Sunday, January 29, 2023

Catholic Schools Week

 Catholic Schools Week


Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2023 is January 29 – February 4. The CSW 2021- 2024 theme is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Catholic schools have a specific purpose to form students to be good citizens of the world, love God and neighbor and enrich society with the leaven of the gospel and by example of faith.

As communities of faith, Catholic schools instill in students their destiny to become saints.  Academic excellence is the hallmark of Catholic education intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person – mind, body and spirit.  Finally, service is fundamental to Catholic education and the core of Catholic discipleship.  Service is intended to help form people who are not only witnesses to Catholic social teaching, but also active participants through social learning.

The CSW logo emphasizes that the Catholic school, like the Catholic Church, is not a building or an institution, but it is the people. As the people of God, we work together to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth and raise up the next generation to do the same. The image of teachers and students forming the foundation of the school shows that they are active people of faith who serve others and God. May we all strive to live in active service of Jesus and his mission as we nationally join together during Catholic Schools Week and always.

Let us pray for our Catholic Schools as they celebrate this week.  May they continue to strive to be models of Faith. Excellence. Service always.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday of the Word of God


Today marks the Sunday of the Word of God, instituted by Pope Francis in 2019 as a way to promote the study of Sacred Scripture, and give new life to the responsibility of all believers to deepen their knowledge of Scripture.  Pope Francis instituted this special Sunday in his motu proprio, Aperuit illis.

“I hereby declare that the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study, and dissemination of the word of God. This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.”

Let us turn to the scriptures for inspiration, comfort, and hope.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we celebrate the second Sunday in ordinary time.  It is a transitional moment as Christmas is now over when we were focused on Jesus’ coming.  Now we continue the journey into ordinary time.  Now we are telling the extended story of Jesus.  We will journey through Jesus’ life.  In our readings today, Isaiah, Paul, and John the Baptist were called to make God’s presence known.  John recognized Jesus and made Him known.  Our responsorial psalm reminds us that our journey of faith is to do God’s will.  God is present in my life.

One of my favorite songs is Here I Am Lord.  There are several different versions of it.  For me, Michael Ward’s arrangement is the one I love best.  As you listen to this song may we live out the call to always do God’s will.


Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Epiphany


The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord commemorates the visit of the magi to worship the infant Jesus as told in the Gospel of Matthew: “Behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage. '” (Matthew 2:1-12) The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphainen, a verb that means "to shine upon," "to manifest," or “to make known.”

It is a celebration of light which calls us to see the light of Jesus on the earth.  The magi searched for eternal light.  We are called to give our gifts and allow our light to burn brightly before others.  We have come to consider the gifts they bring as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ role in salvation. We believe the meaning of the gifts to be Christological. Gold is presented as representative of Jesus’ kingship. Frankincense is a symbol of his divinity because priests burned the substance in the Temple. Myrrh, which was used to prepare the dead for burial, is offered in anticipation of Jesus’ death.

Traditionally on the feast of Epiphany, Catholics bless their homes by writing the letters C, M and B and the numbers of the year, for example 2023, (20+C+M+B+23) at the top of their doors. The letters stand for the names of the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also represent the Latin blessing Christus mansionem benedicat, which means “May Christ bless this house.”  On this Solemnity of the Epiphany may we continue to live in the light and share Jesus’ message of hope.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Solemnity of Mary


Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  On this day we hear the familiar story of the shepherds who had come in haste and found Jesus lying in the manger. They had been filled with fear but are now filled with joy. Imagine Mary and Joseph smiling at the words of the shepherds. The lowly shepherds had been the first to know and made the message known to others.

As we celebrate today the Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God, we remember that Mary’s will was entirely united to God’s will.  Mary was a woman who was totally connected to God and did not let her fears change her focus.  Her faith and trust guided her along the way.  She treasured all things in her heart.

Today we also welcome in 2023 – a new year!  May we take time this year to model Mary’s commitment and trust.  As we pray this day let us pray for a peaceful new year.

God of all time, help us enter the New Year quietly, thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others, mindful that our steps make an impact and our words carry power.

May we walk gently.

May we speak only after we have listened well.

Creator of all life, help us enter the New Year reverently, aware that you have endowed every creature and plant, every person and habitat with beauty and purpose.

May we regard the world with tenderness.

May we honor rather than destroy.

Lower of all souls, help us enter the New Year joyfully, willing to laugh and dance and dream, remembering our many gifts with thanks and looking forward to blessings yet to come.

May we welcome your lavish love. In this new year, may the grace and peace of Christ bless us now and in the days ahead.

— Vinita Hampton Wright