A new school year has begun. But not for all. You may have read in a September 5 article in The New York Times that this summer throughout the United States some 150 Catholic schools were forced to close.
In the New York archdiocese, 20 schools did not open their doors. Their halls are silent, no joyful din of children. In Boston, the archdiocese has had to close nine schools so far, with about two dozen others on a “watch list.” The Catholic school system has been facing overwhelming challenges for decades. Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year was at 1.7 million, down from 5 million 50 years ago. Many hard-working, lower- and middle-class families simply cannot afford to pay public school taxes and Catholic school tuition. This summer, in many cases financial difficulties could not be overcome with COVID-19 becoming the nail in the coffin.