A “Few” Words to our Beautiful
St. Anne Pacelli Teachers
I’ve wanted to meet you since the first time I set eyes on this campus incognito a couple months ago and walked around the outside of our beautiful school.
There is a document called Ex corde ecclesiae - Since Mr. Stahl is not here to help us with the Latin, it translates From the heart of the Church.
Ex corde speaks about the Catholic nature of Catholic Colleges and Universities, but it really speaks about the essential characteristics of Catholic Education.
Never forget that You speak from the heart of the Church, the very heart of the Church.
You speak from the heart of the Church to God’s little one’s and not so little ones as they begin their journey of life. You give them a road map home.
I know there are incredible award winning schools very close to our school and I know they are free.
Right from the very beginning I have to state that we will never be able to give you all the bells and whistles that those schools funded by public monies can.
We have a beautiful building with lots of technology and a 1 to 1 chromebook initiative to boot.
But we will never have the fancy buildings and the level of staffing that publicly funded schools enjoy. Nor will we be able to offer commensurate salaries to the dedicated people who work here.
And I’m sure that is not surprising to you.
You knew what you were getting into when you signed on.
Trust me I know that Catholic Education rests on your shoulders and the sacrifices you are willing to make for God’s young people.
However, we are incredibly rich in ways that public schools can never be:
- We can speak of Jesus Christ
- We can teach about the dignity of every human being from conception to natural death
- We can integrate our faith into every academic discipline
and this is really important in High School
There is no Catholic Math, but our faith allows us to appreciate the beauty and order of God’s creation which is part and parcel of God’s beautiful plan.
Yes, Math can bring a person to faith.
You can speak of the importance of living a moral life without compromise or fear and you can teach how our faith can be lived out day to day.
You can say this is right and this is wrong and we don’t have to be politically correct about it and we don’t have to make room for all the crazy ideas that keep popping up in our culture.
Yes, we have to have an excellent academic program and our school does.
Yes, we have to have lots of extra or co-curricular activities for our young people, and I’m amazed at all the things our school offers.
But the most precious gift we can share is our Lord Jesus.
He is the way.
He is the truth.
He is the model for each of our lives.
Sadly, the award winning school down the street cannot share and cannot speak of Jesus.
No matter how much those teachers love their students, and they do.
No matter how much they love the Lord, and many do,
I’m sure; they cannot explicitly inspire their students to faith.
As beautiful as those schools are, they are faith free zones for the few fortunate enough to get in..
Many years ago, decades actually… the friars took over a school in Fort Pierce Florida…
I was one of those privileged to go. There were three simple sentences carved into the marble next to the door.
I was touched when I saw them hanging in one of your buildings yesterday because they continue to inspire me.
We all have to remember and we must never forget that
Jesus is the reason for this school.
He is the unknown, but ever present teacher in its classes.
He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration if its students.
Thank you for your dedication.
Thank you for your good example.
Thank you for your willingness to pour your life out on our children.
Your sacrifice is so very precious to me personally, as I am a product of Catholic High School.
Fr. Mark taught in a Catholic school for 36 years… he knows the adolescent mind and the lack there of… He knows the adolescent heart incredibly well. He’s a believer in Catholic Education.
Fr. Manny’s dream before he decided to become a friar priest was to spend his life teaching. He got his degree from Providence College and taught in a Catholic High School. Needless to say he loves kids.
I’ve taught in three Catholic High Schools. Then I was a campus minister for 20 years at Western Connecticut State and The Catholic University of America in Washington.
May our Lord who does so much good through each of you every day, give you peace and joy as our young people walk back into your classrooms.
Ronnie and Jocelyn thank you so much for your incredible leadership I look forward to working with you.
As Ronnie always says, “It’s a great day to be a Viking!” For sure. Amen.