Fr. Britto's Blog

Education Endowment

As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, our thoughts turn to the educational priorities of the parish. We often speak of Jesus as priest, prophet and king. As prophet, He taught people about the Kingdom of God. The gospels relate that Jesus spent much time instructing both the disciples and the crowds. Jesus was a preeminent teacher. Many people called Him “Rabbi” which means teacher. Following the example of the Master, the Church takes her teaching ministry very seriously. All over the world the Church is engaged in education, and in places like India – which is mostly non-Christian – she makes her presence felt through numerous schools, colleges and universities.

The Universal Church is aware of the crucial importance of faith education (catechesis) for the life of the Church as it also guarantees her continued growth. The Catechism of the Catholic Church underlines this ministerial priority as it quotes from Catechesi Tradendae:

Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life. Not only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis. (#7)

Here at St Paul’s we are blessed with a grand and powerful educational ministry. We have a vibrant school that over the years has had a consistent enrollment of around 600 students. I am very optimistic that we will return to that enrollment number next academic year. We are proud of our religious education program that teaches the faith to well over 1250 children. We offer many opportunities for adult faith formation and our Bible Study led by our parishioners has been a resounding success. In recent years we are also initiating ways to assist our families in their married life and parenting.

Now the question arises: How do we guarantee that our efforts to educate continue to bear ample fruit? In trying to answer that question, the parish established the Parish Education Endowment Fund twenty years ago.

The St. Paul of the Cross Parish Educational Endowment Fund Board began its work in 2000 by championing a fundraising campaign to support affordability and accessibility of Catholic education for future generations. One of our founding board members, the late Maureen McCambridge, expressed her sincere belief that “children need faith, love, and education. Nurturing the spirit of a child is priceless.” It was her great desire that an endowment be established in order to sustain this belief.

The fund began with a modest amount of about $10,000. Through various fundraising efforts, that amount grew gradually. It was only in the period 2005 – 2008 that the fund saw a dramatic increase because of a couple of large donations. For several years, even the earnings from the fund were not utilized so that the fund could grow. Through the continued dedication and support from the parish community over the ensuing years, the combined value of the education endowment has grown to over $2.15 million now split between two endowment funds. Since inception, the Endowment will have contributed over $750,000 in funding to the school, our students, teachers, and parish educational ministries by the end of the current school year!

Over the last several years, the parish has been able to withdraw between $70,000 and $75,000 annually from the income and as a result reduced our financial obligation. The fund also has financed certain other educational initiatives. We have been able to utilize the earnings on the principal to help offset tuition increases, provide financial assistance to families in need, fund special programs and also offer several merit-based scholarships. We are hopeful that we can establish more scholarships and assist more parish families to access the Catholic school or religious education.

Highly-qualified, well-respected teachers and a strong curriculum are the hallmarks of Catholic education. Maintaining a facility large enough to accommodate the needs of 550 SPC students as well as approximately 1,250 Catechesis students is essential. The only way to protect and preserve our Catholic education in the 21st Century is to ensure that each Parish School is financially sound, through a growing Parish Endowment Fund. Please note that the fund is meant to assist the educational efforts of the entire parish even though a major part of the focus is on the school.

All of us in the parish realize that the future of the Church depends on our attempts to pass on the faith to future generations. Whatever we can do to ensure the vibrancy of our parish and the Church as a whole is blessed by the Lord. I appeal to your generosity to consider our endowment fund in your charitable giving. If you are planning your estate, do remember your parish and the endowment fund. I have been personally touched by the phenomenal generosity of our parishioners over the last ten years, and I am deeply grateful.

May the Lord reward you abundantly for all that you do for our parish community! Please know that I hold our benefactors in prayer every day.

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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