Catholic New World: Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Schools and Scholarships

Cardinal George's Schedule

  1. Sept. 2-7: Vox Clara Committee Meeting, Rome
  2. Sept. 8: 9 a.m., Mass, Profession of Solemn Vows, Poor Clare Monastery of the Immaculate Conception, Palos Park; 2 p.m., Closing Mass, Sisters of St. Casimir 100th Anniversary, Nativity of B.V.M., Chicago
  3. Sept. 9: 2:30 p.m., Golden Wedding Anniversary Mass, Holy Name Cathedral; 5 p.m., Bishop Abramowicz Seminary Benefit Dinner, Marriott Downtown
  4. Sept. 11-12: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C.
  5. Sept. 13: 11:30 a.m., Rededication Mass, Madonna della Strada Chapel, Loyola University Lake Shore Campus; 6 p.m., University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary Annual Golf Outing and Dinner
  6. Sept. 14: 1 p.m., Board of Advisors Meeting, Mundelein Seminary
  7. Sept. 15: 9 a.m., Archdiocesan Pastoral Council General Meeting, Mundelein Seminary; 5 p.m., 50th Anniversary Mass, Infant Jesus of Prague Parish, Flossmoor
Cardinal's Crest

This issue of the Catholic New World features our schools. It gives me the opportunity to thank all the pastors, principals and teachers in our Archdiocesan schools as well as those who direct and teach in the Catholic schools sponsored by religious orders and others. Because so much effort and generosity go into making our schools the marvelous ministry they are, it is always easy to thank those in the schools and in the Office of Catholic Schools itself. It is also necessary to do so because gratitude is sometimes all we can give.

Behind the personal effort and generosity that create the Catholic schools, there are the parents and guardians of the children and others who support the children financially. Any institution flourishes when there are sufficient numbers of people attending and sufficient funds to make it operate. Scholarships help both the schools and the children’s families.

The Big Shoulders Fund, besides its indispensable help to the schools themselves through direct funding and through the work of the many patrons for the schools, also channels a great deal of scholarship money to the children. There are many such Big Shoulders scholarship programs, some named after donors and some not. Probably the largest in funding and in numbers of pupils helped is the Gallagher Scholarship program, named after the family insurance company and its kindhearted directors.

A program I follow closely, although it is run directly by the Catholic Schools Office, is the Cardinal’s Capital for Kids Scholarship Fund. It is funded basically through a reception magnificently given each year by the Capital Grille at 633 N. St. Clair. Recently its funds were increased through the dinner held on the occasion of my tenth anniversary as Archbishop here. I asked for a list of the schools and students that receive funding and why the scholarships were given. The answers I received say a lot about the outreach of our Catholic schools and the children in them.

Why do the scholarship recipients need help to go to Catholic school? “Father serving in Iraq, mom lost her job; illness in family, lost home and all possessions; sibling suffered brain injury in car accident, medical bills; mother recently died of cancer, father raising six children; single mom, lost house and all possessions in fire; mother has lung cancer, student has socialization and emotional issues; recent divorce, mother ill, father out of work; refugee family from Togo, mother unemployed, infant seriously ill, faced eviction; mother taking care of two nieces whose own mother is incarcerated, out of work for six months; family burglarized; student went through open heart surgery, father lost job due to time off to take child for treatment, family on public aid; father passed away suddenly at age 31, mother works; single parent, evicted from apartment; raising granddaughter on fixed income; student has leukemia, high medical bills.”

These short descriptions encapsulate the life stories behind some of the 126 students who are receiving scholarships from the Cardinal’s Capital for Kids Scholarship Fund this year. They are representative of the life stories of so many children in Catholic schools. Those who say that our schools are only for the wealthy and the well are not in touch with reality. Ask any pastor, principal or teacher. Despite all kinds of financial and other obstacles, those who send their children to Catholic schools do so because the children both learn their lessons well and acquire good habits for life. When visiting the schools, one meets happy children. The family stories are not always happy, but the children are loved. The most important lesson learned in a Catholic school is that God loves us, and that lesson can be learned in few other schools.

I am grateful to all who support the children in our schools. May this be a happy school year for them. God bless you all.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

Archbishop of Chicago

Cardinal's Column Archive