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Catholic Education Is a Cornerstone for Community
Our Archdiocese celebrated Catholic Schools Week these last five days. Fr. Brendan celebrated a Catholic Schools Week liturgy at Notre Dame Preparatory School on Wednesday, and was blessed to hear Tricia K. deliver a beautiful call to worship to her classmates, fellow students, and the faculty and staff at NDP. We at ECB are grateful to Tricia for sharing her reflection on Catholic education and community.
Good morning. When I was asked to give the call to worship for today’s liturgy, I must be honest, I was humbled, but I didn’t know where to start. Then, a memory popped up in my head, which is where this call to worship begins:
It was a warm and sunny day in May, and my brother and I were walking into school with our class colors for the annual Immaculate Conception School Fun Run. Normally, my sister would’ve accompanied my brother and I to school, but not that morning. Instead, she was in an operating room early in the morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital, sound asleep while some incredible cardiovascular surgeons were improving her life. You see, my sister was born with a heart condition that impacted much of her childhood. On that day in May, she finally had the opportunity to live a normal life like any other kid. While she was in the hospital, I walked into the middle school hallway all sorts of nervous and anxious about my sister’s procedure. Her procedure was all I could think about. Then, I saw all my friends wearing white T-shirts that said: “4JGK” (my sister’s initials). My best friend’s mother had made shirts for my sister’s heart procedure and got all the girls in my grade to wear the shirts that day.
If I were to describe my Catholic School experience before that day, I would say that I was a bystander. All my life, I had heard of how impactful Catholic schools were on my family. My mother attended NDP and can talk endlessly about her time here. My father’s entire career revolved around Catholic schools. I’d always watched from the sidelines how impactful Catholic schools were on my family but never had I actually felt included in one. But I’d always longed to be a part of something greater. On that day in May, I finally understood what it meant to be part of a Catholic school: Creating a community.
It was that day when I learned what a Catholic community really is. Sure, I had learned that a community was a close-knit group that works for a common goal. But never had I felt what a true Catholic community was until that day in May: a group of people rooted in faith with the grace to put others before themselves. Catholic schools are the foundations, the building blocks if you will, for strong and beautiful communities, for bringing people together, and for uniting everyone to achieve a relationship with God. Catholic Schools are communities where we build one another up and push each other to be the best versions of ourselves. We need Catholic schools to help us grow so that we can change our world for the better and show the world God’s grace.
When I came to NDP, I discovered a place where I can cultivate and develop my own Catholic identity. With our endless service opportunities, we can share God’s grace with those around us. Within our own community, we can share our light with each other through our annual liturgies and traditions. Today, we celebrate our ability to attend a Catholic school where our relationship with God is strengthened and our community as a school is strong.
NDP is a strong Catholic school because it values the concept of community. This NDP community acts justly, loves tenderly, and walks humbly with God.
During today’s liturgy, I hope we remind ourselves about the true value of Catholic schools the way I was reminded on that day in May a few years ago.
I will never forget the love and support I felt from my class. Today, my sister is sitting in this auditorium with all of us, and every time I see her, I am reminded of how Catholic schools value something that we all need to cherish: community.
So today, let us celebrate the blessings that we all share within the NDP community with today’s liturgy.
Tricia K. is a junior at NDP and a member of Church of the Nativity parish in Timonium. She plays soccer, and scored her favorite goal against Mercy High School, because Catholic education in Baltimore is also all about the rivalries.