Can We Call 2020 a ‘Year of Grace’?

As we enter this month of August, we come to the realization that the summer months are almost over and the new school year will soon begin. And yet, in many ways, this is a summer (and indeed an entire year) that was for so many of us not a time of relaxation. From the quarantine beginning in March to the staggering amount of sickness and death due to COVID-19 to the harsh reality of
racism, violence, and the protests in our city streets, we have had a tough year.

With this in mind, how can we have a peaceful summer in the remaining time left to us? Perhaps we need to view things through the eyes of the Lord. In our Catholic Christian tradition, each calendar year is described as a “year of grace.” Even in the midst of a year of masks, of suffering, and pain, how has this been a year of grace for you and me? Grace is the free and undeserved gift of God in our life.

Yes, we have seen sadness, sorrow, and sin in this year in our city, in our diocese, in our nation, and even in our families. But where has the presence of the Lord been in our midst? Has the Lord been present in the time which we have spent with our families, even in the midst of quarantine? Has the
Lord been present in our own realization of social inequality and in our response to it? Has the Lord been present in the longing that we have had for the Eucharist, for the desire that we have had for gathering together as the People of God in the Church when we could not do so due to social distancing restrictions? Has the Lord’s grace, his free and undeserved gift, been realized in our life when we finally were able to come to the Lord in the Sacraments?

Yes, this has been an annus horribilius, one which certainly we will remember throughout our life. But at the same time, the Lord has been right there with us, carrying us along when we could not even crawl.

Catholic Schools are Worth Saving

We have received the sad news of the closures of some more of our Catholic academies in our Diocese. This is something that no one wants and is a true blow to each parish community.

What is the purpose, ultimately, of a Catholic school? It is a threefold purpose. First, to catechize and evangelize — to make future men and women who know the Catholic faith and who practice the faith. And for those students who are not Catholic, their personal experience of the faith witnessed in Catholics should inspire them to become better believers in their own faith tradition.

Second, it is meant to help form men and women for others. Catholic schools have traditionally helped young people to become more civic-minded, to recognize that the world does not revolve around them and that they are called to be persons of service.

Third and finally, Catholic schools offer a quality education in liberal arts and sciences. With a firm grounding in both, Catholic school students learn to appreciate the gift of intellectual life. They receive a faith-based education that is second to none.

Yes, Catholic schools can seem to be in a tight spot these days and indeed some are. However, they are worth fighting for! They are gifts to their parishes, the diocese, the city, the nation, and the world.

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