Diocese of San Jose Ushers in New School Year With Convocation Mass

Diocese of San Jose Ushers in New School Year With Convocation Mass

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Keynote speaker Kevin Baxter, Senior Director and Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, chats with Sister Jane Estoesta, 5th grade religion teacher at Saint Simon School, before the Convocation Mass.

By Liz Sullivan

It has become an annual tradition in the Diocese of San Jose, and this year it fell on the Feast of the Assumption.

On August 15, at Mission Santa Clara on the campus of Santa Clara University, the Diocese held the Department of Education’s Convocation Mass. This is the eighth consecutive year the Mass has been held at the Mission, and it traditionally ushers in the start of school.

This year’s Mass featured a talk by Kevin Baxter, Senior Director and Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Patrick J. McGrath celebrated the Mass before teachers, principals and staff of the Diocese’s 28 elementary schools.

“Thank you for saying YES to Catholic education,” said Diocese of San Jose Superintendent Kathy Almazol as she welcomed everyone.

During his talk, Baxter focused on the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, which each teacher and principal in the Diocese was asked to read during the summer.

“Good is the enemy of great,” said Baxter, quoting from the book. “The history of Catholic schools is tremendous. That good can be dangerous because sometimes we can be challenged not to be great. Greatness is not an end point, but ongoing and dynamic. The next step is the hardest because it becomes the baseline of what we compare. In education you should continually strive to do great things.”

Baxter added, quoting from the book, “good leaders look out the window for their successes and in the mirror for their failures. By looking out the windows they are praising everyone who has supported them along the way.”

Finally, Baxter offered some words of encouragement to the educators as they embark on the new school year.

“We are all people of faith, and God never questions what we are doing,” said Baxter. “He knows we are in the right place.

Remember it is all about relationships and it is always about the kids.”

During his homily, the Bishop reminded the educators of their roles.

“You have all heard me say it a thousand times, but it bears repetition once more,” said the Bishop. “In your privileged role as educators, you are entrusted with that which is most precious to our community, the lives of our children. Remember this when the going gets tough, and it will. But remember also that because of your privileged position, you share with their parents the molding of the adults that each of these young people will one day become.”

Click here for more school news including a welcome message from Kathy Almazol, Superintendent of Schools.