I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yay, Holy Spirit

Tonight was the big night: Confirmation. (In the words of my mom's text: "Yay Holy Spirit!")

My evening started with a fish fry dinner (over at the parish office) with my pastor, co-principals, and other members of the parish/those serving at the Mass. Oh...and the Bishop came too...and sat next to me. I was very humbled, and I was impressed by his jovial spirit, warm nature, and the ease with which he told stories and held conversation.

And the Confirmation Mass, itself, was beautiful. All the lessons, practices, parent emails, and reminders - they were all worth it. The student icon projects from the retreat donned the walls of the Church, and they stood out in a special way as reminders of the Holy Spirit and the Saints. The Confirmande and their parents dressed nicely (and modestly), with the young gentlemen wearing suits and the young ladies mostly in dresses.

During the Rite of Confirmation, I was blessed with the opportunity to call the names of my students to be presented to the Bishop. Then, Bishop Kane gave us an inspired (and inspiring) homily. He joked with the candidates, saying that our pastor said they knew all the answers so he should just skip the questioning so families could leave and get to dinners and such. He went on to explain how people will know we are models of the Catholic faith: 1) We know the faith (learn about Jesus); 2) We live the faith (put it into practice); 3) We pray the faith (make time for God); and 4) We celebrate the faith (go to Mass on Sundays). And the last point he made was to emphasize two of the gifts of the Holy Spirit - Wisdom and Courage - praying in a special way that the Confirmande receive those even more strongly and fully than the others.

Following the Bishop's homily, the Confirmande and all of us present renewed our Baptismal promises. He and Father Larry then proceeded with the laying of hands. And, finally, I ushered up each student & sponsor (& the family/friends) to for the anointing with holy chrism.

Yes, I did say I ushered up the family and friends along with each candidate and sponsor - it was the most beautiful part of the evening --> Parents stood arm-in-arm. Grandparents looked on. Younger children took positions by their siblings. And the Bishop addressed all of them. It was a concrete representation of the whole family affirming and supporting the Confirmande. And it was so powerful it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

It's crazy to take a look back over this past school year (to date) and see how far the 8th grade students have come as a class. There have been good days and not so good days. There have been moments of genius & insight and other moments where I find myself thinking, "How on earth are you going to survive in high school next year?"

But tonight, I just looked on with awe.

Tonight was about the students and their families.

Tonight was an affirmation of faith.

Tonight, I was so very proud of each and every one of them.

Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love...

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