It has been a wonderfully exhausting day. The theology department took part in the Archdiocesan wide gathering of Catholic school teachers. We represented pre-school through senior levels from the little towns on the prairie to the metropolitan heart of the Archdiocese. In total, there were between 1,200-1,300 teachers gathered to celebrated our call to serve the students entrusted to our care.
We began with an informative instruction about the deeper meanings of the celebration of the Eucharist and then moved into the Eucharistic celebration itself. The Archbishop presided with many of the priestly principals, presidents, and teachers from the schools in attendance; two of our own monks were among the mix. It was quite a rich service for a gymnasium; incense was wafted about, a student choir of about 20 led the teachers in song, and the Feast of St. Jerome on top of it all! While we processed to receive communion, I was struck at the quiet that 1,300 talking-teachers can achieve! Such a mix of humanity, a wide cross-section of diversity, all gathered to celebrate Christ in our lives and as the center of our service. It was a powerful moment for me.
There were many sessions offered to meet the various needs of the teachers assembled and a whole cafeteria of vendors to peruse! I ended up gathering more catalogs to seek out new textbooks for next years Theology curriculum and nabbing a few pens and freebies in the mix. Both of my session were focused on implementing the curricular framework from the USCCB. Our Archbishop has given us a year-by-year installment process. We will begin with freshmen next fall and then slowly add the various levels of kiddos. I'm very grateful for this slow implementation since there seems to be quite the shakeup for many of the teachers in the diocese with all the change. So far our folk are transitioning okay, there is a lot to consider and classes to shift and decisions to make with teachers teaching backgrounds...ah...change.
The day ended with a powerful yet humorous presentation about passion in our lives. The speaker reminded us that our passion as teachers should come from Christ the teacher and passion of us all. After a few laughs and a call to serve, he bowed out to our Archbishop. The wrap up was a commissioning. Some singing, a reading about wisdom from Sirach, and a blessing from the Archbishop on all the faculty, staff, and students in his care...let's hope it sticks!