Carved door of the credence cabinet at the high altar.
Our Lady of the Atonement Church.
It's a quiet Friday at the parish, in that the students aren't here. But it's busy with the sound of parents coming in and going out because today is the day for parent-teacher conferences. Our experienced teachers look forward to these meetings, with the opportunity to reaffirm the important relationship between home and school, between family and teacher. Some of the new teachers are a little nervous, understandably. What they had been so recently studying in their college classes is now being tested in the real-life world of actually teaching children and relating to parents. No more theory - the rubber has well and truly met the road!
They'd been given the necessary fuel, however. Before conferences began, the teachers gathered for Mass, along with many other parishioners. It was a beautiful celebration in Latin, with simple chant. I spoke to them about today's saints, the twin brothers Cosmas and Damian, and how we venerate them, not only as great witnesses to the Catholic faith, but as men who took seriously the gifts God had given them in their practice of medicine. In so many ways the lives of these martyrs serve also as a reminder of what we're trying to form in our students - a knowledge and love of God, along with a desire to discern how they can live out the vocation to holiness using the gifts they have been given.
It's a beautiful thing, to impart a Catholic education in the context of a full parish life. It's always seemed to me that this is how it should be, and that this is evangelization in one of its best and highest forms.