Dear Brothers and Sisters,

 On this Trinity Sunday, Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads. 

May all fathers model the graciousness, mercy, and love of our triune God!

With the traditional school calendars, commencement, and graduation ceremonies completed, Summer is upon us. This past January 31 when we dedicated the Siena Center for Lifelong Learning, three parishioners shared their faith story of lifelong learning.  Last week I shared Kathy Long’s reflection.  This week I share with you Nicholas Schnittker’s.  Nicholas is a rising 6th grader at the Franciscan School, and speaks from his perspective about the importance of knowing our Catholic faith.  Though we may take a break from formal schooling, continuing to grow in and develop our relationship with God is truly lifelong. 

In the peace of Christ,
Fr. Mark

You may be asking yourself, why is Catholic education important?  When I first thought about attending this school I thought that it would be just another school with more work and uniforms, but it’s more than that. It’s a connection with Christ.  In writing class last week we started talking about the Bible verse Micah Chapter 6 Verse 8.  We learned that the song “We Are Called”, that is often sung in Mass, comes from that verse.  Then, we started to talk about the meaning of words in the refrain of the song.  I feel that this song helps me to explain why Catholic schools are important and how they taught me the importance of social justice.  Social justice is not just sitting around waiting for some good to happen it is putting our faith into action.  The first lyric of the refrain says “We are called to act with justice.” This means to live a life of human dignity.  How does this apply to acting with justice? Treat those who may be different with respect and dignity, even though they may be different than you.  The next line in the song reads “We are called to love tenderly.”  To me, that means that we must love everyone as not just another person, but as our brothers and sisters.  We should do this because we are all truly related.  Would you treat a relative like just another person?  No.  You treat them with love and respect.  We do this with any member of our family-even our faith family.  

 The third line says “We are called to serve one another.”  This doesn’t just mean giving a homeless person on the side of the road a dollar or two.  It means to put our faith into action by volunteering at soup kitchens, or by going with our teachers to Moore Square to help feed the homeless.  Social Justice is a way to sum up putting our faith into action. 

 The last line in the song is “To walk humbly with God.”  To me, that means walking with everyone as if they were God. Also, this means that not every thing is about you. Walking humbly with God requires us to step aside and know that He has the power.

All of these things, I have learned from attending Catholic School and having great parents that make sacrifices that allow me to come to TFS.  At Catholic school we not only learn what it means to serve one another, love tenderly, act with justice, and walk humbly with God, but I have learned how to put my faith into action and that we are all called, so listen carefully.  You learn throughout life; as a child, as an adult, and beyond.  This is called lifelong learning and exceeding your own expectations along with the expectations of your friends and family.

Nicholas Schnittker