100-mile journey: Priest runs to raise funds for St. Anthony Catholic School

HARLINGEN — “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

The letter to the Hebrews in the Bible marks very well Rev. Alejandro Flores’ determination to run 100 miles for St. Anthony Catholic School.

But not all at once.

“I started the 100-mile journey last Sunday,” said Flores, the pastor at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

He ran about four miles and will spend the next few weeks completing the full 100, keeping careful record of his progress.

“We’re looking for those who would like to sponsor and, say, pledge per mile or just do a general pledge to kind of encourage me in my running and give money to the school,” he said.

St. Anthony is almost at capacity for the number of students allowed under guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control. The campus is serving just under 100 students in grades pre-K through sixth with a Montessori curriculum and Catholic instruction. About half of them are attending classes remotely, with the rest coming physically to class. Like many living under the pandemic, St. Anthony Catholic School has experienced some financial hardship as of late.

“We’ve had some shortfall in the budget,” he said, “so whatever we can do to kind of meet that shortfall is definitely welcome. It’s a general thing in terms of paying our insurance, paying our teachers, and all those good things.”

To meet that gap, Flores is trying to raise $4,000 by March 25, the last day of his marathon. In the short time he’s begun running for the school, he has already raised almost half that.

St. Anthony Catholic School offers an important choice for local youth, Flores said.

“It’s important to have a Catholic school that is able to communicate the virtues that the Catholic faith promotes during the formative years,” Flores said. “It really sets people up for the rest of their lives.”

More specifically, Catholic education teaches the whole student.

“I think the education of the whole person includes also the fact that we are created in the image of God,” Flores said. “It’s not just the mind, or even just the body, in terms of physical activity or coordination. It tends to the spirit and how we tend to that here through the faith and all that education combined.”

The results speak for themselves. Flores recalls numerous alumni who have made great contributions both at home and abroad.

“Even now we get a lot of calls from parents who used to come here because we’re Montessori through sixth grade now,” Flores said. “They let us know that as they progressed through their education they ended up being valedictorian or salutatorian. They were just very healthy in terms of their education to the virtue and the lives that they lead. It very much begins here.”

Those wishing to pledge to Flores’ cause can call the school at 956-423-2486, or go on the school’s website at www.saintanthonyeagles.com.

twhitehead@valleystar.com