Our Catholic Schools: United in faith and community
January 31, 2024

Our Catholic Schools: United in faith and community

By Giovanni Virgiglio, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany

Every year, when National Catholic Schools Week comes up on the calendar, it gives me a chance to intentionally reflect on the things we sometimes take for granted in the day-in-day-out busyness of everyday life in our schools. We know what makes our schools special — not just the obvious, like some of the highest-level academics in the region — but the more subtle things that make our schools different in the very best ways. Faith, respect, community, service are just some of the elements that are woven into the tapestry that is the Catholic school community across our Diocese.

This year’s CSW theme is “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community,” something that is part and parcel of daily life at every one of our schools, not just for one week a year but every day of every year. Those key elements cannot be separated from the academic programs we provide. They go hand in hand, reinforcing the lessons taught in the classroom and teaching our students how to take those lessons out into the world. We are not just educating students; we are forming citizens. In a world so troubled by division, we take hope in the fact that our students will be a force for unity and an example of kindness when they leave our campuses and enter higher education or the workforce and eventually the public square.

Of course, none of this happens in isolation. We know our students’ first and most important teachers are their parents and their first classroom the domestic church that is found gathered around the dinner table in the evenings, sitting together at Mass on Sunday mornings, and serving each other in the daily chores and responsibilities of the home. The parish community, too, is critical to the holistic approach of Catholic education. Those who surround us at liturgies and support our students and their families through their prayers and donations are a key element of our ability to bring together faith, education, community, and service in one place. We are so grateful to all those who are our current families and our alumni as well as those faithful friends who share in this mission from a distance. Each one of you is part of an equation that adds up to success for our students.

The Catholic Schools Week logo this year symbolizes the united community of Catholic schools. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the figures don’t just stand side-by-side but rather lean into each other and on each other. We are not walking parallel paths alone but rather a shared path together, and that is what makes all the difference in our Catholic schools. The spirit of the Gospel guides us, and a community of faith surrounds us, giving our faculty, staff, administrators, and students everything they need to succeed and thrive in the classroom and out. 

Catholic education is not a building or an institution, not a mascot or a team; it is a family of people, united by faith and committed to the students in our care. We see each day how that powerful combination allows our students to flourish, to blossom into the people they are meant to be. We thank you for your part in that success story, and we invite you to continue to walk with us as we educate the next generation of faithful citizens.

The unique charism of each of our schools is truly something to celebrate, as is our commitment to standing united in faith and community regardless of our differences. I hope you are all having a happy Catholic Schools Week!     

Are you interested in giving your child a

Higher Powered Education?

Explore Our Schools