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Educating Our Children

The title of this article is “Educating Our Children.”  I was going to call it “Educating the Children” because, as a celibate priest, I do not have children of my own.  But as I thought about it, I realized that I feel a sense of responsibility for “the” children.  The Church declares that the parents are the primary educators of their children.  As a Church, we also understand that our community has a responsibility to ensure the education of our children.

This week I had two opportunities to be at Mass with the children in our Catholic Schools.  Yesterday, I went to St. Stephen’s Church in Geneva for a regional celebration of our Catholic Schools in Cayuga, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates Counties.  Bishop Clark presided and eleven priests, including myself, concelebrated with him.

Today is the Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.  Since St. Michael the Archangel is the patron saint of our parish school in Penn Yan and our church in Penn Yan, we did a parish school Mass (open to the public) at 11 a.m. this morning where I presided.

I have to admit that children can be a bit of a challenge for me.  I always wonder if I am talking on their level.  I don’t want to make it to simple for them and I don’t want to make it to hard for them to understand.  In the end, I believe the Holy Spirit always provides.

Even though they can be a challenge for me, I believe very much in doing whatever I can for our children.  They are a precious gift from God.  Without children, there is no future.  We must do what we can to educate our children.  Education, properly understood is not just about teaching facts and figures or “how to do” something.  Education includes good character and understanding right from wrong.  I think one of the assets of our Catholic schools is importance of “character” and to provide an awareness there is more to the world (meaning God) than just what we can see and feel.

I went to public school all my life.  So, I certainly believe that the public schools do produce good people.  But it is easier in Catholic schools to help the children to integrate faith and knowledge.  Whether you send your children to public or private schools, make sure you help them develop a sense of wholeness with God part of our daily lives.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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