Shepherd's Voice

Catholic Schools Communities of Faith and Learning

In this month’s discussion, Archbishop George J. Lucas sits down with Dr. Michael Ashton, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Omaha archdiocese, to talk about the upcoming school year and recognize the contributions of those who give so much for the education and faith development of our young people.

Michael Ashton: It’s time again to welcome back our Catholic school communities for the start of another year. I always look forward to the new school year. How about you, Archbishop?

Archbishop: I’m excited as well. It makes me very grateful to think of all the students, faculty, staff, parents and everybody who comes together to make our Catholic schools such wonderful communities of faith and learning. It’s a beautiful aspect of our Catholic schools; they really are communities where people support one another in encountering Jesus Christ.

MA: I get excited about all those newcomers to our schools, the people who haven’t experienced Catholic education before and who get to discover why it is so special. In particular, one of the things I find most special is the sort of marriage between the parents’ role in the home and the teacher’s role in the school.

A: We know that God gives to the parents primarily the responsibility to form their children in the faith. For centuries — and for a long time in this archdiocese — the church has partnered with parents to help them with that important responsibility. It is not something that parents can surrender to us, and we certainly don’t want to take it away from them. But we very much look forward to partnering with them to lead their children closer to Jesus Christ, and in helping kids develop all the gifts that God has given them.

MA: Absolutely. We have such outstanding folks in our schools. Thank you to the teachers, school leaders and volunteers for being those individuals whose formation becomes so important to children and families.

A: We all know that we cannot share what we do not ourselves possess, and so I also want to add my thanks to our teachers, to our administrators, to our staff and volunteers. The encounter with Jesus that our students experience in our schools is possible because all of you allow Jesus into your own lives, you have a lively faith in him yourselves, and you are anxious to share that with our students.

MA: I love looking over those stories we’ve been collecting — which people can see on our blog at — stories from families and staff members about where they encountered Christ in their experience in the school community and how it changed their lives. So I look forward to the next 10 months and the great stories that we’re going to hear about the 2019-20 school year. Thanks so much for your service, your dedication and your attendance here in Catholic schools.

A: I add my own thanks, and count on my prayers, all of you, for many blessings in our families, and in our schools during these coming months.

MA: And thank you, archbishop for your prayers and your support of our Catholic schools.

A: Thank you for your leadership. Let us pray together to the Holy Spirit for all the gifts that we need, and for many blessings during this coming school year.

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