29 October 2015

Real hope for the future...

We had our academic awards ceremony yesterday at The Atonement Academy (we refer to it, tongue-in-cheek, as The Academy Awards). We give Gold Arrow and Silver Arrow awards, and I am constantly impressed with these students. It's not easy to get an academic award here. Our standards are high and our demands are rigorous, but it's wonderful to see the number of students who manage to achieve academic excellence.

It's not just the high level of academic achievement which impresses me, however. These are students who also excel on the athletic field and in the choir loft. They're involved in pro-life activities and other works of charity. They're serious about their faith.  Are they perfect? Obviously not...but that's why I get a steady stream of them knocking on my office door and asking, "Father, do you have a few minutes to hear my confession?" They know there's always room for improvement, and they're eager to grow spiritually. They're at Mass daily, and these kids actually look forward to it. They come for spiritual advice, because they're concerned about pleasing God.

I love these kids, and I can't imagine what it would be like around here if the parish didn't have a school. I know there are some of my brother priests and some of our diocesan "professional educators" who think I'm overly protective and even a micro-manager because I insist on such things as having only practicing Catholics on our faculty, or because I won't adopt the government-school agenda, especially when it appeared as the incarnation called "Common Core."

I didn't have the advantage of a Catholic school education. Of course, public school education was a bit different fifty years ago from what it is today, but the seeds of destruction were already planted even then. The formation of children in the fullness of truth is all-important, and for us as Catholics it is by far the best when our children are formed through a seamless partnership between the Catholic home and the Catholic school.

We're in our twentieth year since the founding of the Academy, and although the devil has tried to destroy it from time to time, God has preserved it, and He continues to nurture it, and I absolutely love being part of it. As student after student came forward to receive the Gold and Silver Arrow Awards, I gave thanks to God, and I have absolute confidence that the Church will continue to provide, through the lives of these young Catholics, the much-needed medicine for our ailing society.

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