Pushing or Encouraging?

February 9, 2017

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard High School parent community:

For your consideration…

Are we pushing our kids too hard? Let me start by saying that this is not an indictment of you, me, or our school community. Also, I should warn you that I will not be offering a definitive response to this question. I am simply inviting you to reflect on the question as I often do.

I find myself wondering if we are pushing young people to achieve “success” as defined by society while making minimal effort to help them discern who God wants them to be. Continue reading

Priceless

January 27, 2017

My weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community:

Catholic Schools Week begins next week. I thought it might be a good time to once again share some thoughts on the value of a Catholic education. With free public education nearby, there may be some who are taking a hard look at the cost of educating their child(ren) at Bishop Chatard. My hope is that consideration is given to value rather than cost alone.

Faith – The Catholic faith permeates every aspect of our school. We instruct in the faith through the work of our Theology Department. We celebrate our faith at weekly all-school Mass. We pray. We pray at the beginning of each day and at the beginning of each class. Every meeting I attend begins with prayer. We offer Reconciliation every other week and Adoration monthly. The staff regularly participates in faith formation sessions and has after-school scripture study available to them. All members of the school community are experiencing ongoing faith formation simply by being here. Continue reading

Resisting Judgment

January 19, 2017

Weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard High School parents:

Some of the best advice I have ever received was given to me about six years ago. It was the first night I worked with HOOP, an organization serving the unsheltered homeless in and around downtown Indianapolis. We bring food, clothing, blankets, hats, gloves, etc. to homeless people living along the river or under bridges. Steve, the crew leader for the night, was putting me through a brief orientation. He told me, “When someone comes forward and tells us what they need, we don’t second guess their needs. We just serve them.”

Then the life-changing advice came: “We don’t judge people because we don’t know their story.” That advice hit me hard and has stuck with me. It has changed how I interact with people – all people, not just the homeless. It has helped me become a less judgmental person, and a more compassionate one. Continue reading

Walking the Walk

January 12, 2017

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community: 

Happy New Year to the Bishop Chatard High School community! I hope the holidays provided the opportunity to re-kindle your faith and spend time with loved ones.

While the Bishop Chatard students did not return to the classroom until January 5, the staff began their work one day prior. We preach to our students constantly about the need to serve our community. We tell them it’s important to think outside of ourselves and to show love and compassion for others. It was time to walk the walk.

So last Wednesday, the Bishop Chatard staff, 83 adults – teachers, administrators, support staff, Advancement Office, Business Office, Campus Ministry, and Trojan Tot teachers – spent the morning working at Gleaners Food Bank on the southwest side of Indianapolis. We loaded up our five mini-buses and went, as a family, to serve others.

The need is great. Gleaners, always in need of volunteers, put us to work. The results of our labor: Wednesday morning, we were able to inspect, process, and pack enough donated food to provide meals for over 15,000 people.

Our efforts captured the spirit of who we are as a school community. It was good work, and I am proud of our staff for their willingness to participate. It was humbling work as well – so many people live in poverty and go without food. What we did was just a tiny step in reaching out to those in need. We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve.

Carol Wagner, Director of Campus Ministry (and my beautiful wife), put together a video slideshow of our efforts. Click on the link below to watch:

If you and your family would like to serve at Gleaners, you may call the Volunteer Department at 317-925-0191. If you would like to find out about other ways to volunteer, donate, or get involved, visit their website at: http://www.Gleaners.org

All the best to you and your family for a prosperous, happy, and faith-filled New Year!

 

Welcome Him Every Day!

December 15, 2016

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community:

I read a passage in an Advent reflection book the other day and it made me think. It said that while we designate a certain number of days liturgically as the season of Advent – days of preparation for the coming of Jesus – we should live our lives as to prepare for and welcome Jesus every day. This idea resonated with me. It is like Thanksgiving. We choose a Thursday in November each year to celebrate Thanksgiving, but we should be giving thanks every day for all of our blessings. Continue reading

Thanks, Coach

December 8, 2016

The following is my weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard HS parent community:

This past Monday morning, Vince Lorenzano announced his resignation as Head Football Coach at Bishop Chatard High School. He has been at BCHS for sixteen years, fourteen as head of the football program. He has put in a total of twenty-six years as a head coach at three different schools.

He is the longest serving head football coach in BCHS history, and his teams have won seven state championships on his watch.

That is all great data, but if you know Vince, you know he could care less about any of it. Like him or not, agree with his football strategy or not, what you see is what you get with Vince. Continue reading

True Happiness, Spiritual Excellence, and Rebellion

November 17, 2016

Weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard High School parent community:

Bishop Robert Barron recently had the opportunity to address 9,000 teenagers in Los Angeles. It was a beautiful message of spiritual truth – defining happiness, excellence, and even rebellion in practical terms. I share his words with you now and will echo his words in future school Mass homilies!

I shared three spiritual truths that I invited them to internalize. First, I said, if they want to be happy, they have to play an emptying game rather than a filling game. The secular culture, in a thousand ways, tells them that the key to happiness is filling up their lives with the goods of the world, more specifically, with money, sensual pleasure, power, and fame. Watch, I told them, practically any movie, listen to practically any popular song, attend to practically any pop star, and you’ll hear this message over and over again, repeated ad nauseam. But precisely because we have all been wired for God, which is to say, for an infinite happiness, none of these finite goods will ever satisfy the longing of the heart. Indeed, the more relentlessly we seek them, the less satisfying and more addictive they become. The game, instead, should be contriving a way to make your life a gift. The formula behind this resolution, I explained, is rather straightforward. Since God alone fills up the emptiness of the heart, and since God is love, then only a life of radical love will actually fulfill us and make us happy. Though it conforms to the strictest logic, this message has always been hard to take in. It has always appeared as counter-cultural. Continue reading