The Craziness of Catholic Schools

My wife Brenda and I have four kids—ages 9, 15, 19 and 22—and they each drive us crazy in their own way. That’s what kids do. They ask for money, they make messes, and they require lots of time and energy. Life would be much simpler without them. Simpler, but also more hollow. Our children bring us life, they keep us from taking things too seriously, and they draw us closer to God. They take us out of ourselves and teach us the meaning of unconditional love.

The same thing can be said about a parish Catholic school: it takes a lot of money to operate; it puts a lot of wear on the buildings; and it requires a lot of time and energy to maintain. Parish life would be much simpler without a school. But just as the heartaches and headaches our kids cause are worth it, so are the challenges that come with operating a parish school.

School children bring a special kind of life to a parish community. They remind us of the importance of laughter and recreation. They help a parish fulfill its mission to evangelize.

There’s something deeply spiritual about watching a class of children kneel in prayer, trusting that God is listening. The noise of laughter from the playground is a sign of life and joy to a parish. It means God is present, that the Church is being renewed in the hearts of these young disciples who are just learning how to live like Jesus.

Just as children were brought to Jesus so that he might lay hands on them and pray, parents bring their children to their parishes to be touched by the hand of the Savior.

During this Catholic Schools Week, we remember not to follow the example of the disciples who tried to rebuke the children for coming to Jesus, but instead we open our hearts to hear the Lord’s words:

“Let the children come,” Jesus said, “and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Let the children come to our parish schools. Let them come with their grimy hands, their uncontrollable giggles, their fidgety fingers, and their raging hormones.

Praise God for the craziness of parenthood, and praise God for Catholic schools.

This article was written for Notre Dame’s ACE Advocates annual series of reflections on Catholic Schools. You can find the entire series for this year at the ACE website.

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger, founder and editor of Catholic School Chronicle, is an award-winning Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He is a deacon for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

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