5 reasons to remember a parochial school in your will

3 mins read
Catholic schools
A fourth-grade teacher at Sts. Philip and James School in St. James, N.Y., reviews an assignment with a student in 2020. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

“Education cannot be neutral,” Pope Francis said early on in his pontificate. “It is either positive or negative; either it enriches or it impoverishes; either it enables a person to grow or it lessens, even corrupts him.” Today, as our world is awash with increasing information, the formation Catholic education offers is more critical than ever before. A Catholic education prizes wisdom and the formation of the human person. The integration of what’s being learned into a coherent vision of the world, coupled with moral development that instills virtue, confronts the challenges of secularism and offers a way forward for our future generations.

The news of “the largest single investment” in prekindergarten-to-grade-12 Catholic education in history, therefore, comes as an especially joyful story. The Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation announced June 12 a $150 million donation to the Chicago-based Big Shoulders Fund to support Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary, Indiana. This unprecedented gift aims to improve the schools’ quality, accessibility and sustainability, setting them on a path to becoming the highest-performing network of Catholic schools in the United States.

By remembering parish schools, Catholics can help ensure that these vital institutions continue to thrive, transforming generations to come.

This historic act of generosity serves as a powerful reminder of the crucial role that legacy giving can play in securing the future of our parish schools. By remembering parish schools, Catholics can help ensure that these vital institutions continue to thrive, transforming generations to come. Here are five compelling reasons to remember these cherished institutions in your estate planning.

1. Support faith formation

Catholic schools are unique in their mission to integrate faith with education. They provide an environment in which spiritual growth and moral development are as essential as academic learning. By remembering a Catholic school, especially a parish school, in your will, you help ensure the cultivation of faith, guiding students to become compassionate and morally grounded individuals. When faith is the priority of a Catholic school, students (and their families) will practice their faith. By supporting faith formation in Catholic schools, we tap into the evangelical potential of the classroom.

2. Enhance academic excellence

Catholic schools are known for their commitment to academic excellence. However, maintaining high standards requires continuous investment in new educational programs that offer lively and dynamic ways to engage Catholic history, tradition and culture. By including a parish school in your will, you provide essential funds that can enhance the academic experience for students and attract new families to enroll.

3. Upgrade facilities

Modern educational facilities are crucial for providing environments conducive to learning. Many parish schools operate in aging buildings that need upgrades. From new roofs to updates to meet fire codes, infrastructure upgrades are critical to keep Catholic schools open. Contributions from your estate can be used for building improvements, technological upgrades and renovations that make for premier facilities.

4. Invest in teachers

Faculty and staff are the heart of any educational institution. Attracting and retaining high-quality educators and administrators — who are also faithful Catholics with knowledge of Church teachings — is essential for maintaining the excellence of Catholic education. As secular culture continues to grow more divergent from — and in some cases hostile to — Catholic teaching, training a corps of teachers who can offer compelling presentations of Catholic social teaching, critically engage gender ideology and make the pro-life argument will be more difficult and require more investment. Your legacy can help fund professional development opportunities, competitive salaries and other incentives that support the men and women of faith and integrity we want to be role models for our children. This investment ensures that students benefit from dedicated and highly qualified educators.

5. Strengthen your community

Parish schools are integral to the broader parish community. Supporting the school strengthens the local community, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose among parishioners. A vibrant parish school is one more reason for a family to be involved in a local parish. When you include a parish school in your will, you help build a stronger, more vibrant community centered around your parish church.

Including a Catholic school in your will is a powerful way to leave a lasting legacy. Supporting a Catholic school is an all-too-often overlooked investment in the Church and in a local Catholic community. A legacy gift to a Catholic school honors your commitment to the Catholic Faith and has the potential to affect countless lives for the better. Such gifts show gratitude for the priests and religious sisters and brothers whose teaching and witness to the Faith helped form you. This meaningful contribution ensures that your faith and dedication to education continue to influence and inspire for generations to come.

Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board

The Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board consists of Father Patrick Briscoe, OP, Gretchen R. Crowe, Matthew Kirby, Scott P. Richert and York Young.