My Dear Friends,
Thank you so much for your overwhelming generosity during ABCD Sunday last week. We received phenomenal support from our in-pew appeal and are well on the way to surpassing our parish goal of $323,000. If you were not here last Sunday, I invite you to go on our website and watch the moving ABCD video and take a pledge envelope home to fill out. You can put your pledge in the collection basket at any of our Masses. We not only want to surpass our goal, but we want to invite as many parishioners as possible to put their grain of sand into the charitable works of the Archdiocese. As I said last weekend, every gift, no matter how big or small, makes a difference in the lives of so many. Again, on behalf of Archbishop Wenski, thank you for your support of ABCD.
Today the Church in the United States begins its celebration of Catholic Schools Week. St. Theresa has plenty of fun and faith-filled activities planned for our students this week, but I wanted to highlight in today’s bulletin the unsung heroes of our Catholic schools (and of any school for that matter): our teachers!
Our teachers at St. Theresa embraced the vocation to be a Catholic educator. That not only means they sacrificed more financially lucrative careers to pass on the gift of knowledge to our children, but as Catholic educators, it meant that each day, they get to be a living witness of Jesus Christ. The late Pope Benedict XVI in his address to Catholic educators of our country said: “Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church’s Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom. Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual (Address to Catholic Educators at the Catholic University of America, 4/17/08).”
Catholic identity is something that is discussed constantly at St. Theresa both at the administrative and faculty level. There must be no confusion that when anyone walks on to our historic campus, that Jesus Christ is the reason for this school. That is fostered, exemplified, and strengthened by our teachers. Sometimes they are the first evangelists of our children as they model our faith both in word and deed. A teacher’s job continues long after the dismissal bell rings. There are papers to grade, emails to answer, phone calls to make, and prayers to be said for their students.
It also helps that Saint Theresa is administered by our beloved Carmelite Sisters. If you want Catholic identity, you can’t get more Catholic than 6 Carmelite Sisters who give their lives to this school and whose mere presence in our hallways simply reinforces to our students that a life of service and surrender to God is a joyful life worth pursuing.
Pope Benedict emphasizes the important role of our teachers being clear in their transmission of the faith. Each of our teachers is a certified catechist whether they teach Science or History or Physical Education. They lead our children in prayer every morning, they worship with them in our Friday School Masses, they teach them to be disciples, and they are called to be like Jesus in their classrooms.
We thank God for the gift of Catholic Schools this week, we give thanks for St. Theresa and almost 98 years of academic and faith-filled excellence, and we give thanks for our teachers who bring the gift of faith to our students every single day.
God bless you all,