I’d like to begin this week by thanking everyone who participated in our 9 days for Life Novena and in our Holy Hour for Life. It’s good for us to gather together to pray these devotions as a parish. I know that many are still stuck at home, afraid to go out as the vaccine slowly makes it way around to the various groups. Many are still watching online. It still amazes me that even now, we have nearly 50 people who wake up every morning and tune in on YouTube or Facebook for daily mass. Now while it’s not the same as being there, and we can’t receive Jesus, it is good to make use of these things. It’s also good to pray together and work to make Christ the center of our lives.
This week, we also celebrate the beginning of “Catholic Schools Week.” It’s an interesting thing for me to talk about because the first catholic school I ever attended was St. Francis in Loretto. It was a College when I started and a University till I left. I think though where I really began to discover the value of Catholic Education was as a seminarian and later a priest when I began to work and teach at a few of our Catholic elementary and high schools. Almost immediately when I started, I noticed something that I’ve seen at nearly every Catholic school I’ve worked at. There was something different there. It wasn’t the resources available, as they were comparable to what I’d find at a public school. The faculty were
wonderful and really cared about their students, but I’ve also seen many public schools teachers who deeply care about their students.
What I noticed was the community, parents, teachers, staff, pastor, everyone, all working together for the same goal, helping these children grow in their faith in Jesus Christ, and to live as faithful Catholics. There’s something real, and amazing I see, especially at our own NCCS. There’s something about knowing that everyone present really does share the same values and the same faith. There’s something good about the faith not just being something that happens after school and on weekends, but being integrated into every moment of a child’s life. It warms my heart when although it had to be streamed and parents couldn’t come watch this year, seeing all the kids dressed up as saints for All Saints Day, each sharing the story of this person who inspired them. I look at that, and I think of the time spent at home with mom and dad looking things up, figuring out who it was they liked, getting that costume together, wanting to dress up and show their friends. I think of that and I realize how healthy that is, bringing the whole family into helping our kids find the
heroes of our faith.
The other amazing thing I notice is the community. The parents all know each other, and I can see them support each other, helping these kids to grow together. At a Catholic School, being a little bit smaller than their public counterparts, it’s easy to get to know everyone. It’s easy to make friends with other families who share the same faith, and to know that at that critical time in a child’s life, the support is there, not just for the child, but also for the parents working to raise that child. It’s an amazing thing.
Certainly, we work to accomplish some of those same goals on the parish level, in our Religious Education programs, and among all of our children, but I’ve watched the reality of how much easier those things flow together when it’s not just one day a week, but the larger part of that child’s daily life. I know many folks have long made their decisions on where to send their child for school, but if you or someone you know is at a point in their lives when their child is about to enter school, or perhaps at a public school and looking for something different, I’d really invite you to consider checking things out at NCCS and Bishop Carroll.
As far as other news at our parish. Thank you to everyone who has sent their dinner tickets back so far. Please make sure to read the important note on page 4 of our bulletin this week. In order to present accurate records, we cannot honor the fall dinner tickets at the spring dinner. You’re welcome to request a refund for those fall tickets if you wish, but we have to use the spring tickets for the spring dinner. Of course, as always, you’re welcome to purchase your tickets ahead of time or pay at the drive-through when you come for your dinner.
May God Bless you now and always
- Fr Matt
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.