In the United States, Catholic Schools Week Begins this Sunday, the very day Pope Francis will address youth gathered from across the globe in Panama for World Youth Day. This year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week is Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. How might we prepare ourselves to celebrate this week? I think Francis offers us some important things to consider in his homily offered at the closing liturgy at the Synod on Youth held in Rome this past October.
During this homily Francis spoke of the journey of faith. He entreated young people to embrace the three fundamental steps on the journey of faith -- to listen, to be a neighbor and to bear witness.
I remain intrigued by Francis’ challenge both to young people and to those who accompany them to engage in the “apostolate of the ear: listening before speaking.” How disciplined are we in pausing in silence to listen and to attend to what is being shared with us?
Catholic Schools Week seems to be an ideal moment to consider both how we nurture within ourselves this capacity to listen with reverence as well as awaken in our students to desire to pause, to listen and truly to hear what is being said. This listening to understand is the essential foundation to be a neighbor and to bear witness to the love of God in the reality of the world.
Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.