By Liz Sullivan
The Diocese of San José officially kicked off the 2019-2020 school year on August 12 with the Annual Convocation Mass at Mission Santa Clara on the campus of Santa Clara University.
Bishop Oscar Cantú was the celebrant, with assistance from priests throughout the Diocese.
Before the Mass, Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Beltramo addressed the hundreds of teachers and principals from the Diocese’s 26 elementary schools.
“Catholic schools play a unique role in education,” said Beltramo. “Those in it boldly and unabashedly stand with Christ. Catholic schools have a deep and personal relationship with Christ. Christ is a vital part of ministry.”
For Bishop Cantú, Catholic education is something near and dear to his heart and his ministry. The Bishop is a product of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in Texas. He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning a licentiate in sacred theology and a doctorate dogmatic theology.
“We have all been reflecting on the tragedies in Gilroy, in El Paso and in Dayton,” said the Bishop, “and what it says about us and our nation. When I thought of them, my mind came to you (the teachers). You see young hearts and young minds. Day in and day out you get to know them. You have an important position of influence. It is important for the students to have respect for our brothers and sisters in need and (understand) that everyone in need is our neighbor.”
The Bishop continued: “How we treat the least of those is how we treat Jesus. We belong to one another. It is a simple message in this day and age. I ask that you be a source of inspiration for the students and help them build that sense of unity.
In addition to being home to 26 elementary schools from Palo Alto to Gilroy, the Diocese of San José has six Catholic high schools and Santa Clara University, run by the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits.
“As we begin a new year, how do we ensure that each of our students deeply knows Christ and deeply sees Christ, so they can encounter Christ?,” Beltramo asked. “It takes deliberate and intentional action on a daily basis for each of us to know Christ. God has called each of us by name to this place and to this time. Here is to another incredible journey this year.”
To learn more about Catholic education in the Diocese of San José, visit www.dsj.org/education.