PHOENIX (Jan. 27, 2016) — Thousands of Catholic school students, educators and families will rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza on Wednesday, Feb. 3, to demonstrate their support and appreciation for school choice legislation. The noontime event will feature the Catholic bishops of Arizona, public officials, and performances by Catholic schools from all over Arizona.

The rally is just one way that Arizona’s 21,000 Catholic school students and the community participate in the national Catholic Schools Week celebration, which concludes Feb. 6.

Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. The theme for 2016 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Schools observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the Church, communities and nation.

“Catholic Schools Week is a time for our families and educators to celebrate the integration of our faith with our high academic standards,” said MaryBeth Mueller, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Phoenix. “Our schools and students are committed to service, and make a significant contribution to Arizona and America.”

“We are most grateful to the Arizona Legislature for helping make school choice a reality, especially for those less fortunate, and this rally is way to express our appreciation,” said Ron Johnson, Executive Director of the Arizona Catholic Conference.

Prior to the rally, Catholic school students from all over the state will gather at 10 a.m. for Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, 6351 N. 27th Ave. in Phoenix.

More than 14,000 students currently attend one of the Diocese of Phoenix’s 28 Catholic elementary schools, six high schools and 28 preschools throughout the Diocese of Phoenix. Students receive a rigorous, faith-filled education that prepares them for the challenges of higher education and a competitive world. An estimated 99 percent of students graduate from high school; 97 percent go on to attend college.

Catholic Education Arizona is the largest provider of scholarships to low-income families attending private schools. Since its inception in 1998, the generosity of local individual and corporate contributors has allowed Catholic Education Arizona to continually increase scholarship funding for Catholic schools, beginning with students of families with the greatest financial need.

This year $14.7 million in contributions were made to assist families seeking a Catholic education for their students. Nearly $20 million in requests for assistance went unmet. To date over $143 million in tuition support has been awarded through 93,100 scholarships to lower-income families with qualified financial need.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was established Dec. 2, 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Led by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, more than 1.1 million Catholics make this diverse, vibrant and faith-filled diocese their home.

Media: MaryBeth Mueller, superintendent of Catholic Schools, and Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, will be available for interviews. Additionally, there will be numerous opportunities for colorful, engaging coverage at the noontime rally Feb. 3 at Wesley Bolin Plaza.

Media Contact
Robert DeFrancesco
Director of Communications
(602) 354-2130