Some years ago, Sacred Heart School did a survey of its students, asking this question: “What do you like best about your school?” Eighty-five percent declared: “I feel safe here.” On the one hand, that was good to hear; on the other, it was very sad, because it indicated that our dear children did not feel safe in their own neighborhoods.
Children have only one chance to grow up and Camden is not an easy place to do it.
I grew up in a very safe place in Ireland, but I was burdened with a school experience that was mostly miserable because of the severity of physical punishment. I loved learning and hated school. Consequently, it is a great joy to me to see the happy faces of children in Sacred Heart School where they are treated with care and support in an atmosphere of warmth and appreciation.
Sacred Heart School is not only a center of education and development, but a place of prayer, where God is honored, where people are respected and God’s gifts of creation are not taken for granted.
Because all the students in our school are children of God, one can never do enough to educate them to their fullest potential now, and set them on the road to further development. The task this year of raising over 1 million dollars, beyond the tuition the parents pay, is daunting. It is one huge task in a little place in South Camden, NJ, where we, the people of Sacred Heart Church, with many friends and the help of God, struggle to achieve an “impossible task.” But the sweet faces of the children at our red door, trusting in us to keep the school open for them, is a great incentive.
We pray every day for the children that they will be safe, that Sacred Heart School will educate them in spite of the lure and the violence of gangs and drugs in this city.
This is surely one worthy cause in this world. Thanks be to God for our Camden children, for their parents, their teachers, their principal and the entire staff that serves them. God forever bless each one.
Pastor of Sacred Heart Church and School