By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput conducted a “town hall” session today with students from high schools throughout the Archdiocese, to talk about the future of Catholic education.

The spiritual leader of Philadelphia’s Catholics accepted the thanks of students for keeping their high schools open (see related story) and pledged to work with students, parents, staff, and benefactors to strengthen Catholic education in the region.

But, Chaput says that in addition to fundraising, there is another important component:

“You know, I think that in terms of the enthusiasm for Catholic schools on the part of people who really care about them, it’s unchanging,” he said today. “There’s an extraordinary committment. It all depends on whether we have the enrollment.”

The archdiocese also announced two initiatives backed by a foundation aimed at supporting the high schools.

The first is one thousand $1,000 scholarships (a total of $1 million) for incoming freshmen.

The second is a recruiting incentive program for existing students to refer new students to register for next year.  Each school will award a $5,000 tuition scholarship to the student who recruits the most new students. And the student who recruits the most new students of all those attending the high schools will receive a $25,000 tuition scholarship.

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