By Liz Sullivan
In the Diocese of San Jose it marks the unofficial start of the school year – the annual Convocation Mass. On August 13, teachers and officials from across the Diocese traveled to Mission Santa Clara at Santa Clara University to celebrate the new school year.
For the Department of Catholic Schools, it marked its own new beginning as Jennifer Beltramo succeeds Kathy Almazol as Superintendent of Schools.
Those in attendance were also honored to have Coadjutor Bishop Oscar Cantú celebrate the Mass. Bishop Cantú was appointed by Pope Francis to the Diocese of San Jose on July 11.
Before Mass, as Beltramo welcomed the hundreds of teachers gathered, she spoke of the relationship between God and education.
“Each of us in this room has a unique calling from God,” she said, as her obvious passion for teaching in Catholic Schools came through in the tone of her voice. “Our relationship with God is the common thread through all of our actions and service. God has called each and every one of us by name. We are united across our entire diocese with a shared purpose; to inspire and strengthen our next generation of Catholic Faith.”
Beltramo continued: “I am humbled by the passion and commitment of so many of you in this room. It is truly a privilege to walk with each of you on this journey.”
For Bishop Cantú, this Mass was his second appearance in the Diocese, after meeting with Chancery staff shortly after his appointment.
The Bishop, who holds several advance degrees, said he comes from a family of teachers including a grandmother and two sisters who are both teachers and principals. Also, the Bishop spent about five years teaching at Saint Thomas University in Houston and at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Houston.
“A good teacher knows his subject and a good teacher loves his subject matter,” Bishop Cantú began his homily. “A good teacher must come to know and love his students.”
The focus of the Bishop’s homily was the idea of wonder leading to the power of Wonderful.
“Wonder is each life sifting through our fingers as each year passes,” he said. “It escapes from our heart. It is engraved in our DNA and it can be recovered. Why do we need wonder? Because it is an openness to receive the wonderfulness of our God. If you know and love your subject matter you know the wonderful of God. Open yourself to God. Dignity seeks dignity and wonder seeks the wonderful.”
Bishop Cantú concluded, “A good teacher never stops learning. Today I pray for all of you. I pray that this may be a year of wonder; wonder of speech, wonder of heart, wonder of mind and wonder of attitude. Wonder inspires what is most wonderful.”