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All the Little Things

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I will be the first to admit that growing up with a public school education served me well. I was not Catholic as a child, and my parents did a great job teaching me about Jesus and taking me to Methodist Sunday School on their own time. I was fortunate to live in an area where I could attend a well-funded school and be taught by amazing and compassionate teachers.

So why, then, did I choose Catholic school for our own children? As a convert to Catholicism, I was—and still am—always seeking to know more about my faith. That was the first bread crumb. If I want to know more, I thought, then perhaps I could give our own children a head start by allowing them to spend the majority of their day in a faith- filled environment.

Once we committed to giving Catholic school a try and got through the doors, the little things, more bread crumbs, kept us there (which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising since I was born on the Feast Day of St. Therese!) Before I realized she could do it, our three-year-old memorized the St. Michael Prayer, and that encouraged me to do the same. An All Saints Day project invited my assistance with our second grader’s research on St. Genevieve.

Since I did not grow up Catholic, First Communion prep was a brand new experience for me, and our preparation experiences taught me even more about our faith. In particular, I am humbled and grateful for the Prayer Partner program at our children’s Catholic school that pairs students with parishioners, teaching our kids how important it is to pray for others beyond our family.

As our oldest progresses into the middle school years, I’ve been amazed to witness our tween’s renewed interest in her faith, thanks almost entirely to her outstanding religion teacher, who understands (even better than I) how the 11- and 12-year-old brain works. The way she showed our child that social justice is intrinsic to the Catholic faith re- engaged our daughter and helped her connect to the Church in a way I didn’t think was possible. Our younger son, who has a chronic illness, has classmates and teachers praying for him, and telling him they are doing so. Our second graders brought home Nativity Advent calendars that we open each day during the season, unveiling the story of Christ’s birth. We see classmates at Mass and pray before volleyball games.

Thus, what started as many little things became very big things. And those big things have helped set our children on the path of faith.

Inside this issue, you will find many stories about adults whose own Catholic education significantly helped them discern their lives’ vocations. As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week in January, I encourage you to take time to notice all the small—and big—ways our Catholic schools are helping to form the next generation in the faith.

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