As I look back at my own childhood, one of my fondest memories is of my grade school experience at my home parish. I remember stopping by the local pharmacy for candy on the walk home from school; I remember fall football games with classmates in one of my friends’ back yards; I remember the baseball “world series” we’d play on the playground during an extended recess at the end of each school year. I also remember gathering with the various classes every morning for a hallway prayer during Advent; I remember one of our priests stopping by our classroom to teach us; and I remember the wonderful teachers who helped us to grow not only academically, but also spiritually. These memories are so much a part of me and are still so vivid to me, that it is hard for me to think that I graduated from grade school nearly twenty-seven years ago! It also reminds me of the importance of those grade school years in my own development and formation — second only to my family, it was my experience at a Catholic grade school that shaped me more than anything else during those formative years.
I share these memories with you, not out of a sense of nostalgia, but to share with you my own experience with Catholic education and how formative it truly is and, because I believe it to be so formative, to invite you personally to stop by our parish school's Open House on Sunday, January 27th from 8:00 to 12:30. As parents of young children there are so many choices you have had to make and will continue to make — and there are few more important than the educational decisions you make for your children. I would like to invite you to consider St. Mary’s Visitation Parish School as a possible educational choice for your child and to stop by the Open House and learn more about it, to meet school parents and our wonderful principal, Mrs. Mary Tretow, and all the dedicated teachers and staff of our parish school.
While it may be possible to think that it’s only in my role as a pastor to encourage people to look at the school, I do not encourage you to do so out of a sense of obligation or duty, but because I truly believe in what our school is doing and the treasure that it is. I also believe that if you see it and experience it for yourself, you will come to agree with me. I hope to see you there!