Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
We are celebrating back to school this weekend with a blessing for all teachers- whether you are at the 11 AM Mass this weekend or not know of our prayers and gratitude for you! I have been so struck by how many teachers we have at our parishes for all of the schools in our area. You are a blessing. Two weeks ago, I ran into one of my grade school teachers from my hometown’s Catholic grade school. It was fun catching up with her. What stood out to me from that encounter though was the realization that I was now (and had been for a long time!) taller than her. Yet in my minds eye those roles are reversed and she is the one I am looking up to. Powerful indeed is the role a teacher plays in a student’s life. You are someone we look up to no matter how tall we get!
As part of an address to a teacher’s group in Italy Pope Francis had this encouragement for all teachers:
“As Jesus taught us, the Law and the Prophets are summed up in two commandments: love the Lord your God and love your neighbour (cf. Mt 22:34-40). We can ask ourselves: who is a teacher’s neighbour? Your students are your “neighbour”!
It is with them that you spend your days. It is they who await guidance, direction, a response — and, even before that, good questions! … School is certainly comprised of valid and qualified instruction, but also of human relations, which for us are welcoming and benevolent relations, to be offered indiscriminately to all. Indeed, the duty of a good teacher — all the more for a Christian teacher — is to love his or her more difficult, weaker, more disadvantaged students with greater intensity. Jesus would say, if you love only those who study, who are well educated, what merit do you have? And there are some who make us lose our patience, but we must love them even more! Any teacher can do well with such students. I ask you to love the “difficult” students more… those who do not want to study, those who find themselves in difficult situations, the disabled and foreigners, who today pose a great challenge for schools.”
For all of our students we have these words of wisdom from the book of Sirach. I know was told many times that our learning doesn’t stop after school stops so these words apply just as much to all of us!
If you wish, you can be taught; if you apply yourself, you will be shrewd. If you are willing to listen, you will learn; if you give heed, you will be wise. Frequent the company of the elders; whoever is wise, stay close to him. Be eager to hear every godly discourse; let no wise saying escape you. If you see a man of prudence, seek him out; let your feet wear away his doorstep! Reflect on the precepts of the LORD, let his commandments be your constant meditation; Then he will enlighten your mind, and the wisdom you desire he will grant.