Dear Friends in Christ,
This photo has often been the scene on or before Labor Day as the toys wish their children a happy first day of school. It was a bit different this year, wasn’t it? Despite the challenge, I’m sure the toys were very happy to have their children right at home in their Zoom classrooms where they can keep an eye on them!
As we begin this school year, I want to wish all of our parents, students, staff, teachers, aids, and volunteers a warm welcome back or welcome to (for those who are new) t the St. Patrick parish and school community. And to the parishioners of our three parish communities, it is time once again to keep the ministry of our Catholic school in your daily prayers. We are so blessed to have so many dedicated people working so hard to make Catholic education a reality during the challenging time of a pandemic. Yet, it is happening and happening well. We all look forward to the time when a normal classroom setting can be the norm, along with recess, play, Mass, and prayer together can happen once again.
As a reminder to our parishioners, and to our parents, especially those who are new to the school, a quick recap of two realities that make Saint Patrick Catholic School a success. These are two core values that provide the foundation for what we are about.
The first value I want to mention is community. All of our three parishes are a community of faith that provides the ministry of Catholic education to parents and children here in Tacoma. Notice I said, parents and children. The reality is that Catholic education is family formation. We offer a unique opportunity for families to be formed as disciples of the Lord Jesus in the Catholic Tradition. It’s for everybody’s growth and well being. In my years as a priest, I’ve seen some of the most meaningful growth in faith in our moms and dads.
This value of community also means that the faithful of our parishes are also part of what we often call the “school community.” In reality, we are one community that holds in “common” our belief that families are a gift from God which are worthy of nurture and formation so they can know and love God and neighbor. One of the things that were on my mind last spring and through the summer, that I expressed to the School Commission, was to make sure we strengthen our community in times such as these when we cannot be together for activities, events, and even prayer. Well, I feel our community has weathered a lot these past months and has shown the depth of love in our community. We are strong. But it is still something for us to be intentional about this fall. Especially with our new families who are just developing ties to the larger community. Let’s all take those intentional steps to reach out in love of God and neighbor and grow our community strong and centered on the formation we provide at Saint Patrick Catholic School, to old and new alike.
A second core value is our Catholic faith itself. As the pastor, my focus is always on reminding people, parishioners, children, and families that Jesus is the reason for this whole endeavor. Yet, our faith in Christ can sometimes become just another value among many that we share. This letter is a reminder that the Lord Jesus is THE value we must all acknowledge as we live our faith in our parishes and our school. You know, our school would not exist at all without the faith of our parishes and the prayer and celebration of Mass that takes place each day in our churches. Without the altars and the Eucharist celebrated on them, the school doors would be shut. That’s how important our faith in Christ is to this whole endeavor. I want to remind all parents and children that as you are being formed at our school and in your family life, that the life of the parish is an important part of it as well. For Catholic families, make the commitment to become more active in parish life than you are right now. Talk to other families who have made this a priority for themselves and how it has impacted their lives. And I know it has; I’ve seen it firsthand. I am always surprised that more families don’t go “all in” to get the most out of what our parish and school community offers in this way. And to our new families, come up the hill or go over to Holy Cross or St. Rita of Cascia and join us in prayer each Sunday and during the week. We are always here, praying for you and welcoming you every step of the way! Let’s keep our parishes as strong as our school.
My friends, let’s begin this new year in a spirit of faith, hope, and love like we never have before. Whatever challenge comes our way; we can be sure that we will prevail for we “can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.” Philippians 4:13.
Blessings in Christ the Lord,
Fr. David Mulholland