Catholic Schools Week 2018

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2018  Catholic Schools Week 

Sun

Jan 28

Monday

Jan 29

Tuesday

Jan 30

Wed

Jan 31

Thur

Feb 1

Fri

Feb 2

Students attend weekend mass in uniform

 

Sat:

Orleans 4:00 PM

Troy 6:00 PM

 

 

 

Sun

North Troy 8:00 AM

Orleans  10:30 AM

 

8:30 School Mass

 

Community Dinner

 

7/8        11:15

 

5/6         11:30

 

Prek        11:45

 

K             12:00

 

1/2        12:10

 

3/4        12:15

 

 

*Regular Music classes

Winter Fun (Extended PE)

 

8:30-10:00            Prek- 4

 

11:45

Whole School Dance

 

 

1:00-2:30

5-8

 

7/8- 8AM-3:30PM

Bishop’s Mass in Burlington (10:00)

Food Drive

Best School Uniform

 

 

3-6   Bus to Irasburg

9:00 AM

Sledding

12:15 Lunch at Irasburg Church

1:00 Mass

Dress comfy

 

 

Prek, K 1-2

Snowshoe at Crystal, Movie in your PJs

Buddy Day

 

7/8 -Prek, K ,

11:30-12:15 (recess)

 

5 & 1- 2

10:30-11:30

 

6 & 3-4

10:30-11:30

 

Open House 

5:00-6:30 PM

Computer Lab will be available to update your Parent account for Ren Web. We will be opening enrollment soon.

 

Winter Activities

 

Burke or

 

LSC for swim and gym

Uniform Dress up Or School Uniform Sports Attire Dress like a twin or triplet Dress down

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A January 24th public letter was published by Fr. Naples in the Barton Chronicle in anticipation of Catholic Schools Week 2018. Here is the letter with additional notes included.

 

Next week is National Catholic Schools week, and I am eager to promote the cause of my own parish’s Catholic school. But this letter is equally for sharing my story and philosophy of education. For those who come along this quick sojourn of a Catholic priest’s reflection on education, I hope I share a meaningful thought or two. So as not to bore the same literary companions – whoever is still reading – I jump through the years of my Catholic education with a just a note or two for each phase of that blessed journey. It was not the typical journey of Catholic Schools students.

My Catholic mother thought she wanted to be a professional elementary school teacher, but she never held a job in the field. Instead she ended up homeschooling five children – me, being the middle – each at least part of our K-through-12 education. I was either stupid-lucky or extremely blessed, because the right combination of natural aptitudes and interests, along with chance opportunities, led me to jump from homeschooling to college before the age of 17. It was principally a love of chemistry that opened my great abilities in science and mathematics. Living a few miles off campus to an exceptionally well-staffed chemistry undergraduate department, they recruited me before I saw it coming. I became a nationally ranked chemistry student under their tutelage, graduating at the age of 20. But following the example of a certain biblical pearl merchant[1], I dropped the promising career in chemistry, and spent the next six years in preparation for church ministry. Ordained a Catholic priest at the age of 26, with my two Masters degrees in theology, I started a different kind of career.

A constant force in this story is the love of learning and love of truth, ever since I was first drawing with utmost fascination and intrigue the molecular structures for carboxylic acids in ninth grade. This love eventually turned me to study subjects which for years had been uninteresting to me. Perhaps only biblically conversant Christians will understand that I say “a love of truth”[2] was there, and not “a love of learning truths.” The best I can describe this is that I experienced firsthand and personally the mysterious thing of a confluence of belief in a creator and a curious awe and wonder about creation.[3] Other parts of my own spiritual testimony in this matter may follow, but I focus on this thought. It is not wrong to say that a love for truth is what sustained me when thrown into roles of teaching, and then administrating, in Catholic schools, when I was truly unprepared for either task. It is a love for truth that is largely responsible for my efforts to promote and develop a local Catholic school. It is here that I apply to our current educational climate, with all its challenges, that idea that there is a difference between loving to learn truths and a love of learning truth. Truth itself must be lovable. Education cannot be the mere imparting of facts. It cannot be the mere passing on of skills that have proved, in a utilitarian way, to produce “results.”

A phrase that I’m sure everyone has heard is that students “fall through the cracks” in public schools. I have never wholly adopted the phrase, because I’m not sure I completely agree with it. I offer an alternate picture, that some students lie stranded in ditches and trenches made by cultural revolutions in our country. To keep the geological analogy of “falling through cracks,” these changes in culture are more like geological shifts that made glacier sized ditches. The best kinds of public school teachers, those I think most loved and respected by the public, have come to encounter some children long after the cracks turned into chasms beneath them.[4] The best of teachers look down at such students, helplessly wishing they could pull those students up and out of these life situations, but are either not able to do so, or are not allowed to. In part every good teacher is battling a cultural entropy, and those in the public schools are finding they have fewer and fewer tools to do so. The tools were intentionally abandoned by the bad teachers and the bad cultural architects of the previous decades.[5] Catholic schools kept more of those tools of cultural influence. Such things as increased parent participation, volunteerism, and the ability to affirm religious energies in society have helped us much, even if they were only an accidental benefit of the separation of Church and State.[6]

