“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder
The Catholic School’s theme for the 2016/2017 school year is “Care for our Common Home”. It was inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, ‘Laudato Si’.
In the context of Notre Dame I believe we can also interpret that theme in many other areas as well, including our families, our school and our faith.
With respect to family, there is no other home that is more personal to us or more important for us. It is often our sanctuary; a place we go to feel safe, supported, accepted, and unconditionally loved. Other than our faith, there are no relationships more important than the ones we share in a loving home.
A good school is often looked upon by many students and teachers as their “home away from home”. Notre Dame works towards providing a faith and learning environment in which lifelong relationships and memories are formed. It is a place where students enter as children and leave as young adults hopefully well prepared to accept and embrace the many new challenges, adventures, relationships, and realities that will undoubtedly come their way.
Our Catholic faith is the umbrella under which every aspect of school life is connected. It is the force behind building and sustaining an effective and lasting community. It permeates the important virtues and values that are taught, modelled, instilled and emulated. It is the road map we need to find the way to our final home of destiny.
As with the challenges posed by Pope Francis regarding the many environmental issues we now face, caring for all of our "homes" will require an ongoing commitment and willingness to be altruistic by putting others and the common good ahead of our own wants and needs. It means thinking and planning responsibly for tomorrow, and not just for today. It means maintaining the highest level of care with respect to our relationships, including our faith, our family and friends, those in need, and the environment.
I look forward to working and walking with our entire community as we continue the ongoing, important task of caring for our home Notre Dame.
“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts to build a home.” – Author Unknown