This past week CARITAS For Children has been celebrating National Catholic Schools Week. Every year in the United States a whole week is dedicated to Catholic schools and the importance of a Catholic education for our children. The theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week is: “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”1
What makes CARITAS For Children unique is our focus on Catholic education: our sponsors want to support a child not only in their education but in their faith. We work exclusively with indigenous religious such as the Little Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi in East-Africa, and the Little Sisters of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Haiti. They provide a great education, and they serve as role models to the children in our program for how to live as servants of God.
This past fall when I was in Uganda for CARITAS For Children, I had been walking through the compound of Uganda Martyr’s Junior Boys school in Namilyango with our Program Coordinator, Sr. Carolyne. Two boys came running up to us; they had a question for Sr. Carolyne that they had been arguing about for the past two days. They had decided to ask a sister to resolve their debate.
“What is the difference between a novice and a sister?” one of the boys asked.
As Sr. Carolyne explained the difference, they both listened attentively, then, after discovering that they had both been wrong, thanked her and ran off.
I’m always amazed at the knowledge and sincerity these children possess with regard to their faith. They wear rosaries and miraculous medals about their necks, and in Nkokonjeru you can often see the children gathering in the church across from the convent for study and religious lectures.
One of the best examples I have seen of the way a sponsor-child relationship can thrive through shared love of the Catholic faith was during our annual Skype meeting with Uganda. One of the girls attending Stella Maris Secondary School shared with her longtime sponsors not just a few words about her grades and her classes, or what she wanted to do when she graduated, but a prayer. She recited from memory her favorite prayer, the Magnificat, which her sponsors were thrilled to pray with her.
We also promote relationships between Catholic schools, helping schools in the United States and Poland sponsor children in Catholic schools in Uganda so that students on both sides can benefit from the relationship. There have been Skype meetings, exchanges of letters, and fundraisers by some of the incredible schools and students we are privileged to work with.
We think Catholic schools are inspiring for the way they seek to educate their pupils in a multi-dimensional way, and we’re proud to work with them. We’re also glad to see that our sponsors see the same value and work so hard to ensure their continued success.
Did you attend or do you work at a Catholic school? Do your children attend a Catholic school? In honor of Catholic Schools Week, please share your story to help us honor these communities of faith, knowledge, and service. Or sponsor a child to attend a Catholic school through our Catholic child sponsorship program.