Does your local Catholic school participate in National Catholic Schools Week?
A fun annual event designed to celebrate and draw attention to private Catholic education in the United States, Catholic Schools Week is a fantastic opportunity for a little faith-boosting, spirit-filled fun during the dreary winter months.
After all, there’s more to school than just academic excellence, athletics, or high test scores (though these factors are important).
Catholic education provides young people with the opportunity and example needed to foster their Catholic identity and create strong connections with friends, family, and community members as well.
Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, parent, or volunteer looking for Catholic Schools Week activities and ideas, or you’d simply like to learn more about this fun initiative, here’s everything you need to know about National Catholic Schools Week!
Scroll Down to Find:
- What is Catholic Schools Week?
- When is Catholic Schools Week 2024?
- The 2024 Catholic Schools Week Themes
- Where to Find the National Catholic Schools Week Logo
- Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive Catholic Schools Week Ideas and Activities
- Catholic Schools Week Bulletin Board Ideas
- National Catholic Schools Week Prayers
What is Catholic Schools Week?
National Catholic Schools Week is an annual, weeklong event that celebrates Catholic schools and education.
Since 1974, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) has facilitated this annual celebration, which typically includes Masses, open houses, fun theme days, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members.
When is Catholic Schools Week 2024?
National Catholic Schools Week begins the last Sunday in January and lasts one week. This year, the dates of National Catholic School Week are Sunday, January 28 – Saturday, February 3, 2024.
What are the 2024 Catholic Schools Week Themes?
The official Catholic Schools Week Theme for 2024 is “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community.”
The National Catholic Educational Association has announced the annual theme will remain the same from 2023 to 2026.
In addition to the annual theme, participating Roman Catholic schools and parishes are invited to participate in daily themed days. This year’s suggested themes are:
- Sunday, January 28: Celebrating Your Parish
- Monday, January 29: Celebrating Your Community
- Tuesday, January 30: Celebrating Your Students
- Wednesday, January 31: Celebrating the Nation
- Thursday, February 1: Celebrating Vocations
- Friday, February 2: Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers
- Saturday, February 3: Celebrating Families
Where to Find the National Catholic Schools Week Logo
The official National Catholic Schools Week logo looks like an overhead view of five people hugging in a circle around a cross. It can be downloaded from the NCEA website here.
Related: Where is Lent in the Bible?
Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive Catholic Schools Week Ideas and Activities
While researching Catholic Schools Week ideas can be a lot of fun, you’ll want to be careful not to go overboard when planning your daily Catholic Schools Week activities.
For large families, families with working parents, and families without extra disposable income, “fun” activities can quickly become overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive for busy parents who have to rush to (multiple!) stores at the last minute to find suitable t-shirts, pajamas, socks, themed costumes, and more for each of their children to wear or bring.
Be mindful of the needs and potentially limited resources of your students’ families by limiting necessary purchases, giving plenty of advance notice, keeping themes open-ended, keeping extra materials on hand in the office, and repeating themes year after year so students are more likely to have any necessary materials or outfits on hand.
Here are 20 fun, easy, and inexpensive Catholic Schools Week ideas, activities, and traditions you might consider:
- Host an open house for friends, family, and community members
- Host a Catholic School Week poster contest with prizes
- Host a students-vs-staff sports game or trivia contest
- Collect donations for a local cause (canned foods, baby products, etc)
- Write letters or cards to those in the military, local hospitals, or those who are homebound
- Learn about new saints each day (over the announcements)
- Pair older and younger students for reading, prayer, or service projects
- Start a pen pal program with a Catholic school in another state or country
- Have a classroom door decorating contest
- Dress as a community helper day
- Pray the Rosary together as a class or school
- Celebrate with a crazy sock day
- Celebrate with a crazy hair day
- Wear school colors or spirit gear
- Invite local Catholic leaders in for a short faith-based presentation
- Write a letter to your future self (mail at the end of the year)
- Write a letter to a mentor or role model you admire
- Arrange a Eucharistic procession throughout the school
- Have periodic dance party breaks throughout the day
- Dress like a superhero day
- Have cookies or donuts after Mass
- Attend adoration or daily Mass
- Research the latest Catholic news and how it affects your local Diocese
- Volunteer service hours at a local charity
- Host a raffle with a fun prize!
Catholic Schools Week Bulletin Board Ideas
For teachers, assistants, and volunteers looking for Catholic Schools Week bulletin board ideas, here are ten fun and easy ideas you might consider.
Each of these ideas would work well for Catholic elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools alike!
- Highlight your school’s history
- Showcase fun facts about your favorite Saint
- Collect quotes from local Catholic leaders
- Have students share their favorite parts of attending your Catholic school
- Create a “Light of the World” theme with each student’s picture on a lightbulb
- Have students decorate a person-shaped cut-out as their favorite Saint
- Showcase fun facts or talents for each teacher and administrator
- Show off fun (embarrassing!) pictures of teachers and administrators when they were young
- Create a “Making a Difference” theme with each student’s hand traced on cardstock
- Create a “flip to reveal” school history board with fun facts
National Catholic Schools Week Prayers
While there are no official National Catholic Schools Week prayers, some schools enjoy writing their own prayers specifically for the occasion. Here are a few examples from other Catholic organizations you might find helpful.
“Loving God, we come together today to thank you for the gift of Catholic Schools. As we begin to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, help us to be always aware of the blessing of our community and the chance for each of us to be members of it. We thank you for the opportunity to attend a school where we can live out your Gospel, and be shaped as your disciples. Amen.” — Sadlier Religion
You shaped us in your image and likeness
Giving us the gift of intelligence
And the ability to understand the world around us.
Be with us today as we use those gifts to learn and grow.
May all that we do in this classroom be an opportunity to praise You.
St. Hildegard, patron of writers, pray for us.
St. Albert the Great, patron of scientists, pray for us.
St. Barbara, patron of mathematicians, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of students, pray for us.”
“Christ the Teacher, We ask that You bless all those who guide us at school. May they lead us through Your example as a teacher, May they inspire us to follow Your way, And help us to grow in body, mind, and spirit, And may they always trust in the impact they have on the many lives entrusted to their care. We make this prayer in Your Holy Name, Amen.” — Alliance for Catholic Education
Related: 25 Inspiring Verses About Prayer