“Behold, I make all things new.” ~ Revelation 21:5
It’s hard to believe that many of our young people begin a new school year this week or next. I have fond memories of beginning a new school year. I usually found it a time of excitement -- a fresh start, new school clothes (or uniform for the Catholic school), different teachers, and often new people to meet. The enthusiasm was often mixed with some anxiety, especially if it was not just a new school year but a new school. What challenges would this school year or new place bring? Would my friends return? What would be familiar?
How would I fare? A new school year was both enlivening and frightening.
I am sure many of our young people and their parents have similar thoughts and feelings as a new school year begins. Most parents are eager to have students return to studies in person. Students are thrilled to have more social time with friends and classmates. Teachers are also longing for a sense of normal instruction with more interaction. Still, there are lingering concerns about what was lost academically during that last 18 months and what might lie ahead with regard to the pandemic. There is hope but for some it seems fragile.
Our experience in the parish, in many ways, mirrors those of students, parents and teachers. We are also gearing up for a new cycle of parish life at both of our parishes. Catholic parishes seem to follow a parallel type of academic calendar or “cycle” of parish life, regardless of whether a parochial school is part of their mission.
So we are preparing to begin a new year in our pastorate with a wide range of thoughts and concerns. As people of faith, we are reminded to always approach a new year with confidence and hope. The above quote from Sacred Scripture speaks to that. The context is the latter part of the Book of Revelation. The specific words are from God who offers consolation to those who have suffered for “God will wipe away the tears from their eyes.” The message is one of promise from God who is always present and guiding our history, our time. It is a message of hope because God is the one who is always bringing something new.
To celebrate the beginning of a new year in parish life, there will be celebrations at each parish. St. John Vianney has it’s Feast Day Festival on Saturday, August 7 after the 4:30 PM Mass and Holy Spirit will have its annual parish picnic on Saturday, August 14 beginning with the 5:30 PM Mass. These are both family events and I hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend.
Religious education will begin at both parishes following Labor Day - SJV on Sept. 12 and Holy Spirit on Sept. 19. We will have in-person classes at each parish. This is a reminder to all parents to register their children so that we can adequately plan for both catechists (teachers) and materials. For those who need an online option, there is one through SJV.I won’t say that summer is over (I’m holding on to summer as long as I can) but we are planning and gathering to begin another year of parish life. It is both exciting and challenging. It is important that we step into a new year with faith in God and trust in Him. I look forward to beginning a new year in parish life. I might even go out and buy some new clothes to begin the new school year!
“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” ~Isaiah 43:19(a)
Yours in Christ,