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Catholic Schools Week 2020 - For Our Parishes

on Sunday, 26 January 2020.

By: Deacon Nick Senger

Catholic Schools Week 2020 - Alliance for Catholic Education

Throughout Catholic Schools Week 2020, we'll be sharing some of our favorite Catholic Schools Week reflections that ACE graduates, team members, and friends have submitted over the years. The below reflection is from Deacon Nick Senger and was originally published in 2013

An empty Catholic school is a lonely place, and when students go home for the summer the atmosphere changes drastically. It's quieter, of course. There are no screaming kids at recess, no buzz of conversation down the halls, no tramping of feet before the beginning of daily Mass.

And it's cleaner, too. The desks are empty, the lockers are bare. The remnants of the year get swept away into piles and then carried out to the trash--leftover tests, forgotten lunch boxes, old pens and pencils. The floors shine again, white boards sparkle, the bathroom walls glisten.

A parish, too, feels different. There's a certain peace and quiet in a parish when school lets out for the summer. But there's also a certain hollowness. When Catholic school is in session there's an unmistakeable liveliness, an energy, a vibrancy in the parish. It's as unpredictable as the Holy Spirit, this mass of children who descend upon a parish school each autumn. They come like a mighty wind, waking up the community, bringing new life.

Catholic Schools Week 2020 - Alliance for Catholic EducationSometimes we like Church to be neat and tidy, but Church is a wonderfully messy reality. Church is the messiness of St. Francis of Assisi walking with the animals; it's the messiness of St. Catherine of Siena wrangling Pope Gregory back to Rome from Avignon; it's the messiness of Mother Teresa on the streets of Calcutta.

It's also the messiness of finger painting, glitter, and spilled milk. It's student lectors who don't read loud enough, and servers who fiddle with their robes, and kids who poke at each other during Mass.

It's the messiness of a young baby lying in a straw-filled manger; it's the messiness of Christ carrying a bloody cross to Calvary.

Amid all the mess, noise, and chaos, the Holy Spirit is at work.

The quiet of summer is all well and good, but there's a deep holiness in the tumult of watching children come alive in faith each day at a Catholic school.

Thank God for children, thank God for our messy Church, and thank God for Catholic schools.

Looking for ways to celebrate your parish? Visit the NCEA's website for a list of ideas!

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