A Catholic church in Virginia is offering its members $2,000 to move their child out of public school to a Catholic school of their choice.
The Arlington Catholic Herald reports for many years, parishioners at St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Springfield, which has no parochial school, were able to get scholarships to cover the difference between "in parish" and "out of parish" tuition rates at neighboring Catholic schools.
But the church's pastor, Father John C. De Celles told the website he wanted to help out his church's families even more.
"I think right now the schooling of our children is the issue. We'll lose them to the culture of death if we don't provide an environment where they can learn to love Christ in the educational setting," he told the Herald. "We're the church and we have to do something here. These are our kids."
So De Celles decided the school's parents needed more financial support.
After one year of receiving the $2,000 scholarship, parents can receive $1,000 per child to remain at a Catholic school. Home-schooling parents are offered money for educational costs. Any family can ask for more assistance if needed, according to the Herald.
Funding for the scholarships and extended financial assistance comes from what the church calls the Our Lady of Ransom Fund. It is funded entirely by donations.
According to the Herald, the name of the fund recalls when the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Raymond in 1218 and asked him and others to found a religious order — the Mercedarians — that would organize the ransom of Christians who had been kidnapped by Moorish raiders.
So far this year, the church has raised more than $140,000 for the fund, which helped 113 students with their tuition.
Parent Caroline Ganthier whose daughter received a scholarship called her church's school "wonderful" and told the Herald her daughter is "where she needs to be."
Arlington diocese schools saw an increase in enrollment of nearly 8% for the 2021-22 school year. The Daily Wire says that statistic suggests families are still fleeing from public schools even after they resumed in-person classes.
As CBN News has reported, the pandemic convinced hundreds of thousands of families to abandon the public schools, after they closed their doors for remote learning, to pursue new educational options for their children.
As the pandemic raged, parents across the country turned away from normal public schools to try homeschooling, private schools, and even charter schools.
As CBN's Faithwire reported, only 8% of public schools never closed their doors. But 26% of parents with kids in Christian schools say their school never closed down, according to a survey by the Herzog Foundation released in late August.
"Parents of children in Christian schools are far more satisfied with their child's education during COVID than the parents of children in public schools," reported the study's authors, Todd Graves and Jacob Hawkins.
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