By Peter Finney Jr., Clarion Herald
Archbishop Gregory Aymond didn’t have to reach to catch the attention of the hundreds of students who gathered in St. Catherine of Siena Church in Metairie Feb. 1 for the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass.
Speaking about a topic he knew would be utmost in the students’ minds, Archbishop Aymond opened his homily by asking if they knew of “something important that happened” for the city about two weeks earlier on a Sunday.
“The Saints lost,” one student shouted out.
“We won’t go into why they lost,” Archbishop Aymond said, laughing. “Even though they lost, we’re very proud of them and we know they constantly give totally of themselves not only to play football but also to represent our city.”
In the same way that the Saints succeed because they are physically and mentally fit and they know their plays with precision, Catholic school students have four “plays” that they lean on in their Catholic education, the archbishop said.
Referring to the 2019 Catholic Schools Week logo, Archbishop Aymond said Catholic school students “learn, serve, lead and succeed.”
Learn: Learning goes beyond math, science and literature. “You have to learn also to open your hearts, not only to know about Jesus but also to know Jesus himself,” the archbishop said.
Serve: “We serve others by being kind, polite and charitable to people at school, people on the playground, people at home, but especially we have to serve those who are most in need, those who don’t have some of the gifts we have.”
Lead: “Jesus tells us in the Gospel that you are the light of the world, and you’re supposed to let that light shine, not so people can say how wonderful you are, but so that others will know him.”
Succeed: “What does it mean to succeed? That you know Jesus, and you use the gifts he has given you. Success does not mean being popular or being the star player. Success is being a disciple of Jesus, to be able to say that you not only know him but you want to follow him.”
The archbishop said many people sacrifice to provide the educational playing field for the students: parents, pastors, teachers, administrators and staff.
“But who is truly the teacher of us all?” he asked. “Jesus.”
Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.