Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger will celebrate Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Ballston Spa on Friday, Jan. 27, at 9:30 a.m. to kick off National Catholic Schools Week, which will be celebrated at schools throughout the 14-county Diocese from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4. The liturgy is open to the public and will also be livestreamed on the diocesan website (rcda.org/livestream) so that all teachers, students, and families may participate virtually.

At the conclusion of the liturgical celebration, the annual Catholic School Awards will be given to distinguished honorees. Among those being honored at the awards presentation is Lynn Fitzgerald, principal of St. Mary’s School in Ballston Spa. Mrs. Fitzgerald is receiving the Bishop of Albany Distinguished Administrator Award, which recognizes an administrator who promotes a school’s Catholic education, seeking to foster a Christian community of love in which God’s truth and life are integrated into the entire curriculum and life of the school.

Additional awards to be presented include the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Distinguished Teacher Awards. Cara Green of St. Mary’s School in Waterford, and Mary Beth Amato of Holy Spirit School in East Greenbush, will receive those honors. Awards for outstanding school staff and commitment to Catholic education will also be presented, and teachers with milestone years of service to Catholic education in the Diocese will be recognized.

The Annual Diocesan Art Show, featuring artwork by Catholic school students of all ages, will be held Sunday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. at Empire State Plaza South Concourse Lobby

“Although we value and celebrate the incredible work our Catholic schools every day of the year, National Catholic Schools Week gives us the opportunity to do so in a very intentional way, and to honor those who help make our Catholic schools so successful and our students so well-rounded,” said Dr. Giovanni Virgiglio Jr., Superintendent of Schools. “And it’s a time to honor those parents who make the choice for Catholic schools, sometimes at great sacrifice. Their trust in us is a daily reminder that Catholic education is about so much more than academics and extracurriculars. It’s also about faith, family, service, and community.”

Each diocesan schools has its own website that can be accessed through the Catholic School Office website: www.higherpoweredlearning.org. For more information, contact the Diocese of Albany, Catholic School Office, at (518) 453-6602.