This is the season of graduations. Thousands and thousands of students all over the nation are having their graduation celebrations this month. But many of them will not have the unique way of celebrating graduation as our 8th graders had here at St. Matthias School: celebrating it with the Holy Mass, followed by the graduation ceremony. The involvement and participation of the graduates in reading, singing, and leading the prayer of petitions brought joy and pride to their families, the faculty and administration of the school. The Pre-K and Kindergarten graduation ceremonies also had the unique Catholic touch – though without Mass.
This way of celebrating the graduation gives a distinct identity and message to our children and parents. The catholic identity makes us realize that we continue to further the mission of Jesus Christ through Catholic education. St. Matthias School motto, “Faith, Caring and Excellence,” puts our Catholic faith first without diminishing the importance given to caring for the person and striving for excellence in all fields of school education. Many students received awards for academics and for various other achievements. St. John Paul II rightly said: “The mission of the Catholic school is the integral formation of students…”
A couple of years ago, I was happy to read a report from the Wall Street Journal newspaper that found Catholic school students have more self-discipline than their counterparts. Here at St. Matthias, Mrs. Mary Lynch, our Principal, together with Mr. Joe Gidaro, our Vice-Principal and all the teachers, nurtured our students’ Catholic identity through daily prayer, Mass attendance, reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, celebrating other Catholic devotions like Rosary, May Crowning, Stations of the Cross, etc.
Such a faith-based formation is vital to the future of us Catholics as we know that these young students will continue our Catholic faith and heritage. In my homily during the Mass, I told them “Remember, St Matthias will always be your home. You are always welcome here at St. Matthias. I hope you will continue to attend the Sunday Mass here, I hope you will continue to be altar servers. And I will be very happy if all of you can participate as readers/lectors and be ushers/ministers of hospitality, or join the choir.”
Maintaining our St. Matthias School would not have been possible without the cooperation of parents, well-wishers of our parish community and other interested persons. So many of you – even though you have no children of your own in the school – have been very supportive and appreciative of the school in many different ways, especially through becoming “Tuition Angels” who brought much needed relief to so many families in financial straits. Thank you. Let us continue our efforts to bring the mission of Jesus Christ to as many more as possible through our commitment to St. Matthias Church and School.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal