Joe Towalski: The future of Catholic schools

By Joe Towalski

There are many reasons Catholic schools deserve our support and gratitude: They provide students with an excellent academic education. They build up the kingdom of God by grounding young people in Gospel values, community and service to others. They are helping to form the next generation of leaders for our Church and our country. 

But it doesn’t come without challenges — some more pressing today than in generations past. Nationwide and in the Diocese of St. Cloud, elementary school enrollment has been declining. Rising costs place financial strains on schools, sponsoring parishes and families. 

What does the future hold for Catholic schools, particularly in our area? How are they adjusting and adapting as a response to these challenges? What can we do — whether or not we currently have children in Catholic schools — to help ensure their future vibrancy. “The Big Question” this month features local experts addressing the topic.


The next session of the Minnesota Legislature begins Feb. 11. Among agenda items for lawmakers: what to do with the state’s $1.3 billion budget surplus, management issues at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, bonding initiatives and insulin reform. The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in the state, has several issues of its own that it will be watching. MCC will continue its work to oppose physician-assisted suicide, support school-choice initiatives and back efforts to pass an immigrant driver’s license bill. 

The legislative session offers a good opportunity to practice “faithful citizenship” and contribute your voice to issues related to the Church’s social ministry. You can help to protect and promote human life and human dignity in the lawmaking process by using resources and information provided by MCC. Click here for a preview of the session and to learn how you can make a difference. 


I get excited when I see parishes try new approaches to evangelization, especially when they use technology in creative ways. Last month, Christ our Light Parish in Princeton/ Zimmerman organized a “Theology on Tech” session with their pastor, Father Kevin Anderson. Modeled on the more familiar Theology on Tap program, the parish used Facebook Live to field questions from the public. Read more about what they did and what they learned from the experience. 

Author: Joe Towalski

Joe Towalski is the editor for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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