Whenever I see a Catholic who teaches in a public school, I am reminded of that saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”
Of course, teachers from any religious tradition, not just Catholicism, are not permitted to preach the faith verbally in public schools. Understood. However, many of our Catholic teachers preach, not by words, but by their witness, that is, by the values that they exhibit in the classroom. These values include fairness, dedication, going the extra step, taking time for a student who is floundering, keeping an eye open for signs of trouble at home, and simply maintaining a positive and caring climate in the classroom.
Many of these teachers also volunteer as catechists in their own parish catechetical programs.
Each year, the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office thanks these heroic educators at a special Liturgy and Brunch. This year, it will take place on Feb. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Riverview in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., overlooking the Hudson River. Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh, vicar for clergy, will celebrate the Mass. Sr. Loretta Knapp, R.J.M., a veteran teacher in both Catholic and public schools, will be the guest speaker. Her theme is “I can’t help singing…sometimes.”
The word on this day is already out in the parishes. However, you might have a friend or relative or perhaps you know some Catholic in the public school system. May it’s your child’s own teacher. Why not treat that teacher and bring him or her as your guest to the Liturgy and Brunch. The price is just $25.00 per person.
Call Helen Doon at the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office, 646-794-2822. She’ll accept your reservations through Thursday, Jan. 31 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.