As we approach Celebrate Catholic Schools Week and reflect on the last couple of years in our Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Orange, I am reminded of a famous quote from St. Mother Teresa:

I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.

Traditionally, parents have sent their children to school to educate them in various subject areas: English, math, science and history to name a few. At our OC Catholic Schools, however, our parents know that education goes far beyond secular subjects. It’s about prayer. It’s about strength. It’s about love and service. And it is about our children learning that prayer changes us so that our children can change the world. As Pope Benedict XVI memorably said, Catholic schools are “a place to encounter the living God.” We believe and affirm this with all our hearts.

Like St. Mother Teresa, we may not have all the answers, but I have been praying daily for strength. Not strength for myself but strength for all our school administrators,
teachers, parents and students. I truly believe that these prayers have been answered and must continue.

There are countless examples of these answered prayers: the devoted Principal who steps in for a teacher when sick; the heroic teacher who puts herself on the “front line” during a pandemic, dedicating countless hours in and out of the classroom; the supportive parent who serves as teacher and tutor after a long day of work; and the dedicated student who has experienced a whole new world these past couple of years. Without God’s strength and answered prayer, these days might be even darker, and yet, we exist in the light.

While many believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, I am inspired and confident that the light is already here in our Catholic Schools. I believe that, through all our prayers, we have been changed. We are no longer just focused on getting the problem or question right but, rather, have also become people of love and service, people of prayer, people of strength, and people who offer light to a world of darkness.

As we join nationally with all Catholic schools for Celebrate Catholic Schools Week, I am ever so grateful to our school leaders and teachers for their unwavering strength. I am grateful to our parents for their patience and for entrusting their precious children to our care. I am so filled with hope for the future as our children grow in faith and prayer.

For those parents looking for a special, faith-filled, community of strength and prayer which changes the lives of children, I invite you to visit your local Catholic school, take a tour, and meet our amazing faculty, staff and students.

May God continue to give us all strength and, through prayer, we may be changed in order to change our world.