On the morning of Feb. 16 I went to St. Lawrence School in Greece to celebrate Mass with the children and to pay a visit to the parish school. Both parts of the morning were stimulating and rewarding.
The celebration of the liturgy afforded the opportunity to appreciate the care put into its preparation by the children and their mentors. Everything was beautifully and reverently done. From the tiniest to the tallest, the children were prepared for what was asked of them and they did it very well.
The experience with them reminded me of how impressive and transforming the eucharistic liturgy can be when those who participate are well-prepared, attentive and engaged with the support of the rest of the assembly. There were many adults at St. Lawrence who had come to pray with their children, grandchildren and neighbors. It was crystal clear to me that the beauty of the children’s worship had a deep impact on these adults. They were clearly moved by it all and very much drawn to prayer. In conversations with the adults after Mass, several mentioned how moving it was for them to be so engaged in prayer with the little ones.
Their pleasure was yet another reminder to me of how important it is for the formation of our young people and of our parish communities that our young be invited to participate actively in parish life — always according to their gifts, talents and interests, and always assuming appropriate preparation for the ministry to be offered.
Of the school side of the visit, I carry memories of vibrancy and color, imagination and good work carried on in a most inviting environment. From the moment I walked into the building until the moment I left, I was enthralled by what I heard and saw. The children seemed to be happily engaged in their activities. I observed them engaging in art, mathematics, reading, science, language arts, physical education and snack time. They were using smart boards, computers, workbooks and anthologies. The experience left me with an itch to return to some classroom learning. But the visit also left me wondering — given the level at which the children were engaged — whether in this day and age I could handle the material. It just seemed to me that they were working at levels higher than the ones we worked at on our way through elementary school.
I am grateful to Principal Sue Sak, her faculty, staff and the many adult volunteers who were so generous in their hospitality to me on the Feb. 16 visit. I thank them as well for allowing me such a privileged glimpse into the wonderful work they are doing on behalf of our young people. I truly admire their professionalism and competence. No less do I recognize the obvious respect and affection in which they hold the children entrusted to their care.
In expressing my gratitude to the people at St. Lawrence, I remember the other visits I have made to our Catholic schools this year. Each has its own personality and distinct characteristics. But of all of them I can say that they strive in the quality of their instruction, in the peacefulness and joy of their environment, in their care for and dedication to their students. If you are thinking about Catholic-school education for someone dear to you, I encourage you to follow up the idea. You can do so quite easily by visiting www.dorschools.org or by calling 585-23LEARN.
Peace to all.