~4 min read
All great teachers, regardless of where they teach, are automatically front-runners for sainthood in my book. Right along with healthcare workers and emergency personnel, teachers are absolutely critical for the functioning of society. They deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly of small mammals, used to regular naps, growing into self-sufficient and productive members of society. They see it all and serve every day of their professional careers.
This Catholic Schools Week however, I want to send out a special thank you to all Catholic school teachers.
Other than a year at a Christian preschool (which was also awesome), I was blessed with a Catholic school education K-College and while I would never make the claim that my experience was generic-ly “better” than that of my friends at public school, I am particularly thankful for a handful of uniquely Catholic school experiences I encountered:
The Living Gospel – Along with my classmates, I participated in presentations of Living Stations both in 3rd and 8th grades. In 3rd grade I was Jesus and in 8th grade I was the High Priest. In addition to the deep life insight of being both the condemned and the condemner, I am extremely thankful for the all the hours my teachers spent corralling us in rehearsal so that we could all internalize that the Gospel isn’t just a historical epic, but a real human story and is alive in each of our lives today.
Equality in Christ – In 8th grade I was part of a team responsible for making sure that there were always 3 altar servers at funerals in the parish. In reality, that meant 2 friends and I served at every funeral in the parish for an entire academic year. Despite some extremely hard funerals, including those of infants and children, I learned an extremely important theological lesson in those services. Regardless of whether there were 1 or 1,000 people in the pews at the funeral, our liturgy and God’s overwhelming love was exactly the same for each of the deceased. We are all equal in God’s eyes. He loves us all and wants each and every one of us to accept his love.
The Grace of the Sacraments – It wasn’t until much later in my post-college life that I realized how awesome it was to receive the sacraments with my classmates. Friday masses were a staple of my formative years and I am particularly thankful for quarterly confessions in high school. Those priests that made the trek from the suburbs to my high school downtown, 4 times a year, carried me through some tough times when I didn’t realize how much I needed them.
Family of Faith – Freshman year of high school I lost my cousin, mentor, and confirmation sponsor. He was in his early 30s and left behind two young children. My senior year, I lost my grandfather who had lived with my family since I was born. In the weeks after each death, I remember breaking down in tears before and during classes. I will be eternally grateful for the many teachers and classmates that not only came to the funerals, but that continued to take class time to pray together as a family of faith.
To all the teachers out there continuing to sacrifice significant earnings by choosing to teach at Catholic schools, thank you.
We love you and we appreciate your service.