For this week’s Principal’s Message, I feel compelled to speak about what separates our school from others, meaning non-Catholic schools. Our entire staff, teachers, administrators, aides, office staff, and rectory staff, attended our annual Spirituality Day on Friday, February 15th, at San Alfonso Retreat Center. And, although past retreats have been wonderful, this year’s took on a whole new significance for all involved!
The retreat was facilitated by Colleen Kelly-Rayner, a woman who provides workshops, retreats, conferences, and talks that everyone can relate to. Her quick wit, high-energy, real-life experiences, and knowledge of the faith create an experience that you can’t help but pay attention to. You never quite know what Colleen is going to do. Colleen has worked with thousands of pre-teens, teens, woman's groups, parishes, teachers, clergy, and just about anyone else she can get to listen to her! She has been participating in ministry for the last twenty years. Colleen answered God’s call to ignite the fire of God’s love in His people though an alternative style of evangelization.
Colleen’s focus for the day was for all of us to identify the most important thing in our lives (Jesus), to remove the clutter from our lives so we can focus upon Him, and, to distinguish ourselves as a “passionately Catholic” institution through our actions and our deeds while being joyful for who we are in Christ. I think we all take this for granted because we work at Saint Mary School and believe this will happen organically. As we all know, this is not always the case.
Colleen gave us practical ways in which we can ensure that everyone associated with the school and parish knows that we are a Catholic institution. She spoke of spending time with God every day, reading Scripture, journaling about our faith journey, writing things we’re grateful for on a daily basis, listening to Christian music, being a blessing to others, and going to mass. She inferred that doing these things will “spill over” into our daily lives and have a positive impact on all we encounter. If we all do this, we will assuredly present ourselves as a Catholic school and truly be “different” than other non-Catholic schools. If we are not different, then there’s no reason for us to continue on! Our job at SMS is to create an experience that allows Jesus to touch the hearts of each person we come across. We all have the ability to open up the faith and share it with others in such a real way that people leave Saint Mary School on fire for God.
Please check our website, Facebook page and the Church bulletin for updates and upcoming events that you can enjoy with us. Please continue to pray for our school, its staff, students and families, and our clergy as we strive to provide an education that is unapologetically Catholic, family centered, caring to others and respectful to all. “It’s a great day to be a Saint!”
God bless you all,
Craig Palmer, Principal