Cardinal Mooney Bulletin for January 31, 2021
From The President’s Desk
Let us remember Cardinal Mooney’s mission as we begin Catholic Schools week
Two weeks ago, we laid out a time frame for re-enrollment. Thank you to the many who have already re-enrolled for the 21-22 academic year.
The news continues to track COVID cases, public trust, and the perceived impact of both on quality education. I’m proud of our faculty, staff, and students for their courage, perseverance, and achievements — evidenced by second quarter honor roll, success of Speech and Debate, and with more students returning for an in-person experience.
Thank you to those who responded to our survey. Cardinal Mooney must emerge from the post-pandemic world stronger and smarter. The reality is we need to improve quality while we continue to be good stewards. We need to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace and make Cardinal Mooney a destination institution. Our Board of Directors have entrusted school principal Dr. Mary Anne Beiting and I with the task of leading substantive conversations and working with groups on how Cardinal Mooney can differentiate itself and lead in providing quality college preparatory education in the Mahoning Valley. Our administration, working with faculty, has begun planning for next school year. There is a lot of work to be done, and I acknowledge while this is an exciting opportunity for me and others, it can be unnerving for some. My charge is not to create anxiety but to inspire us to be better — and to do better. Your responses to our survey support that direction.
Cardinal Mooney is stronger today than a year ago, but the reality is, like others, we face declining potential student population and increased competition amid a flat economy. This is not something COVID has caused, but COVID has confirmed what we already knew. When you consider what is happening in the area and around the nation, as I have observed in an earlier bulletin, there has never been a more pivotal time for this most important institution.
COVID has altered the national landscape to a degree unseen in our lifetime. Meanwhile, the nature of what is expected of us and what we are capable of, continues to evolve. In an era when the sum of world’s knowledge can fit in an iPhone, parents throughout the area are questioning remote learning.
In August, Cardinal Mooney took a different path. In the realization that technology allows us the ability to pivot toward online education if necessary, we were opened up to the idea that our contributions become more vital, not less, in an information and knowledge age. Heavy investment in our tech infrastructure made us agile, but it also revealed the fact that we are valued because we have values. We are valued because, even if schools can go remote, we hold onto the knowledge that students still need thought, vision, reason, music, poetry, and art. We are valued because we offer a treasured glimpse into our human core. We open windows to creativity … and we offer new truths for students who come to us likely never having seen discovery with their own eyes.
We opened in-person last August in a time when there are many who believe Catholic schools are “out of step” … out of step with those wanting to build a new social order … out of step with those who believe consumers have no rights in the educational marketplace, and that there is no room for religion. There are forces that believe the false notion that religion is not a serious intellectual approach to life.
Contrary to our worldview, there is an idea wedded to the doctrine that the test of truth is its ability to win acceptance by the majority. Economically it is egalitarian; politically it is majoritarian; emotionally it is infatuated with the State. Educationally, it trains for the above.
From the moment Pope John Paul II stepped out onto the balcony in St. Peter’s Square, he defined our mission as Catholics by proclaiming “Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ. Open up to his saving power the confines of the State, open up economic and political systems, the vast empires of culture, civilization and development … Be not afraid!”
As we head into Catholic Schools Week, we celebrate and acknowledge that being “out of step” means we do not leave behind the heart and the self and the soul. In acknowledging and celebrating Catholic Schools week, we recommit to forming students in their faith, their intellect, and their imagination.
We are hosting a second Open House on Feb. 7th, please join us by inviting your neighbors and friends to visit and to learn why Cardinal Mooney is more vital today than ever.