| By Bishop Joe S. Vásquez

Celebrating the gift of Catholic education


Editor: Bishop Vásquez, we recently celebrated Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3. Why are Catholic schools important to the Diocese of Austin?

Bishop Vásquez: Catholic education is a treasure for our Church as it forms our young people in the faith and provides an excellent education. Through our Catholic schools, we form the whole person – body, heart, mind and spirit – and prepare our young people to serve God and others.

In our Catholic schools, young people are taught from a very young age the importance of serving God and their neighbor. So that when our students leave Catholic schools, they are productive citizens who generously give of themselves to the rest of society. This is a great blessing not just for the church, but also for our society as a whole.

Also, our Catholic schools are vehicles for evangelization. As our Catholic school students are formed to be disciples of Christ, they bring that discipleship home as they share the faith with their families. As the children interact with their family members, the love of Christ is shared and the whole family becomes richer in love and discipleship. This is a wonderful gift of Catholic education!

Editor: In mid-January, we celebrated a successful gala for our Catholic schools. Why is that event so important?

Bishop Vásquez: During the Saints and Scholars event, we celebrate the great successes of Catholic schools throughout our diocese and renew our commitment to support Catholic education. The evening brings together hundreds of people who love and support Catholic education. During this beautiful evening, we celebrate the unsung heroes of our Catholic schools and to promote Catholic education. I am thankful for the goodness and generosity of all those in attendance.

Also, the evening is an opportunity to raise funds for tuition assistance in our Catholic schools. There are many families who rely on tuition assistance to be able to give their children a Catholic education. We don’t want finances to be a barrier for families to seek out a Catholic school education.

Editor: What is your advice to families who are exploring Catholic education?

Bishop Vásquez: I encourage families to speak to other families who have a child or children enrolled in Catholic schools already. I also encourage families to visit our Catholic schools. Take a tour and ask about all the opportunities that Catholic schools provide. Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities of what you could possibly give your child in educating them in one of our Catholic schools.

Our Catholic schools have always excelled in academics. But more importantly, our students experience God in our Catholic schools. Students pray together, they celebrate the Eucharist, they celebrate the sacraments. They are taught Catholic beliefs and Gospel values. I firmly believe that Catholic schools are the best way to educate our children and they are a blessing for all families.

Editor: What sets our Catholic school teachers apart from other educators?

Bishop Vásquez: Our Catholic school faculty and staff members are such a blessing for Catholic education. As I visit our Catholic schools, I see wonderful interaction between our students and their teachers. Our Catholic school educators love the church, they love children, and they continue to sacrifice themselves knowing that teaching our young people is not just a job, it is a ministry. They are passionate about educating our young people in the faith. Our Catholic school teachers are stellar, and I am thankful for their dedication to making sure our students receive an excellent education.

Editor: What is your prayer for our Catholic school students and faculty?

Bishop Vásquez: I pray that all of us will value the gift of Catholic schools. With God’s help, may we continue to strengthen our schools so that more of our children will have the opportunity to benefit from Catholic education. May our Catholic schools continue to give hope and bring joy to our young people. Amen.


Catholic school statistics

19 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin

5,303 students are enrolled

42 National Merit Scholars

36% of students receive tuition assistance

$7 million awarded in financial aid

$35 million offered to graduates in scholarships


Visit csdatx.org for more information about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin.