Pastor’s Letter – Sept. 3, 2017: Catholic Education Integral to Our Mission
It is back to school, another transition. Some will be mourning the loss of the more carefree days of summer with the long warm days. Some will be looking forward to more structure and routine. All of us will feel the change, if only through the memories we have when we were in school, and certainly we will note the change of season. I, for one, mourned the loss of summer as a child. School was not my idea of fun. I remember once coming home from a family vacation on a relative’s ranch in Wyoming thinking, with a bit of melancholy that summer was over and it was back to school.
As our own school year opens up again we are happy to welcome some new teachers and staff, who will be a great addition to the staff we already have. As we begin a new school year it is an opportunity to remind us of why we at Holy Rosary have a parish school and put so much of our resources into it. I would like to quote from an address that Pope Benedict gave to US Catholic educators some years ago on a visit to the US. I think the pope at that time captured well the rationale of the Catholic school:
“Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth (cf. Spe Salvi, 4). This relationship elicits a desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching. In this way those who meet him are drawn by the very power of the Gospel to lead a new life characterized by all that is beautiful, good, and true; a life of Christian witness nurtured and strengthened within the community of our Lord’s disciples, the Church.
The dynamic between personal encounter, knowledge and Christian witness is integral to the diakonia of truth which the Church exercises in the midst of humanity. God’s revelation offers every generation the opportunity to discover the ultimate truth about its own life and the goal of history. This task is never easy; it involves the entire Christian community and motivates each generation of Christian educators to ensure that the power of God’s truth permeates every dimension of the institutions they serve. In this way, Christ’s Good News is set to work, guiding both teacher and student towards the objective truth which, in transcending the particular and the subjective, points to the universal and absolute that enables us to proclaim with confidence the hope which does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5:5). Set against personal struggles, moral confusion and fragmentation of knowledge, the noble goals of scholarship and education, founded on the unity of truth and in service of the person and the community, become an especially powerful instrument of hope.”
We hope to carry on and be faithful to this mission of Catholic education here at Holy Rosary so beautifully articulated by Pope Benedict. We pray for the success of this school year as we begin this week.