As we embark on a new school year, I look forward to the special life and vibrancy that a parish school brings. Being at Saint Catherine of Siena parish brings back fond memories of my home parish. I am one of seven children and my parents sacrificed much to put us all through the parish school. The parish school brought about a vibrant family life with bustling events and activities that brought energy and flavor to the entire parish. The parish school was in many ways the heartbeat of the city. The Gospel of Christ flowing from the parish church gave birth to the parish school and the school was a life generating force for the parish. The formation in faith, virtue, and character brightened and enhanced the entire community. Many vocations to the Church sprang up from the parish life.
I remember one time a fire alarm going off at the parish school and church. The response was overwhelming; police, fire, safety personnel, the whole town paused its daily routine. Fortunately it turned out to be a minor incident. I will always remember the conversation among the police and firemen that day. As they packed up, they were laughing and telling stories of their childhood days at the school. They said that they responded as if it were their own home or their grandparents’ home. In many ways, it was. This parish school was their alma mater, the mother of their family and childhood memories. Saint Catherine of Siena parish and school have that same fabric of faith, virtue, and character woven into generations of people here in Norwood and in nearby communities.
One of the great hallmarks of a parish school is that it touches the lives of so many because it involves and engages so many; parents, children and families. It is not just a product or place but a personal experience. It is a team effort that only works when everyone contributes their better self. Everyone has something valuable to contribute. The parish school is to the community of faith what a dynamic musical or play is to the cast, crew, and audience. Everyone is engaged in some manner or fashion, contributing their time, talent, and treasure to provide a brilliant, life enhancing and inspiring reality. Just as a musical or play involves many people in lead roles, supporting casts, or behind the sciences crews, so too does the parish school. The results last a lifetime: character formation, lifelong inspiration, and motivational memories!
As we embark on this new school year, may the Lord Who accompanied the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee, be with all in Saint Catherine of Siena School. May He guide and direct this little vessel of His safely in the course of His Divine Love.
Sincerely in Christ,
Father Stephen S. Donohoe