New York City Mayor Eric Adams visited St. Brigid-St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy on Feb. 4 to celebrate the end of Catholic Schools Week and to speak to students about the importance of diversity and continuing their education.
Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education around the United States, aiming to promote the importance of spiritual education, now in its 48th year of observation. The week is typically marked by Masses, assemblies and other school activities to celebrate faith and education.
“Catholic children all over the country this week have been celebrating the importance, value and impact of Catholic education,” said school administrator Rev. Carlos Velasquez. “For over 130 years our beloved school of St. Brigid-St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy has educated and informed generations of children in Ridgewood and in Bushwick. Here in this little corner of New York City, is a loving and very diverse community that is committed to providing a quality Catholic education to our children.”
Rev. Carlos Velasquez welcomed the mayor to the academy by leading the school in a group prayer for Adams to empower him in all the work he aims to do for the city. The mayor was then presented with a spiritual bouquet and school t-shirt before he addressed the students.
“I grew up and was born not too far from here and I remember watching the borough and the city and hoping that one day I could do something that would make my mother proud,” said Mayor Adams. “Now I am the mayor of the city of New York. What that says is it starts here in school. What you are learning at school [is] the power of prayer and when you pray you start believing in what is possible, not allowing anything to prevent you from reaching your full potential. Catholic school education has always been a great foundation for inner-city young people to have a real opportunity.”
The mayor also spoke to the importance of faith in his own life, telling students he himself prays twice a day; as soon as he wakes up and right before he goes to bed.
“It grounds me in my faith and in my belief,” said Adams. “It encourages me to treat people the way I want to be treated. And in this school many of you come from different places on the globe, speak different languages and [are part of] different cultures.”
Addressing the importance of cultivating diversity and connection within schools, Mayor Adams told the students how integral it is to teach one another about their respective cultures and backgrounds in order to become more “united” as a community.
“Did you know in Brooklyn almost 50% of the people who live in Brooklyn speak a language other than English at home?” the mayor told the students. “So this is a great place to live and to learn. You are going to learn not only in school, but also in the community that you are a part of.”
Finally, the Mayor encouraged the students to be empowered by their education and to use their faith and what they have learned in school to be great and to apply their lessons to all aspects of their lives.
“You must lead in the things that you believe are important,” Mayor Adams said. “That means saving our environment, that means talking about violence and how we are not going to allow violence to be a part of our lives. You influence your mothers and fathers more than you think, they listen to you. And it also means talking to each other so we can have a better understanding of who we are and appreciate who we are.”