A year and a half ago my school was pledged the largest single private donation ever in our history, and Mr. Tony Pomerleau happily fulfilled his $120,000 commitment. After this unprecedented boost to our finances (20 years in the waiting since it was once announced the school was “broke and closing shop”) we are bracing ourselves for the prospect of using his gift intentionally to budget deficits, so that we do not turn ourselves into a private tutoring service for the middle class. Our families and parishioners are also taxpayers. It is an investment in the families who are with us here and now, for the good of church and society and culture, that St. Paul’s is only announcing the slightest increase in yearly tuition, while at the same time making even greater substantial discounts for families with multiple children. Other potential discounts and credits are reflecting more and more the reality that it is due to commitments made by families, as families, that we continually offer a good education in the Catholic tradition. Without the backing of taxpayers, our schools have always been powered by vows. It so happens now that marriage vows provide more energy and creativity than religious vows (though I supply what energy and creativity I can through my ecclesiastical state of celibacy). If the vows hold strong, a Catholic School will fulfill its tasks regardless of money or a shortage therefore. If the vows are broken, no amount of money will save the cultural loss.

It goes without saying there have been families who enrolled in Catholic schools only to leave saying that they were not getting enough for what they had paid in. It is the miracle that such a school as St. Paul’s can continue to exist because so many families feel they have gotten much more than they paid in. It is a counterpoint to our Catholic faith that if we know the one who redeems the world we ourselves do not claim to be saviors. No earthly product is free; we cannot create ex nihilo like God.[7] All visions of world-wide salvation rely on faith,[8] and education in an intellectual sense has not eradicated poverty, or drugs, or broken families, or ruined lives. It has only revealed some widening gaps between the “haves” and “have nots.” This is not only where Catholic schools have something to say. It is where we should be stating the one unique educational doctrine that we have ever had. Education will not redeem the world.[9] Gnosticism has always been anathama to us.[10] Our Scriptures say “love is strong as death,”[11] and it is love that is redemptive. It is love that turns the cross into the resurrection. Catholic schools hold a particularly powerful, even if sometimes controversial, vision of the revelation of love.[12]

The mere existence of Catholic schools in this Northeastern U.S., a part of the U.S. of diminished religious adherence, has a value as a sign of witness. I will not offer the shallow argument that Catholic schools are good for society because we can provide such unique attention and loving care to the kids who need it most. Their families as a whole need it most, and that long term project costs us the most. We are partners in a loving project even with those who do not offer mutual support for our work. Because of a certain religious doctrine we continue to witness to a means to love which we have found in a tradition we call Catholic. It is not that we have a certain truth that is useful, it is that Truth is itself lovable, or God is no longer good. For those not convinced, we wish you well, and affirm whatever truths we can both acknowledge. For those uncertain, I say, come and see if you love the things we love.

Happy Catholic Schools Week to all friends of Catholic schools and Catholic school families.

Rev. Fr. Timothy Naples, Pastor of St. Paul’s Catholic School, Barton

[1] Matthew 13:45-46 was one of many real inspirations for me in this decision.

[2] I thought often of John 14:6 in this letter. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

[3] Romans 1:20 expresses much of what was said in the Book of Wisdom.

[4] I think of generational poverty, a culture of divorce, of cohabitation and/or fatherless children, of drug abuse in the home, of alcoholism etc. We can also say that materialism in our culture is spiritual rut. Few people who are fed on materialism ever break completely free, although a mixture of Christian influences, which are still found in society, often give some balance so that more affluent children are not completely corrupted by pleasures.

[5] Did public authorities intentionally undermine the role and authority of parents? Did “advanced” teachers intentionally promote agnosticism as an pretense for intellectual freedom, and did this trend trickle into the public schools? Are there small ways that the average elementary teacher just gave up and settled to get by and have the kids merely pass? These I consider an abandonment of the means that are needed to keep a culture healthy, especially with an openness to God.

[6] These are in mixed order of importance in my mind. Without any religion, culture will rot. Without healthy cultures, families fall prey to corruptions. Without sound and prosperous families, community involvement will dwindle.

[7] The phrase means “from nothing.” It is only applied to God’s free act of creation. God created everything from nothing, and only he can create “from nothing.”

[8] This means both religious visions and secular visions. There are many people who are out to save the world, and who pretty-much state their mission in these universal terms, even though they work only on the societal level. They do not think of life after death, at all, for their vision of salvation.

[9] Knowing the truth is only one part. Both truth and charity are necessary.

[10] Gnosticism was a varied movement in the ancient world which claimed to share spiritual secrets for the salvation of those who joined their sects. The word means, in transliteration of Greek, Knoweldge-ism or knowing-sim. Orthodox Christians always condemned these religions, and the word anathema means “condemned.”

[11] Song of Solomon 8:6

[12] One reference for this is 1 John 3:16, with other verses in 1 John.