My Dear Friends,
This year, the month of February falls in the Season of Ordinary Time. Generally speaking, the month is dedicated to the Holy Family. In our Catholic schools, we try to teach our students more about the Holy Family. The Reverend John L. McKenzie, a professor of Theology, indicated that “Roman Catholic teaching identifies the family as the social and moral center of the community.” The family, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is “the original cell of social life.”
In this day and age people are communicating with electronics, it is important for us as parents and teachers to foster not only our faith but also real communication skills. It is up to us to set the example of manners, politeness, respect, and the art of verbal communication (yes, face to face!).
Our schools do a phenomenal job of teaching communication skills, as evidenced by children being able to read Scripture from the altar at school Masses, speak collaboratively with classmates in pairs, small groups, centers, and even in our high school auditoriums. The most important communication we instill is prayer, communicating with God in words and in nature.
Everybody has busy schedules. It is up to us to make the time to eat, talk, and share feelings with each other within our families, no matter what the structure of the modern-day family looks like. Sometimes, all it takes is reassurance from a family member to relieve and even prevent certain anxieties which are increasing in our society and in our schools at earlier and earlier ages.
How often do we take the time to pray with our families or even talk about our faith? This alone can be a self-regulatory process which helps both adults and children. This is clearly evident in visiting schools and being able to hear a pin drop during an opening or closing prayer for the day. The silence alone before prayer is better appreciated in our world of constant noise. I invite you to visit and consider our schools to see firsthand the beauty of the communication and family atmosphere our schools provide.
The Holy Family can be a tremendous inspiration to us. Even though Mary and Jesus were both born without sin, Mary and Joseph had to deal with the same family and child-rearing issues that other parents did. They had their share of problems, from fleeing death to a new land, to poverty, to ridicule and disbelief. Mary lived the Passion.
Let us all pray for strength from Mary and Joseph to be more like them, especially in the nurturing of our children.
Henry Fiore, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools