The spirit of service and giving thrives as part of formation in our Catholic schools

Dr. Joe


by Dr. Joseph Majchrowicz

Northwest Indiana Guest Columnist


      Service….what does it mean? Depending on the context, it’s a word that takes on different meanings.     According to Webster’s Dictionary, service is defined as an act or result of serving, a duty performed, or needs supplied. In an everyday setting, service could be applied at a restaurant, a club, or even a service station. In athletics, service is when a tennis player projects the ball over the net in the direction of his opponent to begin a rally.

      Service in our faith takes on a whole different meaning. Service is of paramount importance as we try to lead our lives in the image and likeness of our Lord. As Catholics, one way we are called to serve is through servant leadership, a concept that can be defined primarily as leading through service to others.    

      During the Second Vatican Council, more than fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII wrote about the importance of the clergy’s role to be servants of the people. He emphasized his belief that the clergy are here to serve. The pope felt the character of service should be deeply engrained in all clergy. 

      Pope Francis echoed those sentiments in Brazil at the 2013 World Youth Day. In his message to the participants, he said that “the life of Jesus is a life for others.” It’s a life of service. Again and again, we can see how important service is to the life of a practicing Catholic. We realize why the Catholic Church has become the leading service provider in the entire world.

      The Catholic dictionary speaks of one’s religious duty and fulfilling one’s moral responsibility to serve the needs of others. If we were put on this earth to know, love, and serve God, then it is imperative that we serve the needs of others, for God exists in each and every one of us. Whether we are students in any of our wonderful Catholic schools or religious education programs, or are adults filling roles in our churches, schools, and communities, we need to continue to seek opportunities to serve.

      As you see, service is at our core as Catholics. There is no better way to form your child in a service mentality than through your local Catholic school. Our schools provide students with multiple service opportunities; I’ve listed just a few examples below. These just scratch the surface!

      – Participate in projects, such as Operation Rice Bowl or the Little Flower initiative

      – Volunteer at local food pantries and soup kitchens

      – Sponsor an Angel Tree or numerous food and clothing drives throughout the year

      – Be involved in disaster relief efforts

      – Visit nursing homes

      The spirit of giving and service is alive and well in our Catholic schools, but service alone is not the only reason to send your children to our Catholic Schools. Still need more reasons to consider a Catholic education? Consider these reasons from the National Catholic Educational Association:

      – We live in difficult times. We need to be reminded now, more than ever, that life on earth is just the beginning. Catholic schools prepare students for eternity, not just the here and now.

      – Our neighbors are in trouble and need help.  As noted earlier, Catholic schools teach the importance of service and social justice better than any other institution on the planet.

      – At times, our economy struggles because of greed and materialism. Catholic schools teach moral values without compromise.

      The reasons are many, so I encourage you to explore and seriously consider a Catholic education for your children. You will not be sorry.

      Happy Catholic Schools Week!

     Dr. Joseph Majchrowicz is the director of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Gary. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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