I am a graduate of Blessed Sacrament School and Aquinas High School in La Crosse. And I'm proud of it! Those 12 years of Catholic education gave me a solid foundation to prepare me for higher education and work.
Nurturing faith. But beyond the academics, I believe my Catholic school education developed and nurtured my faith. In elementary school, we were privileged to attend Mass every morning. Back in those days, we couldn't eat breakfast until after Mass, so we brought our breakfast and lunch with us. I can't remember any students complaining about going to Mass every day - it was just a part of our routine.
We also had religion classes every day, with a visit from a parish priest at least once a week. Prayers, sacramental preparation, and service projects were all part of our Catholic school education. We were also expected to attend Sunday Mass and special services in our parish. I can still remember going to Mother of Perpetual Help Novenas on Tuesday nights with my family.
The faith element was interwoven into my entire life in those days. Since then, my faith has remained strong through the ups and downs of life. I thank my parents and teachers for their influence.
Continuing the tradition. Today, Catholic schools continue that tradition. "Faith in Every Student" is the theme of this year's Catholic Schools Week, being observed from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 in Catholic schools throughout the country and in our own Diocese of Madison. This theme emphasizes the fact that faith is the most important thing being taught in Catholic schools.
Academic excellence is important. Catholic students should be given a thorough knowledge of reading, writing, arithmetic, as well as science, history, the arts, physical education, and every area. They should be well prepared for high school, college, and future jobs.
But our ultimate goal should not be an MBA or a high-paying job, as good as these might be. Those are just temporary achievements. Our ultimate goal is life-everlasting in heaven. To attain that goal, we need to be introduced to Jesus, our Savior. We need to learn about the Gospel, the teachings of the Catholic Church, and the lives of the saints. We must learn how to pray and worship God. And we should learn how to live out our faith in service.
Support Catholic schools. During Catholic Schools Week, let us join in thanking Catholic school principals, teachers, and staff for all they do to prepare students for that ultimate goal. Consider supporting your local Catholic school or your "alma mater" with your time, talent, and treasure. Let's make sure our Catholic schools can continue to nurture "Faith in Every Student" for years to come.
Mary C. Uhler, editor
Priests enjoy many interests
To the editor:
Again I enjoyed reading the vocation articles in the Jan. 13th Catholic Herald. I especially enjoyed reading about Ben Kessler, who plays football for the University of St. Thomas while he attends St. John Vianney Seminary. Obviously he loves football and he also loves the Lord!
Ben's love of football reminds me too that as priests love and serve God, they also enjoy hobbies and interests. I learned this when I was about to apply as an "adult vocation" to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The hobbies and skills of their seminarians fascinated me. These future priests included a racer, accountant, teacher, artist, writer, and others.
Priests have diverse hobbies and interests. Some of them are joggers, marathon runners, athletes, racehorse owners, carpenters, editors, scholars, musicians, Packer priests, artists, golfers, photographers, etc. I myself was privileged to coach baseball for 36 years, mostly as a priest.
Hobbies, interests, and prayer help to relax and renew priests. As we priests enjoy our hobbies and interests, may love of God, priesthood, and people remain our top priority. I don't think that we can serve God faithfully until and during retirement without such love.
Let us continue to encourage all vocations!
Fr. Don Lange, Ridgeway
Who is the real Grinch?
To the editor:
During this past holy season, in modern terms, I felt like the "Grinch stole Christmas."
In conversations with friends who live in several different senior housing complexes, I was told that the managers received a directive from powers that be that they were not to say "Merry Christmas" to the residents but to say "happy holidays" instead.
They were not to display a Nativity scene or anything religious. They strongly suggested to the residents that they not display a Nativity on their patios or decks. Keep it in your apartments!
In one complex the manager went so far as to cut the wings off the treetop angel! To add insult to injury I believe at least one of these complexes was financed by Catholic Charities.
Who is the real Grinch? The very small minority who are working hard to take God out of our Constitution, our Pledge of Allegiance, our families through abortion, our schools, and now the season that remembers Christ's birth, our CHRISTmas?
OR is the real Grinch the SILENT MAJORITY, those of us who sit back and do nothing? SHAME ON US!!!
Cathi Nelson, Watertown
Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
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