I have been thinking about the newly released Lego Batman since seeing the first trailer almost a year ago. Not focusing on the expense of movie tickets, but we do not go out to see all the latest and greatest, but use special occasions to take the family or a majority of the children to see a movie.
So what is the special occasion for taking the family to see Lego Batman? That is just it…this is the Lego Batman Movie and that is enough.
I was truly surprised by the themes and success of the the first Lego Movie. I waited to see in the comfort our own home. As I sat down to view it with some of the children, I am sure the thought of “taking one for the team” shot across my mind. I can say that I was beyond surprised and enthralled about the theme that “Everyone is Awesome.” Maybe because I thought we were all awesome?
The character who stole the show though…was Lego Batman!
Even at the end, in his most gracious Batman way, he lost Wild Style, aka Lucy, to Emmett.
Over the last few months as further trailers and clips have been released,
A few questions have come to mind:
Are the Lego Movies the next Pixar studio franchise, always a hit, always with a message?
Is Lego Batman the franchise for the Lego Movies or can Emmett or another character(s) hold their own in Lego Movie 2 or other spin-offs?
What is or are the themes for Lego Batman?
This last question I foresee there may be two themes that have come across the trailers, clips and now even seeing the song titles to the movie soundtrack that was just released as well: 1. Individualism and Friendship; 2. Subtlety of Pride and Admitting mistakes (Humility)
I am still not a betting man that the movie will overtly present these themes, but I have caught glimpses.
More than anything, I am anticipating a movie that will be enjoyable and the theater as a whole will have moments of laughter.
I begin with some thoughts about today’s feast of St. Scholastica, the sister of St. Benedict. A story often told about the two them concerns their last evening together. Once a year the two of them would come together at a house outside of the monastery in Monte Cassino. At this last meeting they passed the day in prayer and conversation. As the day came to an end, St. Scholastica implored her brother to stay and pray with her into the evening. Though he was moved by her emotion, St. Benedict insisted that the time was right for him to leave. She turned her prayers to God and fervently asked for his intercession. Our Lord responded with a thunderstorm that shook the area and lessened St. Benedict’s resolve to leave. He stayed with her and they prayed through the evening. She died only a few days later after that meeting. The story is told as an example of St. Scholastica’s great love for God.
Today, we in Northwest Arkansas had the visitation and rosary for a young man of the community, Noah Antony. He was suddenly taken from this world a week ago and tomorrow will be his funeral mass. The young vibrant life of Noah touched so many. My family and I are new to the area but we see the reach he has had among his peers at college, in high school and in his family’s faith community at St. Raphael’s and beyond. This week has begun a time of loss and suffering for his parents, siblings and family.
I mention St. Scholastica and the Antony family, because as they suffer this week and in the time to come, it is in fervent love and solid faith that they are an example to those who know them and see them in this time of grief. The love that St. Scholastica offered up to God to pray with her brother through the evening, I see in them. Even now in their time of grief, they are offering such similar prayers of faith that show a profound love for God.
May we, their friends and family, truly offer up prayers for them and the soul of Noah with the purity and fervor of St. Scholastica tonight, tomorrow and the days to come. Let us ask our Lord to grant them peace and the Blessed Virgin Mary to embrace them as she did the infant Jesus, wrapping him in swaddling clothes to keep Him warm and close to her heart.
For me, the week has been filled with a number of different activities celebrating Catholic Schools Week, both as a parent and in founding Ozark Catholic Academy.
I began the week releasing a short video celebrating Catholic Schools Week. I would like to thank Trolly Line Bookstore for allowing us to film the video inside their store. As we filmed in the a nook which was categorized as poetry and classics, I did leave with three books in hand: One Man’s Meat by E.B. White, a hardcover novel by Dr. Samuel Johnson– Detector, and a hardcover of Henry Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis.
St. Vincent de Paul, in Rogers, and St. Joseph, in Fayetteville, both had school masses where students in uniform came together and participated in mass in numerous ways. At St. Vincent de Paul, board members had a table with our brochures. As parishioners left mass, they were handed the bookmarks we created for them this week. Many small conversations took place and the bookmarks were well received.
At St. Joseph’s in Fayetteville, they had the school mass at 9:00am followed by an Open House for the school. I manned a table after the 9:00am and 11:30am mass in the narthex and handed out bookmarks as well. Fr. Jason Tyler announced at the end of each mass that I was present in the back to answer questions concerning the high school. Parishioners were warm in their comments and thoughts and openly received bookmarks. Probably the most voiced comment from people was that they were glad to hear the high school was happening and have always been interested in having one. I stayed for the beginning of the 1:30pm Mass in Spanish and greeted parishioners as they were entering church.
One conversation with a mother focused on the importance of teachers and how her children’s teachers had really made a difference in their lives. But, she said that something was missing even then—it was not within a Catholic context. Meaning that she thought as good and personal as those teachers were, if their teacher-student relationship had happened within a Catholic school, the possibility of their relationship could have been even more rooted in Christ. She expressed her happiness about a Catholic high school coming, and she hoped her youngest daughter would be able to attend.
Later this afternoon, the St. Joseph’s and St. Vincent ’s 5th and 6th grade basketball teams are competing against each other. OCA will host a few competitions during halftime. The winners will receive the very first Ozark Catholic Academy t-shirts. We hope to post pictures and short videos on our FB and web pages later this weekend.
