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29 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Is Pope Francis changing Church teachings before our eyes?

Of all the many questions Pope Francis has raised in his brief papacy, perhaps none is as insistent, or as crucial to his legacy, as the debate over whether he …

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26 Nov 2015 Asia-Pacific News No comments

Fr. Cyril Axelrod, world’s only deaf-blind priest speaks at Asia’s first conference for deaf Catholics

Last week at the Catholic pastoral center in the Sam Phran District, Thailand hosted the first international Asian Conference for deaf Catholics titled “Ephatha…

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14 Oct 2015 News USA No comments

After break-in, Bishop Conley prays for burglar's conversion

When Bishop James Conley's residence in Lincoln, Nebraska was invaded and burglarized this weekend, he offered a message of forgiveness and called on the faithf…

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09 Sep 2016 Articles No comments

A Landscape the Desert Fathers Wouldn't Recognize

I wanted to get far from the madding crowd, so on a Friday I lit out for Anza Borrego Desert State Park, two hours from San Diego. From the east-west high…

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27 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

How do we know that Jesus descends from David as prophesied?

Full Question How do we know that Jesus descends from David as prophesied? Matthew's Gospel tells us about Joseph's genealogy, but he was not Jesus' biolog…

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18 Mar 2016 Americas Middle East News United Kingdom USA Vatican Comments (1)

Full Report of an Eyewitness' Account of ISIS Massacre of Mother Teresa's Sisters in Yemen

The  March 4th ugly Massacre of Four (4) nuns in Aden belonging to the Charity Congregation of Mother Teresa of Calcutta have been reported vividly as it all ha…

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16 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (1)

Two New Members Appointed to Board of the Vatican Bank

The Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), popularly known as the Vatican Bank, has appointed Mauricio Larrain (Chile) and C…

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09 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

English synod group A’s report: full text

The full report of Circulus Anglicus 'A' In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, we find the source of hope for the family in the contemporary world. Thus conf…

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15 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Here's your best chance to see Pope Francis in DC

All official events for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Washington, D.C. are ticketed, but there is a new opportunity for the public to see the Pope without nee…

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Giving Your Children to God and the First Day of Preschool

We walked up the steps to the early childhood wing, and suddenly I found myself in the place I had dreaded – dropping my oldest off at school for her first day of pre-kindergarten. Our small parish school has a homey feel to it. Everyone smiles and greets you, and there is a palpable sense of comradery among the students, teachers, and parents.

I hadn’t expected that we would send this child of ours to school, let alone a Catholic school. With a husband in grad school and me making pennies off of freelance writing work, I figured that we wouldn’t be able to afford a Catholic preschool. My husband and I both went to Catholic grade schools and had wonderful experiences with them, but we had been seriously discerning homeschooling. But then, everything fell in to place and we realized we could afford to send our bubbly, social four year old to a Catholic school two mornings a week. We’re still discerning homeschooling (and are planning on doing using a hybrid approach to school for this year), but our love for Catholic schools runs deep, and we would love to stay involved in that world in some way.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the pain of letting go. The smiling teacher and warmly colored classroom, filled with toys and books, made our first day good-bye unemotional for my daughter, but did little to quench my sadness at parting with her. However, for this oldest child of ours, pre-kindergarten is the right option, and let go of her I must.

I first felt this feeling toward this child the night before her baptism. I remember holding her in my arms, rocking her before bed, and realizing that she would no longer belong to just me. I would be giving her back to God, in a sense. Once she was baptized she could call God, “Father,” and the Church her family.

It’s easy, as parents, to lose sight of that reality. It’s easy to forget that our children are not our own. But, the reality is, our children do not belong to us. They belong to God. Of course, I know that to some degree, but these little moments of letting go bring it back to the fore. This child of mine is on the road to sainthood, God-willing, as we all are. I’ve been gifted with the opportunity to play a role in her journey, but it is not my journey.It’s her journey; her journey to God.

Although I think that public schools can offer a wonderful education (speaking firsthand as someone who graduated from a public high school), I think there is a tangible difference in a Catholic school. The community is centered on Christ, a reality that simply isn’t present in a public school. The thing that stands out the most for me from my own fifteen years in a Catholic institution of learning (including elementary, undergrad, and grad school), was the experience of a Catholic culture and community. Crucifixes are reminders of our heavenly home, and those reminders are in every classroom of a Catholic school. Weekly Masses are on the school agenda, and you never know when your pastor might pop his head into your classroom and say hello.

It is powerful for a child to be a part of a Catholic community of some sort. The most important Catholic community in a child’s life should be their home, followed by their parish – and a Catholic school is simply an extension of that. That isn’t to say that a child in a public school can’t experience that community through their parish (I certainly did during my four year stint in a public school), but there is a value to being a part of it day in and day out. My husband and I are both grateful for getting to experience that kind of community as children, and we’re grateful that our daughter is being given the opportunity to experience it for this year.

As painful as it is, part of giving her this opportunity means letting go of her. Even if we end up discerning full time homeschooling, we won’t be able to escape from the reality of letting go of our children. Life is full of little moments of letting go, all preparation for that final letting go at the end of our lives.

Yet, those little moments of letting go are a real gift. When a parent is able to let go of their children – for a class at a homeschool co-op, for a morning in preschool, for a day at elementary or high school, for a year at college, for a lifetime with a spouse or religious community – they allow their family to be open to God’s will for their lives. They allow their children to share their unique gifts with the Church.

For now, I’m grateful that I can practice this letting go in small steps.



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