The Diocese of San Jose celebrated the start of Catholic Schools Week on February 1 with a Mass in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph for students and staff. Later that evening, the Diocese held a donor reception at Archbishop Mitty High School.
In the Diocese, there are 29 elementary schools and seven high schools serving about 17,000 students.
During his homily, Monsignor Francis V. Cilia, Vicar General, who presided over the Mass, used the theme of Star Wars and the new movie “The Force Awakens.” Cilia linked it to the Year of Mercy, which began December 8, 2015, and runs through November 20.
“We can all use the Force, God’s grace, God’s Life,” he said. “In this Year of Mercy, God’s Mercy is not just one part of God, but God’s way of being present to us. It is the force of God’s life. We celebrate the gift of God’s mercy through the gift of education. We are all called to be schools of mercy because by doing that we are schools of God’s love.”
Cilia continued, “The force is strong with you as you listen and work in class. As you work with each other, even as you do your dreaded homework. The force is strong with you on the playground and in the gym. The force is strong with you in the ways you show mercy. The force is strong here in this church because you are here; you are the church.”
Molly Bonini, a student at Mitty, spoke about how fortunate the students are to receive a Catholic education.
“We are so blessed,” she said. “The Year of Mercy calls us to seek experiences that cause mercy.”
Among the presentations at the donor reception were comments by two retiring elementary school principals: Judy Perkowski, founding principal of Saint John the Baptist School and Gail Harrell, principal at Holy Family School. Together, the pair have more than 80 years experience teaching in Catholic schools.
“The gift of what we have is our community,” said Perkowski.
Said Harrell, “Thank you for believing in Catholic education.”
Learn more about Catholic Schools, visit www.DSJ.org/education.