Mass eBook. This resource offers tips to inform students about and engage students during Mass.
Celebrating Your Community on Monday
On Monday, the daily theme focuses on service to the community. When students participate in school, parish, or community events, they have the opportunity to live out their faith and embody the values they are acquiring through their Catholic school education, all the while helping to make the world a better place.
For further reading, explore the 10 Service Projects Children Will Love eBook to inspire meaningful (yet manageable) service projects ideas that engage and mobilize students.
Celebrating Your Students on Tuesday
Help students understand their roles in Catholic education by recognizing their accomplishments. Consider a fun school-wide gathering that celebrates student or class achievements in relation to the 2019 theme of Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. Bring to light the differences students can make as they learn, serve, lead, and succeed in their schools, communities, and the world.
For further reading, explore this Prayer for Knowledge to celebrate the wonder and joy of learning. Share it with your students during Catholic Schools Week.
Celebrating Our Nation on Wednesday
On Wednesday, the focus of Catholic Schools Week shifts from the local to national level and provides an opportunity to express to government leaders the value and importance of Catholic education.
For further reading, pray for inspiration to all work together to meet the challenges of our times with a Prayer for Our Nation.
Celebrating Vocations on Thursday
On Thursday, a focus on vocations helps students recognize and use their God-given talents and be open to God’s call in their lives. Opportunities to reflect, with a focus on service and vocations, lets students consider and explore paths where they may use their gifts and talents to serve God and others.
For further reading, explore the Developing an Understanding of Vocation Support Article, which shares that God calls each of us to live lives of holiness. The article includes suggestions for implementation both in class and at home.
Celebrating Your Faculty, Staff, and Volunteers on Friday
During Catholic Schools Week, Friday is an opportunity to show appreciation to the teachers, principals, administrators, and faculty who dedicate their time and talent to Catholic schools. A prayer of thanksgiving and a heartfelt “thank you” allows students to express their gratitude to those who have chosen to follow God’s call in the field of Catholic education.
For further reading, share your gratitude for the wonderful work of teachers and administrators with a Catholic Schools Appreciation Cards. The thank you card features a quote from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who is considered the “mother of Catholic education.”
Celebrating Families on Saturday
Catholic Schools Week concludes on Saturday with a focus on family. Families play active and vital roles in Catholic education. Families also provide a child’s first introduction to the faith and continued faith formation as the domestic Church. On Saturday, families are celebrated and appreciated for their love, faith, partnership, and example.
For further reading, explore the Passing on the Faith Takes Collaboration Support Article highlighting why and how all of Jesus' disciples must work together to pass on the faith.
Celebrating and Supporting Catholic Schools Today and in the Future
Catholic schools and religious education programs are ever the same in mission, message, and rigor; yet ever changing in delivery. Technology and social media play a big role in this new environment, thereby calling for greater flexibility. In this on demand webinar, Paul Sanfrancesco, MEd, and Lou DeAngelo, EdD, explore how to treat these changes and challenges in catechesis as opportunities.