By By Jeff Urbaniec, Vice Principal, St. John the Baptist Catholic School     12/4/2018

The future of God’s Church rests squarely in our hands.

Don’t get me wrong, the Body of Christ belongs to our God and all things will happen in His time but we are His hands and feet. We are called to love and to serve and have taken on the task of preparing this world’s future leaders, the next generation of church shepherds, God’s servants of tomorrow.

This is no small task, especially in the face of today’s societal norms and self-serving relativism. Without the proper skillset and formation, future generations will find themselves continuing to drift away from the purpose God has for His people and His church.

At St. John the Baptist School, we are called to lead and accompany young men and woman with well-defined SOULs. This is a memorable mnemonic for students and faculty. Serve others whenever possible. Offer gifts back to God. Understand and make good and faithful choices. And Learn as humble scholars.

Serve Others Whenever Possible

As Catholics educators, it is not enough to simply create leaders. We must develop Catholic Christian leaders who understand that God has a purpose for each of them and that they are called to help fulfill the great commission Jesus placed in the hands and hearts of His disciples. We must help students understand that they must strive to be universal in their approach to leadership. For example, we are called to be welcoming and inclusive to all. Our faith asks us to lead and serve like Jesus, even when it means we have to take risks on behalf of the Body of Christ. As servant leaders, we are called to demonstrate and instill in our students the tenant of selflessness inside and outside the classroom.

Offer Gifts Back to God

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

1 Peter 4:10

We form students to offer their gifts and talents to God for His purpose.  For example, St. John the Baptist’s Children’s Choir is open to all students in grades 3 through 5. Students attend rehearsals, participate in Sunday Masses and perform at events such as the American Federation Pueri Cantores Treble Choir Festivals. The Federation Pueri Cantores is the Vatican-based official student choral organization of the Catholic Church. [Other examples?]

Understand and Make Good Faithful Choices

The Norbertine fathers teach students the sacred teachings of the Catholic Church, rooted firmly in scripture and tradition. Students learn to appreciate our Church’s apostolic succession, linking church leadership back to Peter and the Living Christ and they learn to defend the precious gift of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. As educators, we help the next generation realize that they must lead, like Christ. They must share in the sense of vision and mission that Our Savior possessed, empower others for that mission, and be willing to take risks on behalf of the Body of Christ.

Learn as Humble Scholars

In addition to instilling the knowledge of faith, we arm students with a commitment to prayer and a true appreciation for its power. Our community gathers every day for morning prayer and reflection. Students also pray a decade of the rosary. We must help our students understand that they can accomplish all things with God’s help. 

The students in our Catholic schools are a precious resource to God’s Church and to the world around us. Preparing students to make the kind of difference that our world truly needs and that will truly please our world’s Creator is not an ordinary task.

May we renew our commitment to be authentic witnesses as we accompany students on their spiritual journey.

May we demonstrate to our students what it means to lift others up.

May we be active and sensitive listeners who can lead people to a closer relationship with God.

May we be influencers who inspire change and promote harmony.

May we have the courage to place God at the heart of everything we do.

May we be missionary disciples who can promote the grand spiritual mission of the Church with vision and grit.