What a difference just a few years make. When many of our parishioners came to the United States they had had little formal education and spoke minimal English. Today, we have three Latinos and three Africans whose understanding of English is good enough to enable them to join other parishioners on our pastoral council and take leadership roles at St. Leo’s.

We have adults studying for their GED’s and preparing for their citizenship tests. We have at least three young adults who have graduated from high school. Two of them are students at Cincinnati State. Another young man is studying at Job Corps.

Since deepening their faith is so important to families many of our youth are now in Catholic schools. We have two each at Cristo Rey and Mother of Mercy High schools. Close to 40 are attending Catholic grade schools, including St. Boniface, St. Joseph, Holy Family, and St. Lawrence. Several are on the honor rolls there. In addition we have students working hard and doing well at Withrow High School, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, the Academy of World Languages, and other area schools.

Families value education and see it as a way to succeed and move ahead. They realize how important learning English is and take advantage of ESL classes on Monday evenings and at the Thursday women’s group. They encourage their children to attend the Tuesday evening tutoring program throughout the school year and the weekly summer book club for students of all ages, as well as the special back-to-school boot camp for students at St. Boniface the week before the start of school.

Without the help and support of our many volunteers and partners, St. Leo wouldn’t be able to provide the on-site services that enable our motivated and determined parishioners to move ahead. So on their behalf, we say a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all the individuals, schools, teachers, parishes and other organizations who work with us in this ministry. This is truly Church in Action.