Mr. VITTER. Mr. President today, I would like to recognize and honor the valuable contributions of Catholic schools in educating our young people throughout our great Nation. This year from January 29 to February 5, we will celebrate Catholic Schools Week to recognize the exceptional work of Catholic education programs across the country.
Our Nation's Catholic schools have received international praise for academic excellence and have provided students with lessons that extend far beyond the classroom. These schools have continued to impart comprehensive curriculums that emphasize moral, intellectual, and physical development in young people.
In Louisiana, our Catholic schools maintain high academic standards, foster a healthy learning environment for students, and encourage family involvement in the ongoing education of children.
Today, more than two million students attend Catholic schools in the United States, and Catholic schools nationally graduate 99 percent of students with more than 97 percent pursuing college degrees.
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, ``Education is one of the most important ways by which the Church fulfills its commitment to the dignity of the person and building of community. Community is central to education ministry, both as a necessary condition and an ardently desired goal. The educational efforts of the Church, therefore, must be directed to forming persons-in-community; for the education of the individual Christian is important not only to his solitary destiny, but also the destinies of the many communities in which he lives.''
This statement not only stresses the importance of education as part of the mission of the Catholic Church, but also the importance of community and schools in shaping our young people as they go out in to the world to become valuable members of society and their community.
This week, we recognize the students, their families, teachers, administrators, all of our parish leaders, and our communities for their efforts to support our Catholic schools and continued achievement towards the education of our young people.