My Dear Friends,
Advent is upon us. It is a time of great anticipation of the coming of our Savior, Jesus.
We hear a lot from the prophet Isaiah in our readings during this season. Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament and his book is second only to Psalms in the number of quotations from scripture in the New Testament. He was troubled by the moral breakdown of his time.
His message is as relevant today as it was many centuries ago. He tried to remind the people of the need to keep God’s covenant if Israel was to remain God’s chosen people, but his message fell upon deaf ears.
Our modern day “Isaiahs” are our Bishop, clergy, and religious Brothers and Sisters. We instill in our students the importance of listening very carefully at Mass each and every week. Think about how blessed we are to be able to have our students attend Mass and receive the Eucharist as part of our normal school schedules. The earlier we instill our Christian values in our children, the more chance we have of Isaiah’s message to be met with open ears and open hearts, which will last a lifetime.
Take comfort in the fact that our Catholic schools are the counterculture when it comes to what this holy season of Advent is all about. It is NOT about buying presents and rushing around in consumer madness. Every year, there seems to be more and more commercialism and secularization of this Holy Season. Department stores have their Christmas displays of goods before Halloween, and it is rare to find any spiritual value in what is displayed.
We are blessed to be in the ministry of Catholic education in the Diocese of Norwich. It gives me so much hope to know that I would be able to walk into any of our classrooms and see first-hand that our children “get it” when it comes to the importance of Advent and Christmas. From the youngest three-year-old to the oldest teenager in our schools, one can witness the purity of Jesus’ love firsthand. Not only do our children and teenagers recognize this priority and want to learn more about it, but they also live it each and every day. That, my friends, is worth more than any material gift they could receive for Christmas.
My prayer for you this month is that we all heed Isaiah’s message of how to live, keep Jesus in the center of the Advent and Christmas seasons, and that we all become beacons of His light.
Henry Fiore, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools