Catholic school communities throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are marking the 50th anniversary of the national observance of Catholic Schools Week (CSW) now through Feb. 3.

The week is a celebration of the Christ-centered, faith-based education that students receive in the 102 elementary, 15 secondary, and 3 special education schools in the five-county metropolitan area comprising the Archdiocese. This year’s event theme is “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community.”

In addition, each day of Catholic Schools Week focuses on a specific theme. For 2024, school communities will reflect on the importance of parishes, communities, students, faculty, staff and volunteers in educating youth, celebrating the nation, as well as the importance of vocations.

The City of Philadelphia historically has been a cradle of Catholic education, with the nation’s first parochial school opening in 1782 at St. Mary Parish in Philadelphia. Between 1830 and 1851, Bishop Francis Kenrick initiated a drive to create a wider network of Catholic schools. St. John Neumann continued these efforts, overseeing the opening of 17 elementary schools in the city between 1851 and 1860.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese will host a keystone event for the celebration of this national observance Thurs., Feb. 1. Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez will host a service initiative at Archbishop Ryan High School. The event will feature participation from over 300 students representing Archdiocesan high schools, parish and regional elementary schools, and schools of special education. Young people will package 2,500 relief bags for individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity who are served by Nutritional Development Services’ Community Food Program. Handwritten notes with prayerful encouragement will also be included in the bags.

Additional events for Catholic School Week are as follows:

Mon., Jan. 29

Saints Philip and James School:  721 East Lincoln Highway; Exton, PA 19341 
8:30 a.m.: Saints Philip and James School will celebrate the nation with a Prayer Service to honor those who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans and those currently serving in all branches of the military will be in attendance. Students will perform patriotic musical selections aligned with their current social studies curriculum.

Good Shepherd Regional Catholic School: 835 North Hills Avenue; Ardsley, PA 19038
9:00 a.m.:
 A thank you Mass and breakfast for community heroes and volunteers will be hosted by Good Shepherd Regional Catholic School. Local first responders as well as community volunteers will be honored during a school Mass at  Queen of Peace Parish Church. A community breakfast will immediately follow at the school.

Saint Mary Interparochial School:  5th & Locust Streets; Philadelphia PA 19106
9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.:
 The celebration begins with the Annual Catholic Schools Week Mass at Old St. Joseph’s Church. Immediately following Mass, at approximately 10:20 a.m., Meghan Rakus, First Grade teacher, will receive special recognition from FACTS. Ms. Rakus will be honored as a national FACTS Teacher Innovation Awardee. This distinction recognizes exceptional educators who create lasting educational impact through grassroots innovation in their schools. Also at that time, several sixth-grade students will be recognized for their academic achievements with induction into the National Junior Honors Society.

Saint Katherine of Siena School:  9738 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19114
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.:
 Students in 5th-8th grade at Saint Katherine of Siena School will spend an hour helping to beautify their surrounding neighborhood. Students in Kindergarten through 4th grade will help to clean indoors around classrooms and shared hallways to demonstrate care for their peers in the school community.

Archbishop John Carroll High School:  211 Matson Ford Road; Radnor, PA 19087
3:15 p.m.–4:00 p.m.:
Students from Archbishop John Carroll High School and Saint Katherine School of Special Education will welcome Archbishop Wood High School and Our Lady of Confidence School of Special Education students to an Interscholastic Unified Sports Bocce Match. These two teams are currently the only Catholic Unified Bocce Ball Teams in the state of Pennsylvania.

Tues., Jan. 30

Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls:  1000 West Lycoming St; Philadelphia, PA 19140
8:30 a.m.:  The school community will host an Alumnae Appreciation Day with a Mass and special for all of its graduates. Additionally, roses will be handed out to alumnae who are now serving the school community as faculty and administrators at Little Flower.

Saint Luke Catholic School:  11321 Academy Road; Philadelphia, PA 19154
1:30 p.m.: In December, Students at Saint Luke Catholic School were surveyed to choose a school-wide fundraiser for the school to purchase classroom whiteboards.  Students in Pre-K through 8th grade voted to hold a carnival game style fundraiser. Raffle tickets will be sold to throw pies at seven chosen faculty members.

Wed., Jan. 31

Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School: 405 Allendale Road; King of Prussia, PA 19406
9:15 a.m.: 
Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School will hold its annual Red, White, and Blue Mass honoring those who serve the community and the nation. Immediately following Mass, the school community will host a breakfast for local first responders and veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Approximately 50 local first responders, active duty service men and women, and veterans are expected to attend.

Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional School: 3233 East Thompson St; Philadelphia, PA 19134
10:30 a.m.: 
In keeping with Wednesday’s daily CSW theme of “Celebrating our Nation,” Our Lady of Port Richmond will hold a school wide assembly featuring veterans of the United States Armed Forces who will speak with students about their service to the nation. Students in PreK 4 will sing “God Bless America.”

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul:  18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
11:00 a.m.:
 Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez will be the celebrant of the Installation Mass, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, for  Roman Catholic High School’s  15th Head of School and 6th President, John A. Prendergast, a member of the Roman Catholic High School Class of 2008.  Father Joseph W. Bongard, Roman Catholic High School Class of 1977 and past President, will be the homilist and concelebrant.

Conwell-Egan Catholic High School:  611 Wistar Road; Fairless Hills, PA 19030
5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m.: Holy Family Regional Catholic School  is partnering with  Conwell-Egan Catholic High School to share STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, English, Art, and Mathematics) initiatives and activities and will hold an “Evening of STREAM” during Catholic Schools Week.  A tour of the CEC Engineering Lab will also be available with students demonstrating many of the robotics and other features of the lab that they utilize during the academic year.

Thurs., Feb. 1

Archbishop Ryan High School:  11201 Academy Road; Philadelphia, PA  19154
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 
Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez  will host a service initiative at  Archbishop Ryan High School. This is the keystone event for the celebration of Catholic Schools Week in the Archdiocese and will feature participation from over 300 students representing Archdiocesan high schools, parish and regional elementary schools, and schools of special education.

These young people will combine efforts to package 2,500 relief bags with non-perishable items for individuals experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity who are served by Nutritional Development Services’ Community Food Program. Handwritten notes with prayerful encouragement will also be included in the bags.

Fri., Feb. 2

Saint Agnes Church:  233 West Gay Street; West Chester, PA 19380
10:00 a.m.: 
Led by parish priests, the students, faculty, staff, and administrators of  Saint Agnes School will participate in a Solemn Eucharistic Procession and Mass to mark the Universal Church’s celebration of the Eucharist as well the conclusion of Catholic Schools Week.

Sat., Feb. 3

Resurrection Regional Catholic School:  2020 Shelmire Avenue; Philadelphia, PA 19152
1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.: Resurrection Regional Catholic School  will host its Inaugural Asian Lunar New Year Festival.  This event is open to the general public. It will include cultural displays and activities including calligraphy and origami as well as food stations with Asiatic delicacies. All will be staffed by Resurrection Regional School students, faculty, and staff, the Home & School Association, and Resurrection alumni who are in high school.  During the event a presentation by the University of Pennsylvania Lion Dance Performers will also take place.