There is an age-old saying that says, “If you want to learn something, teach it.” I was reminded of this fundamental truth when, as a seminarian intern serving at St. Joseph parish in St. Johns, I found myself teaching fifth grade religion in the parish school. Teaching young people is an especially exciting challenge because one never quite knows the questions they may pose – especially in religion class.
From the Editor
My dad used to tell me that, as an engineer, he would much rather deal with machines and math than with people and their emotions. He will note that the world in which I live and minister is sometimes a mystery to him, since I am often faced with assisting people in very challenging situations, when their emotions and feelings can be on full display. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that, following my mom's death three years ago, my dad has become something of an accomplished grief counselor.
As part of my homily for this year's celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday evening, I reflected on the role of Jesus, the Teacher, as his disciples often identified him. In thinking about Jesus, the Teacher, I encouraged that evening's gathered assembly to reflect on the positive, life-changing effects that so many gifted teachers have had on our lives. I know in my own life, I can think of a long list of very gifted teachers who, along with our Lord, have helped to shape and form me and my priestly ministry.
One of the great blessings I know in my priestly life is the gift of so many talented fellow ministers with whom I have collaborated in parish ministry. Included among these fellow ministers are lay men and women, who are a vital and life-giving part of the team of professionals in ministry who bring their creative energies and talents to their daily labors. These labors, in turn, help bring life and light to our parish communities each day.
Is it really Lent again so soon? Indeed it is, which means that reconciliation chapels and confessionals everywhere will be seeing longer lines as we seek opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation. The season of Lent is a grace-filled time for spiritual growth, and one of the paths for growth is this sacrament of God's mercy and forgiveness.
In my twenty years of priesthood, I have served as pastor of three different parish communities. Of those three parishes, two of them have had parish schools. There is something different when it comes to the experience of being pastor of a parish community with a parish school. To be sure, there are plenty of blessings and there are a few challenges. One of those challenges is the sacrifice that is required as part of parish life in order to support a parish school.