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News

​Not a spirit of fear, but power and love theme for Catholic Schools Convocation Mass

September 17, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Catholic Schools, Hope for the Future, In the Press, Breaking News


Not a spirit of fear, but power and love theme for Catholic Schools Convocation Mass

Teachers and administrators serving the 38 Catholic schools of the archdiocese filled to capacity the sanctuary of the largest parish in San Antonio -- St. Mark the Evangelist Church -- for an August 10 liturgy on the feast of St. Lawrence to spiritual prepare for the upcoming academic year.

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, was the principal presider at the Mass, with Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette, Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak, and close to a dozen Catholic school pastors concelebrated the liturgy, with instructors filling the ministry roles during the service.

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will,” Archbishop Gustavo began his homily, quoting Matthew 11:25-26.

“As teachers, many of you are privileged to be able to contemplate this mystery for which Jesus thanks the Father: the simplicity of pure hearts, with an uncomplicated faith,” the archbishop said. “Their relationship with God is as transparent as their connection to earthly reality.”

The San Antonio prelate acknowledged that, as we grow older, we struggle to face everyday issues with a supernatural vision. Saint Paul, in the liturgy’s first reading to Corinthians, is trying to help the Church in Jerusalem improve its economic situation. He says that, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit explained that cheerfulness, which deserves God’s love, is contagious, and he told the educators that they receive it from their students and give it back to them. “Who is the poor one in that case?” he asked, replying, “We are all poor and we are all rich because we all need one another, and all of us can serve someone, even little children. That is God’s will for us and it is an image of God’s own inner relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

In the Gospel reading from John at the Mass, Jesus said to His disciples that the “grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies.” But then it produces more wheat.

“You dedicate your lives to the service of those who are poor in knowledge. That dedication more often than not requires sacrifice, but it pays off,” emphasized Archbishop Gustavo. “As you grow older, through your loving service the fruits of the Holy Spirit also grow in you.”

The archbishop again quoted from St. Paul, who said, “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor). He will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

Therefore, Archbishop Gustavo said as he smiled, “God has every right to raise the bar constantly. The Lord demands that you have hearts as pure as those of small children, while you boldly face the very real challenges that confront Catholic education in our archdiocese today.” He calls us to promote His plan “that is to be received by faith, teaching with love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1Tim 1:4-5).

The archbishop called on the educators to deal with the very concrete challenges of their jobs with the spirit exemplified by St. Lawrence. During a persecution, the saint was required to present the wealth of the Church to Roman authorities. Instead of giving them the alms that he managed, he distributed the money among the poor and presented them as the wealth of the Church. “A significant portion of the wealth of the Church is under your care in Catholic schools,” Archbishop Gustavo shared.

In the gospel, the archbishop revisited the passage in which Jesus talks about hating our own lives. “That means a discomfort for comfort,” he stressed. “It is a challenge for you to constantly move away from comfort zones and test the limits of your natural gifts, experiencing your supernatural relationship with God with transparency, as you connect to earthly reality with innovative courage.”

Pope Francis has called teachers in Catholic schools to work “with a bold and innovative fidelity able to bring together the Catholic identity to meet the different ‘souls’ existing in a multicultural society.”

“That tension keeps you tuned, like a violin cord, enabling you to be spiritual leaders that play the music of the Holy Spirit to the future leaders of families, society and the Church,” Archbishop Gustavo concluded, praying, “May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for you, your families and your students, for our Catholic schools community to experience the comfort of her care.”

Following the Mass, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marti West presented a “state of the schools” talk to attendees, which featured presenters and performances.