Today the Church celebrates the conversion of Paul. There is no otherliturgical event in which the conversion of a saint is honored, as the Churchtypically places the date of a saint's (or martyr's) passing into heaven as theopportunity to publicly recall the life of that saint.
There is a simple reason for this: Paul's conversion marked the moment whereinGod used a broken human instrument to carry the Gospel to all people, not justthe people of the old covenant. The most striking feature of Paul's conversionis the reversal of expectations: how could a pharasical, judgmental, andmurderous Jewish man responsible for the death of so many of Christ's followersbecome the champion of the universal purpose of God's grand plan to saveman?
This is an every day struggle for us, as our expectations seem to never be met.The phrase 'dog days of summer' captures that dreary depletion of water and thehigh-heat that wears down the body in the peak of summer. Right now, we alwaysexperience a similar feeling as we turn into the frustrations of February,which the weather only exacerbates.
I therefore propose focusing on the good that is happening around us. Paul wasfamous for going toe-to-toe in debate, but he always stressed the story ofGod's love made manifest in His saving plan. That is because God has the plan,and we aren't quite co-planners with him even if we are called to becooperators in that plan. His merciful love is much stronger than any sin,perceived injustice, or deviation from the plan we observe.
One concrete way we can do that is to recognize excellence. The CatholicSchool's Office at the diocese recently released nomination forms for an AwardsGala event to take place in the summer. You can find the forms and nomination deadline online; parents, faculty, and volunteers are all invited to nominate. Belowis a description of the event and list of awards to be given.
The successes of our Catholicschools and their students would not be possible without the selfless supportof our committed educators, administrators, clergy, and lay partners in thecommunity. This year, we are holding our first annual Recognizing ExcellenceAwards Gala at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on June 22, 2017. Wehope you will consider joining us at this exciting event when we willofficially honor our School Leader of the Year, Clergy Member of the Year,Community Partner of the Year and most especially our Teacher of the Year.
Thinking about the good that goes on each day around us provides a greattransition into Catholic Schools' Week.
St. Catherine of Siena said, "What you have received, give." Let uspray for the awareness that we have received the very gift of God's life withinus through the redemptive act of His Son, and may the world come to knowthat a total gift of self is the only way to discover our deepest identity:children of God.
Most Sincerely In Christ,