February 1, 2012

Catholic Schools Week Mass

Today we had our annual Catholic Schools Week Mass celebrated by Father Richard Kelley, the pastor of Saint Christopher Parish in Nashua.  Father Kelley is a former member of the Trinity High School Advisory Board and a strong supporter of Catholic schools.

A number of students processed into the Mass carrying icons of saints who are patrons of local Catholic schools and Catholic education in general: Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint John Neumann, Saint Joseph, Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Saint Benedict, Saint Christopher, the Blessed Mother, the Holy Family, Saint Anthony, Saint Francis, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Catherine, and the Trinity.  The choir beautifully sang the Litany of the Saints for the opening hymn.

Father Kelley gave a nice homily congratulating Trinity for its work in Catholic education and rightfully giving Mr. Mailloux his due for all the work he's done in his 15 plus years as principal.  The homily will be posted as a podcast later today.

Following Communion, I offered a reflection thanking our teachers for their dedication and commitment to their vocation.  I then called each teacher and staff member up by their year of service and Mr. Mailloux and Father Kelley presented them with a medal of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, the patron saint of teachers.  Video of this should be posted later.

Below is my reflection:

For decades, Catholic schools were staffed and operated by men and women religious (i.e. nuns and brothers) who dedicated every fiber of their being to their vocation as Catholic school educators.  They did so for little or no pay and were oftentimes referred to as the “wageless workers of paradise” because of their willingness to devote themselves to building up the kingdom of God without pay.  Simply put, were it not for these selfless pioneers, this school and every other Catholic school in the United States would not exist.  You and I are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices.
Today, 96% of teachers in Catholic schools are lay people.  They don’t work for free like the sisters and brothers but they do make considerably less money than their public school counterparts.  In addition, much more is expected of our teachers and as you know, they often do the equivalent of two or three jobs here. Our teachers are the rare exception in this world of people who actually love coming to work and who are not motivated by money.  Rather, they are motivated by their vocation and in fulfilling the mission of our school.  Their reward will not be in their paychecks but rather, in heaven. These amazing men and women make significant financial, professional, and personal sacrifices for you and I ask that you join me in thanking them for all that they do.
The patron saint of teachers is Saint John Baptist de la Salle, the founder of the Lasallian Christian Brothers, the religious order that founded Trinity High School, Bishop Bradley High School, and Saint Joseph High School for Boys.  I am going to call up the teachers and they will be presented with a medal of Saint John Baptist de la Salle from Mr. Mailloux.  These medals will be a constant reminder to them of their vocation and mission.  I’d first ask Father Kelley if he will bless the medals for us…
After the presentation of the medals
May God the Father continue to bless the work of these men and women, that is, to carry on the mission of God the Son, all with the help and guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

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