During Catholic Schools Week 2016, we are called to be mindful of the desire of Pope Francis that this year be marked as a special Holy Year of Mercy. In his letter announcing this year, the Holy Father reminded us that Jesus Christ Himself is the face of the Father’s mercy, and mercy is the first attribute of God’s love.
Mercy is a gift that we receive; it must also be a gift that we give. To know God’s mercy in our own lives opens in us a great capacity to show mercy to others. Some believe that mercy is a sign of weakness, an indication that we are less than firm in our dealings with others. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Mercy granted to others is a sign of strength, flowing from the reservoir of forgiveness and love that we ourselves experience.
Catholic Education is dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence within the framework of our faith. With the benefit of the Scriptures and Catholic Tradition, reference can be made to the many ways God is at work even now in the lives of students. Being called to be “Merciful as the Father,” Catholic Education can become a “School of Mercy,” in which the values of forgiveness and reconciliation are modeled and practiced. Likewise, Catholic Educators have a wonderful capacity to be “Teachers of Mercy.”
Catholic Education is one of the noblest of all of the ministries of the Church. Let us meet today’s challenges and continue to offer nothing less than our best in this great enterprise.
I repeat my expressions of thanks to parents who sacrifice much so that your sons and daughters may have a Catholic Education. I am also grateful to the parishes and religious communities that continue to sponsor our schools. To teachers, aids, staff and administrators, I offer heartfelt thanks for your great work.
May God bless you all.
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose