HONORING CONTRIBUTIONS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS -- (House of Representatives - February 01, 2005)
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Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time and commend the distinguished Chair of the committee and the gentleman from California (Mr. George Miller), ranking member, for bringing this very important resolution to the floor today.
I am proud to rise to recognize the vital contributions of America's Catholic schools in our country, and I want to say right off from the start what my bias is in this area. My husband and I and our five children have attended over 100 years of Catholic school education, over 100 years of Catholic school education. There are about 6 years of Episcopal in there over and above, but 100 years of Catholic school education. So, needless to say, we worship at the shrine of the Catholic educational system in our country.
There are nearly 8,000 Catholic schools in America, and they educate nearly 2.5 million students every year. We solute Catholic schools for their dedication to educating the next generation of Americans and for their success in doing so. The education Catholic schools provide is exceptional and a true asset to our educational system. Catholic schools contribute not only to a student's intellectual development, and they do that very well, but also to a student's ethical and spiritual development. In short, they have a value-added component, values.
The theme of this year's Catholic Schools Week says it well: ``Faith in every student.'' That means faith in the promise of every child and the promise to deepen every child's faith. As a devout Roman Catholic and a product of Catholic schools, as I said, 100 years my husband and I and our five children, this resolution is personal to me. I rely every day on the values, the confidence, and the sense of responsibility that were deepened for me by a Catholic education and being raised in a family that was the product of Catholic education as well. I know that many Members can make that statement.
My Catholic education helped me appreciate the gift of faith and the conviction that we all contain a spark of divinity and to recognize that spark of divinity in every person we encounter. It nurtured in me a commitment to community and to public service.
The Bible teaches us that to minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us. That lesson should inform every debate we have here in Congress, whether it is education, health care, job creation, or the budget, which should be a statement of our national values.
As President Kennedy said so eloquently in his inaugural address, ``With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking his blessing and his help but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own.''
Our Catholic schools prepare generation after generation for that critical task, and they deserve our national gratitude.
I join my colleagues in thanking all of the teachers, parents, and students at Catholic schools who make our country better.
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