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Have a great school year, everybody!

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Aug. 19, 2015

As I was sitting in the barber’s chair this morning, the barber and I struck up a conversation about the upcoming school year and how students would soon return in droves to the hair salon aching for the very latest in hair fashions.

As she clipped away at what’s left of my white locks, my barber claimed that the Justin Bieber look will soon fade away.  Something new or retro was around the corner and barbershops and hair salons are in prime positions to promote such newness in ‘do’s’.  

As another school year approaches, newness abounds well beyond the hairdos.   Once the doors reopen, new friends are sure to be made.  Many students will be clad in new clothes, toting new backpacks, seated in new homerooms eagerly anticipating some new teachers, and many, I suspect, praying for new lunch menus from the cafeterias.

With the newness comes anticipation, excitement, and, perhaps, just a bit of apprehension about the unknown.
As I write this article, welcoming the new school year, I find myself reminiscing about my own early school days, particularly today as I learned that my kindergarten teacher died earlier this week.  Mrs. Seller was a warm and caring woman who provided a beautifully welcoming environment where this young lad and his classmates, as well as his five siblings, were introduced to many new things in a school setting.  

A nurturing space is critically important for learning new things.

At the start of the year, the student walks into the school with new possibilities.  A new attitude, new energy and a new resolve enable each person to embrace fresh opportunities to make the honor roll and to make the team.

To take advantage of the possibilities, one must invest time and energy.  In close partnership, parents, teachers, and the school staff provide the environment where students can succeed in learning all the new things presented.

Our Lord exclaimed, “Behold, I make all things new!” (Rev. 21:5)  In order for you and me to experience, indeed, to understand this newness, we, too, must have an environment conducive to learning.

That’s why our Diocesan Priority of Strengthening Faith Formation in Family Life is so important.  Our families at home, our parish families, and our families at school provide the environments that can help form our faith and help us develop a close relationship with Jesus Christ. 

With a new resolve and renewed energy, our diocesan family is committed to supporting our families, led by our parents, as they provide the space where the newness of faith is taught, celebrated and lived.  

We know that by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord makes all things new.  We know, too, that each one of us must collaborate and foster the process. 

The Lord wants to transform us so that we might be instruments of hope for a society that, in many ways, seems lost and without focus or vision.

As the new school year begins, I encourage us all to create a new attitude, expend renewed energy and resolve to allow Jesus more space in our lives so that we might be effective instruments of His love in our communities, embracing the newness and not letting the possibilities pass us by.  Have a great school year everybody!

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