This week's Realign Resources for Mission Principle:
"All parishes in the Diocese of Lansing make and form Missionary Disciples by having a commitment to Catholic education"
Realign Resources for Mission Principle 3.6
Superintendent of Schools, Diocese of Lansing
September 9, 2021
Feast of Saint Peter Claver
As of this week, all 35 Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Lansing are in session. What a blessing this is! Thank you to all our families, students and staff. You have our gratitude and our prayers.
As for me, this is my 41st year in Diocese of Lansing Catholic Schools. It all began at Saint Therese School in Lansing. Here’s my 2nd Grade photograph. A big grin matched only by an even bigger collar. Hey, it was the 1970’s!
After 12 years as a student there followed seven years as a classroom teacher; 18 years as a high school administrator; and, now, four years as Superintendent of Schools. It’s been a privilege to serve our Catholic families in helping to rear generations of young men and women imbued with wisdom and virtue.
I’ve also been a parent of Diocese of Lansing Catholic Schools for the past 18 years. Here’s my daughter’s graduation from Lansing Catholic High School in 2016.
Our youngest son graduated last spring. For each of our four kids, the gift of a Catholic education has been an immeasurable treasure. It’s a strange, bittersweet moment in life that my wife, Michelle, and I no longer have a child in Catholic schools.
All those years ago, when we started having kids, I remember asking my parents (both graduates of O’Rafferty Catholic High School in Lansing) how they managed to put all seven of their children, and all of them boys, through Catholic schools. My mom’s answer was simple and beautiful: “We took it one son at a time.” How, though, did they afford it? After all, at one point they had six of us boys in Catholic schools at one time, from kindergarten at Saint Therese through 12th Grade at Lansing Catholic.
My mom went on to tell me that they always knew they would send us to Catholic schools and, so, they figured it out day-by-day and week-by-week on how to pay for it. She recounted the story of going into our piggy banks, taking the little money we had, and leaving behind an I.O.U. The next day she would then go to the school, into the principal’s office and say: “This is all I have this week”. Of course, the principal worked with my parents and my parents eventually paid all the tuition. Thank you, mom. Thank you, dad. As you can see, below, they remain the ever-faithful heart of our family.
As I have journeyed through my many years of ministry in Catholic schools I have heard many similar stories. From the parents struggling to keep their children in Catholic schools, to grandparents helping to pay tuition for their grandchildren and teachers forgoing life’s little, and sometimes big, pleasures to raise their own families on a Catholic teacher’s paycheck.
Sacrifice. That’s the one consistent theme over my four decades in Catholic education. And, of course, “sacrifice” is a byword for “love”. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants. Those parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who prayed, scrimped, saved, and sacrificed to make sure that Catholic education would be available across the Diocese of Lansing.
And why did they do it? What is the value of our Catholic schools? Our Catholic schools within the Diocese of Lansing are blessed to be one of the vital apostolates that our parishes support so that we can partner with parents in helping our children grow in knowledge, wisdom and virtue. All this so that our young people can develop into adults who are happy, holy and ready to fulfill their God-given potential in this life … and be saints in the next.
As part of the Realigning Resources to Mission Committee, I am so grateful that Bishop Boyea has included our Catholic schools in this process. We now have a great opportunity to realign our resources and make our Catholic Schools truly available, affordable, and accessible to all families in our ten-county diocese. That’s what we are aiming for. That’s what we have been working on over the past two years in conjunction with external consultants, VeraCruz Advisory.
The result is a Realign Resources for Mission aspiration for Catholic eduction in the Diocese of Lansing which is threefold: Every parish grouping will have a school. Every school will be part of a system. And every system will offer a high school, home school and classical school option to families.
More than ever, our world needs young people who are formed into the scholars and saints they are destined to be … and whose piggy banks are safe from being raided.
Watch: Father Steve Mattson is the Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Lansing and a former Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Lansing. He is also a member of the Realign Resources for Mission committee.
This month saw the Church of the Resurrection School record its highest enrollment numbers for thirty year. In this short video Father Mattson gives his reflections upon today's Realign Resources for Mission principle: "All parishes in the Diocese of Lansing make and form Missionary Disciples by having a commitment to Catholic education".
This Week's Friday Prayer Intention:
Please pray for all the staff of our Diocese of Lansing schools as the strive daily to raise up a new generation of young saints. Amen.
Guidelines for Friday Prayer:
Prayer: At three o’clock each Friday afternoon pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To help with prayer, Eucharistic Adoration from Saint Mary Cathedral in Lansing will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook. If you can’t manage to pray at 3pm? Just say the Holy Rosary whenever you can.
Fasting: The present norms for fasting suggest that we eat no more than one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. It is also permissible to attempt a strict fast. A penitent’s age and health should always be taken into consideration before fasting.
Almsgiving: Giving alms is a “work of justice pleasing to God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2462). Hence, each Friday we should donate money or goods to the poor or perform another act of charity. Let’s not reach sundown on a Friday without having poured out some of the content of our heart or our wallet or both during the day.