Catholic tradition and academic excellence in a community grounded in faith.
Letter from Mary Fiala, Superintendent of Schools
Welcome to our Catholic Schools, a ministry of the Diocese of Youngstown in which we share in the evangelizing mission of the Church. We work to build the kingdom of God through nurturing faith, inspiring learning, fostering service, and forming leaders to serve the common good.
One of the ways in which our schools bring the church’s evangelizing mission to life is by integrating our faith within the education of the whole person. The success of Catholic schools in handing on the faith, generation after generation, is a bright light in the history of the Church in the United States. In our Catholic schools, a young person can foster a personal relationship with Jesus Christ on a daily basis. Our schools are unapologetically Catholic environments led by pastors, principals and teachers who bear witness to the Gospel every day. In our Catholic schools, we evangelize and we form disciples. Our schools have educated millions of young people through the years, partnering with families, whom the Church acknowledges are the primary educators of their children.
Our philosophy of care for the whole child nurtures and sustains the unique God-given gifts of every student to enable each one to pursue and strengthen the Kingdom of God. Our whole child approach integrates Catholic doctrine, prayer, sacraments, and moral decision-making with academic achievement and emotional and physical health. Catholic schools prepare students for success in further education, a productive career, community leadership, and eternal life with God.
I invite you to visit our schools and see the joyful communities of faith and learning for yourselves.
Office of Catholic School’s Mission Statement
As a mission of the Diocesan Church and the local parish communities, and in partnership with the family, Diocese of Youngstown Catholic Schools provide an education through which the rich tradition and truth of the Catholic Church are handed on, lived, and fostered. Children and young people are, in a unique way, prepared to participate in the life of the Church and society through a commitment to faith, self, lifelong learning, social justice, and service to the local and global church and community.
Vision of the Catholic Schools
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Youngstown are valued for their clear Catholic identity, academic excellence, safe environments, and ability to inspire passion for learning and service within every student. Our philosophy of care for the whole child (cura personalis) will nurture and sustain the unique God-given gifts of every student to enable each one to pursue and strengthen the Kingdom of God.
History of the Catholic Schools
The roots of Catholic School education in the Diocese of Youngstown can be traced back to the same location at which the First Sacred Liturgy was celebrated in 1812. The remote Community of St. Paul a mile or so from where the town of Dungannon developed was the site of Daniel McAllister’s cabin, the gathering place for the early Catholic immigrants to attend a mass offered by Father Edward Fenwick. Those same immigrants eventually constructed a small church on the site and named it for St. Paul. By the time Dungannon village had been plotted out and the cornerstone of St. Philip Neri had been laid (1846) the St. Paul congregation had already begun making bricks for the construction of a Catholic School. They were so committed to the idea of Catholic School Education that, as they ceased operation of the old St. Paul site and migrated up to Dungannon and St. Philip Neri, they hauled the bricks with them. Even though the bricks were deteriorated the hope of a Catholic School was not diminished.
As it happened, by persistence of the St. Paul/St. Philip Neri congregation, a Catholic School opened 1855. St. Philip Neri however is not listed as the first Catholic School in the Youngstown Diocese. That honor belongs to St. Joseph Randolph, established in 1832. St. John, Canton (1845) and St. Mary Massillon (1848) must also be recognized among the earliest of Diocesan Catholic Schools. This cluster of parish schools share a distinction of having been founded prior to the decrees of the 1852 Plenary Council at Baltimore. Flowing from Baltimore was the national wave of Catholic School establishments that came in conformity to the directions of Chapter 9 of those first decrees that declared that every parish should build a Catholic School.
The early parishes and pastoral leadership of the Diocese of Youngstown, especially the community in which the first liturgy was celebrated in that log cabin, deserve credit for their vision, diligence and dedication to the Idea of Catholic School Education. Nearly two centuries have passed since the Community of St. Paul started making bricks but their labor lives on in the children and families of the schools of the Diocese of Youngstown.
It is certain that Catholic School Education in the Youngstown Diocese will move into its third century keeping true to its theological, philosophical and professional foundations. Just as certain is that our Catholic Schools will embrace the challenges and opportunities of changing governance models, cooperative initiatives, technology and advancements in the art and science of instruction. The heritage, parental and pastoral of dedication, and perseverance in the name of Catholic School Education will continue to serve our Church in the Youngstown Diocese.