Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

'Educate, Inspire And Proclaim' Meet Real Life

Tim Lilley

Our Catholic schools rock!

Over the past month or two, we have been consistently reminded of how successful our 26 diocesan schools are at achieving the goals stated in this year’s Catholic Schools Office theme: “Educate. Inspire. Proclaim.”

Here are some highlights – not all of them happy – that our students and their families, faculties and staffs have been a part of during that time.

  • Mater Dei High School’s team won the 2017 University of Evansville’s High School Changemaker Challenge. They did it by conceiving and creating “Piece-by-Peace,”a board game that focuses on bullying. Players learn about different types of bullying and how they can respond; they also learn many facts about the many angry faces of bullying. These students hit a grand slam with “Piece-by-Peace.”
  • Reitz Memorial High School’s extended family came together to mourn teacher and coach Dylan Barnes, who died unexpectedly. The candlelight vigil in the circle of the high school was moving and emotional – and a couple days later, every available space inside St. Benedict Cathedral was filled for Mr. Barnes’ funeral.
  • Mater Dei students won team and individual state championships in speech competitions, showcasing a different kind of collective stellar performance from those that our four high schools’ athletic teams routinely display in competition.
  • Students from Evansville-area Catholic schools went to the National Archery in the Schools Program State Championships in Indianapolis and won … in a pretty big way. NASP has been alive and well in many of our schools for several years, but we have seen recent expansion to new schools – mostly on Evansville’s west side. Those young archers who are new to competition really didn’t perform like they were intimidated by a trip to the state finals.
  • Reitz Memorial’s Academic Decathlon Team won another state championship and will be competing for national honors in the near future. This is a consistently strong program that provides great exposure to the academic side of Catholic education in our diocese.

What amazing accomplishments – all of them in the “sweet spot” of the Catholic Schools Office’s 2016-17 theme.


Clearly, all of these students are receiving a strong, outstanding and faith-filled education. They are learning so many things on so many different levels; and it shows in the bullet points above.


Parents, teachers and staffs are inspiring our Catholic school students to excel in many different ways. Creative thinking led to “Piece-by-Peace.” A strong work ethic led to the speech, archery and academic-decathlon performances. Finally, the emotional outpouring of love and support for Mr. Barnes and his family clearly reflect a teacher and coach who inspired everyone he came into contact with.


Nothing serves to proclaim Catholic education better than the kinds of things highlighted in this column. On a daily basis, everyone who is a part of the Diocese of Evansville’s Catholic-school family across 12 counties proclaims a Christ-centered approach to every element of life. Bishop Charles C. Thompson speaks regularly about the next for that focus.

As you can see, our Catholic-school family is listening. It is a blessing and an honor to salute them.