January 27, 2017 – Memorial of St. Angela Merici
Vendors The typical operations of a start up school continue…building relationships with our bank, Arvest, as well as finding possible vendors such as printers. I have tried three printers out in the NWA area thus far trying to find not only a good price but also a printer who desires to do business with a start-up, a business that treats us like a long term or larger client. In future posts I will recognize the printer/s I am choosing to work with, but at this time I am still looking around and seeking recommendations.
Area Charter School In participating in the NWA Schools Choice Festival, my table was adjacent to NWA Classical Academy table. I met Ms. Susan Provenza, the headmaster, along with a few of her administrative team members. On Tuesday, I was able to tour their school, and meet with Ms. Provenza to discuss their curriculum and how they are unique to NWA. I have been getting summaries of the individual schools and all the options here in NWA, but over the next few months I hope to visit traditional public, charter, and private schools in the area to introduce myself, get a snap shot the unique educational opportunities they bring to NWA and begin to build collegial relationships. These relationships with other schools will allow me to better understand how to begin Ozark as strong as possible, understanding the educational community is key as there are many schools, public and private that have recently opened or expanding. The Northwest Arkansas community is supportive of non-profits and in particular education options, so Ozark Catholic Academy hopes to enter this healthy educational market in a unique position in terms of our Catholicity, character formation, and curriculum.
Office Space I was officially offered some free temporary office space, which will allow me a place to get work done outside of the house on a day to day basis. Most of my day is spent driving place to place meeting people, but having a quiet place to follow up with others whether through emails or phones calls is a blessing.
St. Thomas More
On Monday evening, I gave talk at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Bentonville, entitled, “Thomas More: a Man in the World, rooted in Family.” The audience was made up of parishioners as well as those from the NWA community. My purpose was to enrich the audience with the life and ideas of Thomas More and hopefully to inspire them to learn more about him. I used examples of his upbringing and education, as well as his relationship with his father, Judge John More, Prince Henry (soon to be King Henry VIII), his friendship with Erasmus, but moved into a few details discussing More’s relationship with his wife, Alice, and his children, particularly Margaret, his oldest. I discussed how More’s goal was to prepare the soul of each child for the reality of life. We can observe that he lived this understanding in how he guided the family as a whole but also how he interacted in a particular way with each child. Guiding More’s thought was the reality that grace builds upon nature.
The reality is the faith never goes without [reason]…[I]f reason is allowed to run wild and grow overly arrogant and proud, she will not fail to fall into rebellion against her master’s faith. But on the other hand, if she is well brought up and well guided and kept in good temper, she will never disobey faith, being in her right mind. And therefore let reason be well guided, for surely faith never goes without her. (Thomas More Source Book 278)
More’s end goal was for each child’s soul to enter into heaven, but without self-rule, which was grounded in well-trained reason, a child would not be prepared for life. With the overwhelming amount of technology and gadgets in our lives today, More’s educational philosophy is even more relevant for ourselves and our children.
The lecture led me to contemplate ideas for next week’s celebration of Catholic Schools Week. Look for a week of social media posts (YouTube Video, and our entree into Instagram) giving thoughts to why one should choose Ozark Catholic Academy in NWA when you have so many good choices already. The ground has been tilled and now the seeds are to be planted…
Last Saturday, I was able to participate in the NWA School Choice Festival. It was the first time for me to see most, if not all, of the local private and charter school options under one roof. When people came up, I said that Ozark Catholic Academy is the probably newest school in the area as our doors will be opening until Fall 2018. This comment easily broke the ice and received a little chuckle.
This was the first year for the event, but it was run well without any visible glitches.The event was successful in terms of seeing new faces and meeting potential families; about 45 people came by the Ozark Catholic Academy table. I was also able to meet some of my counterparts at other private and charter schools. I spoke with the Subiaco Academy faculty representative, Mr. Pat Franz as well as two junior students that spoke about their school. I met Mr. Dennis Chapman, headmaster of the New School.
I met some faculty as well as the headmaster, Ms. Susan Provenza, of the Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy. The Classical Academy had the table beside Ozark’s table, so we spoke about curriculum and culture. It was nice to see that many people who sought out the Classical Academy moved right over to table when they overheard talk of our focus on character formation and a challenging curriculum. The Arkansas Arts Academy had a strong contingent at the festival, and I was able to connect with their high school principal, Ms. Barb Padgett. I look forward to building relationships with other schools and partnerships in areas and finding ways in which we can support each other.
Both parochial schools, St. Joseph in Fayetteville and St. Vincent de Paul attended. Karla Thielemier, principal of St. Vincent de Paul and Jason Pohlmeier, principal of St. Joseph’s were able to meet with me last week. It was the first time for the three of us to meet together. They are very open and energized about the fruition of Ozark Catholic Academy. We hope this year’s Catholic Schools Week will be the first of many opportunities to present what the Northwest Arkansas community will soon be able to offer — a Catholic education from pre-K through 12th grade. In other words the whole package, which will overcome some of the limits the grade schools have experienced.
Please assist me in making a reality all that Ozark Catholic promises to be and do, especially by continuing to pray for the project and the Rocha family, and by sending people our way so we can continue to build momentum for Ozark Catholic Academy.