BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Archbishop William Lori gives his back-to-school blessing to 1,200 Catholic school educators.

As Christie Ileto explains, it’s a spiritual start to the new school year.

Before the first bell rings and before work is given out,  Archbishop Lori is giving his back-to-school blessings Monday.

“This is a day of encouragement, to invoke the Holy Spirit and get the school year off to a new start,” said Archbishop Lori.

This is the third year the Archdiocese has held the event. This year’s theme is hearts on fire.

About 1,200 Catholic school educators from across the state are igniting their passion for teaching at the Meyerhoff and getting a spiritual start to the school year.

“Enlightening, refreshing and renewing,” said Linda Wilson, teacher.

“That is the root of all that we do.  The spiritual foundation is the foundation of everything we do,” said Maggie Dates, St. Pius X principal.

The Archdiocese has more than 27,000 students, 13 Blue Ribbon schools, and 98 percent of their graduates attend college.

“Our mission is spiritual. Our mission is to have faith-based education.  That kind of faith-based education has been producing excellent results,” the archbishop said.

The Archdiocese says they’re doing a couple of new things this year. That includes expanding the program that helps children with learning disabilities and their dual language immersion program, which allows students to take classes in both English and Spanish.

So before their students hit the books, Archbishop Lori is celebrating educators’ great work both in and out the classroom and asking them to make this year even better.

School starts for the Archdiocese next Monday.