In Pope Francis' message for Lent, he fittingly gravitates towards the Jubilee Year of Mercy as a source of inspiration. Jesus uttered the simplest justification for mercy during his public ministry: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). The Pope explains that, "the mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand."
This fixation on mercy is not without connection to Catholic education. An authentic and dynamic Catholic education instructs and forms children to know the truth, and subsequently practice mercy. But we cannot practice mercy unless we are willing to allow ourselves to be transformed by the saving grace of Christ. Pope Francis again identifies the ultimate expression of mercy: "In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him 'mercy incarnate' ( Misericordiae Vultus , 8)."
Like most things in life, this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, we will continue to relentlessly soften the hearts of children, so they can both know WHO mercy is, and therefore become a missionary of mercy.
I was so pleased when the faculty presented the "Year of Mercy" as the theme for Catholic Schools' Week. Students will decorate classroom doors, experiencing first-hand the Holy Door; the Holy Door represents that the Church is open to sinners. We will also demonstrate our knowledge of the truth in math and spelling bees, sharing the academic excellence achieved in good-natured competition, for we must be merciful at all times, even in tense moments. Students in grades 1-8 will also submit essays on mercy.
Academic and moral excellence, made manifest in the works of mercy: this is the greatest gift of Catholic education. It is also the path forward in a movement fundamentally aimed at transforming the culture through the renewal of Catholic education.
Yours Truly In Christ,