First Down (August 5, 2018)

Dear Friends,

I can recall watching news stories about children in third world countries being grateful to be able to attend school. Maybe through social strife or weather damage the school buildings were destroyed, and the report was about the struggle to get the school going again. Stories about children facing dangers because of certain resistance from people who did not want children educated. In some cases supplies might not be plentiful and it was difficult for the children to learn.

I also recall the great generosity of many people sending supplies, teachers, money and other types of resources to help with the education of these children. There were people in such places that knew the importance of education and how it was important to the future of that area. For me, growing up, the struggle of going to school was nowhere close to what was shown on many of those television news reports. I would take my education for granted. As I remember, I felt I had no choice because the law said I needed to go to school, or at least I was told that!

This Sunday our parish community will be offering a blessing for students of every level of learning, teachers/instructors and all who support the education system in any way. The sad part in our country today is that we really cannot take education for granted. The challenges that our young people face in social settings are very difficult. The costs of education for our older students who are extending their education can be stressful. The safety of all in the school setting is a concern for every school. These are different times.

So I am asking the community to keep in prayer everyone in our educational system. People in other parts of the world who struggle for a basic education can help us have a better perspective of what a gift education really is.

We pray for protection for our students from the mean and awful words and actions that come from those who act like bullies. We pray for protection from physical harm that also can damage the peace of mind for many years after. For our government leaders and those who are advocates for education, that solutions can be worked on to make certain that all areas receive the resources of a good education.

We can also thank God for those whose experiences of school are great. For friendships, for the passion of learning, for those who love the vocation of teaching and for the many who work behind the scenes to make our school systems work in harmony. For parents who give of their time for not only their own children but for the experience of many other children. May God bless all friendships, relationships, and every learning setting.

God we thank you for the gift of learning.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric