Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.

Parishes should take over where Casinos leave off

A shortened version of this article was printed in the Letters to the Editor of the Western Catholic Reporter, October 4 issue.

So everyone is in an uproar now over the Archbishop's edict, that we put an end to supporting our Catholic institutions with high stakes gaming revenues, particularly Casinos. And not surprisingly, concern over our Catholic Schools is ringing the greatest alarm.

Many are scared that Catholic schools won't be able to compete with its public school counterparts, particularly in areas deemed "non-essential" by the government, but that, let's face it, ARE essential - such as phys. ed. equipment, smart boards, field trips, and so on. They certainly ARE essential, as important parts of fully integrated learning in the modern world.

So people are angry, angry because they're afraid. Doom and gloom, they forecast, predicting an end to Catholic Education in Alberta.

Personally, I choose not to see it that way. Rather, I prefer to see this as an opportunity, to make the relationship between parish and school into a real one.

First of all, I think its a good goal to have, not depending on Casino revenue. Some argue, the only reason we depend on it is because the public schools have access to it. But maybe there's another way for us to meet our financial goals, a way that, shockingly, hasn't occurred to anyone.

I'm surprised that no one from the schools has considered the possibility of connecting with their respective parishes, to ask for financial help. I'm also surprised that it hasn't occurred to anyone from the parishes that we should be involving ourselves in direct funding for our schools.

"But the parish doesn't have any extra money!" most parishes will argue, and accurately so, which demonstrates the real problem - that STEWARDSHIP is yet to take hold in the hearts of Catholics, that loonies and toonies are still thrown into the collection baskets.

And such fundraising responsibilities may need to be coordinated by the Archdiocese itself, with the same commitment that it has had to the Cornerstone Campaign. Surely Catholic Education of our children is as high a priority as Newman and the Seminary are.

Fact is, if these events were happening to our Protestant sisters and brothers, it would be a non-issue for them, because they already fund their endeavors abundantly. This is the mentality we need to adopt ourselves.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our people used our parish organizations to take responsibility for the financial needs of our Catholic schools? How much closer a bond would there be between parish and school if we saw them taking care of each other in a REAL TANGIBLE way? How much more "Catholic" would we really be if we did so?

This kind of coordinated effort, to get behind our Catholic schools, and put our money where our mouths are, this to me is a golden opportunity - to unite our local Church like it never has been before, and to live out the true intention of stewardship - imitating God by taking responsibility for each other.