“College and heaven are two dreams we have for our students,” said Father Ron Nuzzi at the Breakfast with the Bishop May 4 at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph. “The former doesn’t matter if we haven’t worked toward the latter.”
Father Nuzzi is the senior director of the Alliance for Catholic Education’s RISE (Renewing Identity, Strengthening Education) program, based at the University of Notre Dame.
“Catholic schools build a sense of community and support as the foundation of academic achievement,” Father Nuzzi said. He noted that in proficiency tests in Cincinnati, Ohio, six of the top 10 schools were Catholic, with the top two being Catholic girls’ schools.
At Pope Francis’ recent Congress on Catholic Education, Catholic schools were described as “a joyful ministry at the heart of the church,” he said. Father Nuzzi recalled students discovering the church’s universality while visiting a small Mexican fishing village.
“Catholic schools are the best tool for evangelizing our young people,” Bishop Donald Kettler said. “And — they also re-evangelize adults.” He updated listeners on the progress of Catholic Community Schools, a single Catholic school system for the St. Cloud metro area.
The event, hosted by the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Saint Cloud, benefits the Catholic Schools Student Scholarship Fund. In 2016, the foundation will grant $30,000 in 100 scholarships.
Attendees were invited to the exhibit “A Legacy of Learning: Benedictine Sisters in Elementary Schools” at the Art and Heritage Place, St. Benedict’s Monastery. Education was a foundational ministry for the Benedictine sisters, with enrollment peaking from 1955-1965. The exhibit, which features photographs and historical artifacts from four schools, will run until Dec. 23.