The value of Catholic education in a school or religious education program is invaluable to parents who want their children to receive effective instruction in the faith.
Parish RE programs and Catholic schools provide a basic foundation of catechetical instruction to children in pre-kindergarten through high school.
However, families are finding it more difficult to afford faith formation due to the depressed economy.
Fortunately, the annual diocesan Charity and Development Appeal allocates funding to those elementary, high schools and parish RE programs that are in most need of financial support.
In 2012, Catholic schools received 15 percent in allocations and grants, while education and evangelization received 25 percent of the $8 million campaign.
“Thanks to the CDA, we can keep Catholic education available and affordable to families,” said MaryBeth Mueller, diocesan superintendent of schools for the past 20 years. “CDA funding helps schools in most need make ends meet. If we have it, we spend it because we can use it.”
Last year, St. Louis the King in Glendale awarded 41 CDA-funded scholarships to students who otherwise could not afford to attend.
“The CDA makes it possible for families to choose a Catholic education where, in addition to reading, science and math, their children are formed in the Catholic faith and learn to live by Catholic values,” said Julie Schaffer, director of stewardship and development at St. Louis the King Parish and School. “Given the level of financial need at our school, all of the funding we receive is used to provide tuition assistance.”
Some families sending their children to St. Mary’s High School downtown have also struggled paying tuition because of the economy.
“CDA funding is crucial to us because we’ve been serving a lot of families who are struggling financially,” said Amy Lawrence, finance director. “It’s a tremendous relief, and we know we can make our budget work.”
Mueller said for the past two decades, she has been inspired by the partnerships that have developed between the parents and the schools.
“The sacrifices the parents make to keep their children in a Catholic school are incredible,” she said. “It really takes collaboration and parents are willing to work hard with the schools.”
As the first educators of their children, parents are encouraged and supported to provide a firm foundation of faith by integrating Catholic principles into the daily routine of life.
Regardless of where formation is done, Catholic school or RE program, CDA funding is there to attain its mission of nurturing and developing faith in local communities and beyond.
There are more than 22,000 children attending parish RE programs, and more than 268 catechetical leaders serving parishes in various departments.
“Monies go to help these programs, dollar for dollar,” said Ryan Hanning, diocesan director of parish leadership support. “Our office serves womb to tomb, and we are faithful stewards.”
Hanning said some of the highlights last year include hiring 41 fulltime youth parish leaders, providing ongoing formation for catechists with national experts in the field and having hundreds of XLT Life Teens participate monthly in adoration.
“Our office not only benefits from CDA, each of us support its efforts in the ministry of the Church.”
‘Celebrate Your Faith’
The Charity and Development Appeal raised more than $8.1 million last year to support schools like St. John Vianney in Goodyear.
To learn more about the CDA, visit the web: diocesephoenix.org/cda