Teachers must aspire to witness Christ to those they encounter

Kathy O'Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.
Kathy O’Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

by Kathy O’Hara

The staff of the archdiocesan office of Catholic schools has spent most of the summer preparing for the upcoming year. As has been our focus for the past decade, we continue to emphasize the Catholicity of our schools, especially the formation of the personnel in our buildings.

For the first column of the school year, allow me to share the remarks I conveyed earlier this month to principals and new teachers. The following words are selected from Father Francis Hernandez’s writing in his series of books entitled, “In Conversation with God.”

“A major part of our life consists of brief encounters with people. . . . Although these moments are sporadic and sometimes fleeting and unrepeated, they occur many times a day, and are beyond counting in the course of a lifetime. They are important for a Christian as they are opportunities that God gives us of praying for those we meet and of showing them our esteem, as children of the same Father should do.”

“We need to make an effort to learn the art of living together. . . . You have to learn to disagree charitably with others — whenever the need arises — without becoming unpleasant.”

“How wonderful it would be if we could consider as friends all those we work or study with, our parents, our children.

“As [people] we can be a cause of happiness or of sadness, of light or of darkness. We can be the source of peace or of anxiety, either the leaven that enhances or a dead weight that hinders the progress of others. Our passage over this earth can never be a matter of indifference as far as others are concerned. We help others to find Christ or we separate them from him. We enrich others or we impoverish them. And we come across so many of these others — friends, workmates, members of our family, neighbors.”

“If we are to help the people around us, it is not enough for us to have a vague and superficial knowledge of the way. . . . We need . . . to enter daily into personal conversation with Jesus. We need to know his doctrine ever more deeply; to struggle with still more determination to overcome our own defects. The apostolate is the result of a great love for Christ.”

Please join me in praying that all members of our school communities will bring Christ to those whom we encounter.

¡Vaya con Dios!

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