More than 450 Catholic school leaders and faculty begin new academic year with celebration Mass

Our Catholic schools are eager to welcome students and families to the new academic year!

Watch the video at this link to see back-to-school greetings from school leaders.

As part of their preparations for the new school year, more than 450 Catholic school clergy, faculty and staff members gathered for Mass on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The alliance of 31 Catholic elementary and high schools throughout the Diocese of Grand Rapids, along with Aquinas College, were represented. Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew by Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, bishop of Grand Rapids.

“We gratefully anticipate a fourth consecutive year of enrollment growth; our pastors, boards, principals and teachers have been working hard to welcome new students,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools. “We are also excited about the great initiatives happening through our strategic plan, ‘Catholic Schools: Bridging Faith and Future,’ now entering its first full year of implementation. Initiatives this year include the adoption of a new, original curriculum, and the opening of St. Robert Catholic School in Ada.”

The new curriculum is rooted in our Catholic faith, is interculturally appropriate for our diocese, and is based on educational best practices. It was crafted through input from hundreds of diocesan teachers and administrators referencing primary source material and reviewed by local theology experts, including diocesan priests and Aquinas College professors. Bishop Walkowiak and Superintendent Faber completed the final review. The new curriculum is available to read at

St. Robert Catholic School is an independent Catholic school opening with 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old preschool and kindergarten, as well as with before- and after-school child care for their students. Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the school will add one grade per year through eighth grade. In this diocese, St. Robert is the first Catholic school to open in more than 50 years where one did not exist previously.

Before Mass, educators enjoyed an inspiring keynote presentation from international speaker Jonathan Doyle, author of "Tools & Fuels: How Catholic Teachers Can Become Saints, Beat Burnout and Save the World." See a recording of his presentation in the video at this link.

See photos from the events in the gallery  at this link.

The first day of classes at most schools is Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Learn more about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids at

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are an alliance of 31 vibrant learning communities (26 elementary and five high schools) serving more than 6,600 preschool through 12th grade students in seven counties. Our schools inspire young people to grow in Catholic faith and grace, achieve more in school and life, develop creativity and character, and feel welcomed and cherished for their unique gifts. We partner with parents to awaken the whole child to a world of light and life — that grows better and brighter when children reach their potential.

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