Vincent Anch is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.
In a recent visit to a fifth-grade classroom at Christ the King School in Kansas City, Kansas, Archbishop Naumann spoke about vocations.
He asked the students to consider where God might be calling them, and got some enthusiastic responses: priest, swim coach, martial arts instructor, teacher.
In the course of the conversation, he found that one student had a very specific vocation in mind. A boy near the back of the classroom raised his hand eagerly and said, “I want to be the archbishop!”
The opportunity to dream about vocations — and a future in church leadership — is one of many gifts these students receive in their Catholic school, thanks to the generosity of donors from across the archdiocese.
Christ the King is one of 22 schools in the archdiocese receiving scholarship support from the Catholic Education Foundation.
More than 40 percent of Christ the King students receive a scholarship from one of CEF’s programs.
Across the archdiocese, more than 1,600 students with financial need will receive more than $2.2 million in CEF scholarships this year. The majority of families CEF assists live near or below the federal poverty line, making Catholic education financially impossible without scholarship support.
Each fall, CEF brings together more than 1,300 guests at Gaudeamus (“Let us rejoice”) to celebrate the schools in the archdiocese, while raising funds to support scholarships.
This year’s event will be held Oct. 20 at the Overland Park Convention Center and will honor Christ the King as the recipient of the 2018 Archbishop Naumann CEF School of Excellence Award.
CEF students and families will share their stories, and guests will learn more about the important work our schools are doing throughout northeast Kansas.
This year’s event also will honor Hamp and Nikki Henning and Glenn and Joan Wells as the 2018 “Michael and Patty Morrisey Angels Among Us” honorees.
Both the Hennings and the Wellses are longtime supporters of Catholic education. Hamp Henning served as chair of CEF’s board of directors from 2013 to 2015, and Joan Wells served as board chair from 2015 to 2017.
The dedication both families have shown to making Catholic education financially feasible for children in need will have a lasting impact on our archdiocese.
As we gather, we have much to celebrate: nearly 1,000 donors supporting more than 1,600 scholarships, leadership from highly committed families like the Hennings and the Wellses, and incredible things happening in our Catholic schools — including, perhaps, the formation of future bishops!
We hope you can join us to rejoice with our schools, our students and all the angels among us who make it possible.