By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
PARKVILLE — It isn’t easy, and nobody knows that better than teachers.
But Vicar General Father Charles Rowe told the Catholic school teachers of the diocese that they have a special privilege. They get to witness, up close, the work of the Holy Spirit in their children.
“Catholic schools are safe havens where the Spirit is summoned to operate in the education of youth,” Father Rowe told hundreds of teachers who came Aug. 14 to celebrate another school year with Mass at St. Therese Parish.
“To be sure, they are institutions where secular studies are taught and taught very well,” he said.
“Certainly, they are schools which welcome students who are not Catholic and who are not Christian,” Father Rowe said.
“But the educational program at Catholic schools is inspired and directed by the Gospel vision of the human person,” he said. “We are creatures who enjoy unique dignity because we have been formed in the image and likeness of our Creator, because we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, because we have been called to eternal communion with the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
There is no doubt that the Spirit is at work in Catholic schools, Father Rowe said.
“In our schools, we teach without qualification, hesitation or reservation that every student enjoys unsurpassable dignity as a child of God,” he said.
“We strive to help every student hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking in the depths of their hearts,” he said. “For by hearing and heeding the Spirit’s call, they will fulfill the unique and glorious destinies to which their Maker calls them.”
But the Spirit is working not only on children in Catholic schools, Father Rowe reminded the teachers.
“The same Spirit that works in our students also works in us,” he said.
“This awareness should be a source of both enlightenment and encouragement for us,” Father Rowe said.
“Many challenges lie ahead of us this school year. Some we can’t even predict, perhaps others already anticipated we do not yet know how to tackle,” he said.
“But the Holy Spirit has the answers. He can and will give us the wisdom required to meet the adversities that await us. He will supply the strength which elevates our spirits to overcome all obstacles in our path,” Father Rowe said.
“Let us turn to the Spirit in humble, constant, fervent prayer,” he said. “Let us tap into his grace in liturgy and sacrament. Let us trust that the Lord who has begun the good work in our schools shall bring it to successful completion.”