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.
Recently, a friend was on Facebook and for their Christmas vacation they uploaded a “Captain’s Log” just like those old Star Trek journal entries.
So, my thought is why not try a similar log for each week as I begin the adventure of founding Ozark Catholic Academy in Northwest Arkansas. One of the things that I will try to do is at the end of each week to do a small blog/journal entry on the week’s action or progress. I see two benefits of such a journal as I am coming from the successful founding of Western Academy in Houston: first to see my progress in a proactive way as I go “week to week” taking small, large, and giant steps to the opening of the school. The journal may also assist in giving me perseverance to make the school a reality. The second benefit is to create a history that hopefully with God’s grace and fulfilling God’s will the school opens well and prospers.
I just finished my first week here in Northwest Arkansas most of it focused on the family as the children started in their respective schools, continuing to unpack, and getting my feet wet in terms of knowing the lay of the land not as a visitor but from a resident’s point of view.
Practical lesson of the week, dealing with Northwest Arkansas traffic is a pleasure compared to dealing with traffic or the length of commuting in Houston.
I have been holding onto a few pictures and videos over the last three years hoping to share clips of what I have experienced in seeing cicadas. Thanks to an iPhone 5 in 2013 and now an iPhone 6 plus, here are some nice images and videos.
The first time I remember hearing a Cicada as a child was when my family moved to Albany, Georgia. We were in the middle of small town America having come from Cleveland, Ohio and Houston, Texas. As the Roman Catholic Church teaches that a child is ready for the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist when they obtain the age of reason…it must about then that I began to notice the world outside of myself. Over 35 years later, I have come across to Chicharras coming out of their shells.
In the summer of 2013, a group of faculty members from Western Academy attended a performance at the Roundtop Music Festival celebrating the 4th of July. That evening we were able to visit Winedale, TX, a nearby town for dinner. As we walked around the town we came across the a Cicada coming out of its shell. A group of 10 teachers watched and discussed the cicada for about 10 minutes.
Later that summer in Schulenburg, Texas, we found a cicada on a classroom table.
A couple of evenings ago, a few of my children and I were outside in our driveway and we came across a Chicharra already out of its shell and just waiting for its wings to dry before it flew into a tree and made the noise we are all familiar. You may a hear a little commentary as they discussed what it was doing.
Cicadas live up to seven years in warm temperate and tropical type climates. Their name comes the Latin, cicada, meaning tree cricket.