This week we celebrate our Catholic School and the work of Catholic Education! I was recently reading an excellent article published by Fordham entitled, “Why Catholic schools have regained their place in education reform” studying the lessons learned from Catholic Schools over these many years and their contributions towards education as a whole. The article discussed how, “Catholic schools continue to demonstrate strong long-term outcomes… And at the core of these successes is the way Catholic schools think about their students and why Catholic educators do this work. The goal of Catholic schools is … to form students who opt to serve, who choose right over wrong, and who contribute to their communities. The goal of Catholic schools is not discipline and structure merely for the sake of order but for the sake of building the habits of self-management that lead to virtuous lives.” We are proud of our school, its rich heritage in our parish, the family atmosphere, the academic growth that is fostered, the values espoused and lived out, its grounding in faith and service to others – all these and more help nurture our students to become the best version of themselves… We have dedicated teachers and staff who have navigated the many challenges of our world these days together with our wonderful students who in turn bring their own unique gifts. All of that is happening right here! We have much to celebrate… come and see, come and be a part of all the good things happening at St. Mary’s School!
As you know, we have been holding on to the spirit of Christmas once again this year because we all could use the joy and hope that Christmas brings. Following the old customs of the Church, we’ve kept up our decorations and singing our Christmas hymns and will do so until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, this week on February 2nd. Much like our Christmas and Epiphany celebrations, this feast heralds the coming of Jesus Christ – in this instance as a light to all the world – as Simeon proclaims of Jesus in the temple: “My own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people.” This is why we bless candles on that day as a symbol of Christ’s light. I pray that you have been able to find some of that light amidst the darkness we constantly face. As this great season comes to a close, once again this year, it is important that we let this Christmas spirit continue to guide us as we go forward. To that end, I came across a wonderful and thought-provoking poem that reads:
“The work of Christmas begins: when the carols have been stilled, when the star-topped tree is taken down, when family and friends are gone home, when we are back to our schedules… The work of Christmas begins: to welcome the refugee, to heal a broken planet, to feed the hungry, to build bridges of trust not walls of fear, to share our gifts, to seek justice and peace for all people, and to bring Christ’s light to the world.”
May the light of Christ, heralded in these celebrations of our Church, continue to guide you and yours each and every day.