Dear Students, Teachers, School Administrators and Parents,
As we begin a new school year this month, it gives me an opportunity to welcome you back to school, to thank you for your commitment to Catholic Education, and to share some of my hopes for you in the months and years ahead.
Our schools are proudly Catholic. Their very identity stems from the mission entrusted, first to the Apostles and then to the whole Church: “Go out to the world and preach the Good News.” He sent them, not as individuals, but as a community, each a member of his own Body.
This notion of community is essential in who we are and what we do. We are bound together by connections that go beyond the classroom, school, family and parish. We are bound together by the Lord Himself, by our proclamation of the Word of the Lord and our celebration of the Sacraments. That is why our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is so essential to our identity as Catholics. Weekly Mass gives us the opportunity to celebrate the ties of faith and Christian life that bind us to a vast community of believers, here and throughout the world.
We have said so often that parents are the “first and best teachers” of their children in all things, especially in the ways of faith. So it is important that we give to them tools that help them appreciate and exercise this most grave responsibility. Parish and School Faith Formation programs aim at this. As your children are prepared to celebrate the Sacraments – Holy Communion, Confirmation and Penance – you and your families are invited also to renew your ties with the Lord and the Church. I encourage you and your entire family to take advantage of these opportunities to continue to learn and grow in your relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Our young people have a deep longing to belong. If we do not guide them to come to know the love of the Lord, His care for them, they will look in other places. The Catholic School is equipped to work in partnership with parents to fill this longing.
At the beginning of this year, I offer you my thanks, my encouragement and my prayers that the days, weeks and months ahead are filled with learning that draws us all closer together in Christ, who is our way, our truth and our life.
I would like to take the opportunity to welcome our new Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Jennifer Beltramo. I am grateful that she accepted our offer to come to San Jose, and I look forward to working with her in the months ahead. And, finally, I also welcome Bishop Oscar Cantú, our Coadjutor Bishop. Although he will not officially arrive until the end of September, he celebrated Mass earlier this month as we marked the beginning of the school year with the teachers and administrators of all of our schools. What a wonderful start of the new year!
May God bless you all.
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose