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Column: Sometimes the fruits of our ministries blossom before our eyes

Kathy O'Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

Kathy O’Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

by Kathy O’Hara

Dear friends of Catholic schools,

One of my favorite Lenten activities is to attend Stations of the Cross at our Catholic schools. Praying the Stations is a great way to end any workweek, and praying with children truly adds a special dimension. In addition to the beautiful reflections on the passion of Jesus, praying with our students reminds me of my own days in Catholic schools, as well as the current experiences of my grandchildren.

We have so many wonderful traditions in our church. We in Catholic schools strive not to simply preserve them, but to fully embrace them, so that our students not only know about them, but also they know them in their hearts.

Sometimes it can be difficult to measure how successful we have been with the “knowing in their hearts” part. We often do not see our students when they are adults, so we rely on data that tells us that Catholic school students do, indeed, practice the faith as adults in greater numbers than those who have not attended Catholic schools.

However, once in a while, we are blessed with actually seeing our ministry bear fruit. Recently, our associate superintendent of Catholic schools, Karla Leibham, returned from interviewing prospective young teachers at a local university’s career fair. She came back “on fire” over the incredible display of faith these hopeful teachers displayed. What impressed Karla was that the individuals are products of our Catholic schools and want to come back to teach in one because of how important it is to them to teach, witness, and continue to growth in the faith.

Karla shared a card she received from one such teacher candidate. The future teacher wrote: “My student teaching experience with [teacher] at [school] was more rewarding than I could have ever hoped. Not only did [she] teach me . . . ways to infuse the Catholic religion into every lesson . . . she also brought me closer to my own faith. From her example, as well as the entire staff, I realized what it truly [means] to be Catholic [and teach in a Catholic school]. I would love nothing more than to call [the schools in the archdiocese] home.

The next time I am at Stations, you can be sure that I will be praying for this young woman and her mentor teacher and staff and thanking God for his goodness!

¡Vaya con Dios!

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Kathy O'Hara

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