By Fr. Patrick Barnes Canonical Administrator at Holy Cross Catholic School and Pastor at St. Nicholas Catholic Church
There are many reasons I love Catholic schools: the faith, the joyful students and their families, and the beautiful religious art on the walls and in the chapel. What makes this Catholic school experience all possible? The teachers.
One of our teachers at Holy Cross recently shared a powerful faith experience she had in Ireland during college. She described how her funds were running so low that she had to decide whether to eat or have a place to stay. Despite her struggle, she trusted that God would provide, and He did in amazing ways. She had multiple housing offers for the rest of the trip! As we listened, the staff and I were hanging on to every word because the faith experience was so powerful.
Teachers in our Catholic schools bring these personal faith stories into the classroom, and this is what sets Catholic education apart. Pope Paul VI said in Evangelii Nuntiandi, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
Our teachers truly are witnesses, weaving our Catholic faith into lesson plans and daily conversations. This is one of the reasons our teachers choose Catholic schools; they can incorporate their spirituality into the classroom and help form students in body, mind and soul.
Our faith-filled teachers partner with parents to form their children into who God created them to be by educating the whole child. Teachers, of course, share their knowledge of the subject, serving as excellent educators, yet we know that this is just the start.
God’s grace builds upon sound thinking, reasoning and learning. Saint Thomas said, “Grace builds on nature!” Yet it is that faith story, that personal experience of Jesus Christ, that uplifting quote from the Bible, that inspiration from the Holy Spirit, which ties everything together.
Thank you, teachers, for offering your talents to educate future generations. Thank you for opening our minds to the truth, and especially to Jesus Christ. You are key in helping children become the person God created them to be, and for this, the reward is great.