Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Greensburg Volume 57, No. 18 Diocese plans opioid training for clergy, parish staff GREENSBURG — The education and training sessions to help priests, parish staff members and diocesan employees respond to the opioid crisis will include representatives from local agencies with information about resources specific to each of the diocese’s four counties. Representatives from the drug and alcohol commissions in Westmoreland, Fayette, Arm-strong and Indiana counties will be available to provide referral information for use by people in parishes and other diocesan entities and to answer questions at the training sessions. The Armstrong Indiana Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission will have representatives at the training sessions in Kittanning and Indiana. The Westmoreland County Drug Overdose Task Force will be at the Greensburg session, and there will be repre-sentatives from Fayette County-based drug and alcohol agencies at the Uniontown session. The agenda for the training sessions will include basic information about addiction, nonjudgmental language, and Continued on page 2 JERRY ZUFELT THE CATHOLIC ACCENT Students from St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School, Uniontown — from left, Katie Shinkle, Makenzie Garred, Anna Sabol and Lily Taylor — open the rally for National School Choice Week. Jan. 26 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Diocesan students cheer for school choice By Jerry Zufelt Editor PITTSBURGH — Students representing Ash Wednesday , Feb. 14, marks the start of Lent. It is not a holy day of obligation, but it is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat. nearly every Catholic school in the Diocese of Greensburg raised their voices and showed their best dance moves in support of educational choice at the National School Choice Week rally at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh, Jan. 26. More than 300 Catholic school students from the diocese were joined by parents, principals, teachers and ad-ministrators from the Office for Cath-olic Schools. And they were among the hundreds of people from Catholic schools, private schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools and homeschooling environments at the Friday morning event. Students from St. John the Evan-gelist Regional Catholic School, Uniontown, opened the rally with the School Choice Dance. Bishop Edward C. Malesic followed them with the invocation. “We are blessed. You are God’s gifts to us,” he said to the students. And he reminded the adults to always put the children’s needs first. “Give parents the wisdom to do what is best for you (students),” he prayed. Otto Banks, executive director of the REACH (Road to Educational Achieve-ment Through Choice) Foundation, was master of ceremonies and led cheers of “My Child, My Choice” and “What do you want? Choice” through-out the rally. Two mothers of students from Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kens-ington, were among the speakers who explained the importance of school choice for them and their families. Melissa Polito praised MQA for the many opportunities offered in its curriculum and said the teachers and staff are “second to none” and “give of themselves selflessly.” Megan Mlinarcik said she had no idea her family would become part of a much larger family at MQA. “Teachers know our kids personally, as well as the parents and siblings,” she said. National School Choice Week, which started in 2011, is designed to raise awareness about the different K-12 educational options — including traditional public schools, public char-ter schools, public magnet schools, Catholic schools, private schools and homeschooling — that are available to families in communities across the country. The Pittsburgh rally was one of more than 32,000 events around the coun-try — and one of three large rallies in Pennsylvania — held in conjunction with National School Choice Week (Jan. 21-27). The Pennsylvania rallies were supported by a coalition that includes the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (www.pacatholic.org) and the REACH Foundation, a Harrisburg-based grass roots coalition dedicated to ensuring parental choice in education (www.paschoolchoice.org). INSIDE THIS ISSUE Bishop offers recommendations for preventing spread of the flu. PAG E 3 PAGES 7-10 Dinners, programs, more scheduled around diocese during Lent.