This week, as we celebrate Catholic Schools Week across the nation, the students at Beckman Catholic and St. Francis Xavier will enjoy many fun activities.
Having lived in the Dyersville area my entire life, I was fortunate to attend both of these schools. My husband and I decided to send our three children to Catholic schools as well.
When our youngest was ready for preschool we enrolled her at Seton Catholic in Farley because there wasn’t a Catholic school option for pre-kindergarten or kindergarten in Dyersville.
She attended St. Paul in Worthington the following year and then started at St. Francis Xavier in first grade.
Our commitment to Catholic education came when we chose to baptize our kids. When parents bring their children to have them baptized, the priest tells them, “you must make it your constant care to bring the child up in the practice of the faith.”
Constant care — that means always — at that moment, you have committed to making sure the formation of their faith is continual.
What better way to accomplish this than to have them enrolled in a Catholic school — a place where faith and prayer are infused throughout the day, into every subject and event, and every extra-curricular activity, where you will find teams and club members saying the rosary together and coaches leading pregame prayers.
I have always felt that we couldn’t get our children to heaven by ourselves, and we were continually reassured that we weren’t doing it alone by the many positive, faith-filled moments our children have had with teachers, coaches and moderators at St. Francis Xavier, Beckman Catholic, St. Paul and Seton.
The high-quality academics and course offerings prepared our kids for continued education after high school, and their theology classes fully prepared them to defend their faith once they left this area for college.
We had many conversations when our kids were in high school about how Dyersville was the easiest place in the world to be Catholic, and how their faith would be challenged after graduation by new friends, coworkers, mentors and even family members.
It definitely was more difficult, but establishing a strong faith foundation along with a solid Catholic education ensured that our children were ready for the world and able to defend their faith and more likely to practice their faith when they graduated and left the area.
We couldn’t teach them all they needed to know, which is why we chose to educate them in an environment where they would be surrounded by people who supported our faith — a complement to what we were teaching at home. Enrollment in a Catholic school increases the likelihood that my children will be involved in their faith in adulthood.
For most, a Catholic education involves financial sacrifices and service, but the rewards are so much greater than the time or money spent elsewhere. I currently serve as the chair of the Beckman Catholic Board of Education and have served in that capacity at St. Francis Xavier. Collectively, I have served over 15 years to our Catholic school boards.
Even though my children are grown and no longer in the school system, I look forward to my grandchildren walking the halls of St. Francis Xavier and Beckman Catholic.