It was always one of my favorite weeks when I was in school. It was one of my favorite weeks when I taught fifth grade. It is still one of my favorite weeks in my first year teaching high-school math. I love Catholic Schools Week! All school Masses, Catholic trivia, snacks and spirit dress days, throat blessings for the Feast of St. Blaise, pep rally featuring class lip sync battles and ping pong tournaments, and even a CYO city basketball championship for a local Indianapolis school where I attend Mass and coach: this week at Cathedral High School had it all. I have been in a Catholic school as either a student or teacher for 22 of the 28 years of my life, so I have been part of quite a few Catholic Schools Week celebrations! This year was no different in providing some wonderful, joyful, and sometimes even crazy opportunities for our students to appreciate the blessing of attending a Catholic School. Not only does Catholic Schools Week give our students an opportunity to count their blessings, but this week has helped me to reflect on the many blessings in my life.
I have been blessed in so many ways as a son, brother, and Holy Cross religious. One of the greatest blessings that comes to mind during Catholic Schools Week is my own Catholic education. This education would not have been possible without my loving parents. My parents worked hard and sacrificed so much so that all four of their sons could receive a Catholic education at St. Peter’s Catholic School, Helias Catholic High School, and the University of Notre Dame. I can say with certainty that I would not be the man and religious that I am today without Catholic education, and all this was made possible through the commitments and sacrifices of my parents and grandparents.
On the Friday before Catholic Schools week, we celebrated the Feast of St. Titus and St. Timothy. We heard in his Second Letter to St. Timothy that St. Paul recounted and praised the faith of Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of St. Timothy. It is through them that the faith was passed down to St. Timothy. Likewise, it was through my parents and grandparents that the faith was passed to me. So, whether we attended Catholic school or not, let’s use today as an opportunity to reflect on how the faith was passed down to us. Who are the people in our lives who have led us and continue to lead us closer to Jesus? Are we also in turn providing loving examples to others so that we can continue to pass down our faith to them? Let us give thanks to God for the flame of faith enkindled in our hearts by others and ask his blessing so that we may provide a similar spark in all that we meet.