In the first reading, God prepared Jeremiah: Jeremiah would play a decisive role,
in a time of crisis. Just as God formed Jeremiah, physically, in his mother’s womb,
so he also formed Jeremiah spiritually and intellectually—
with faith, and knowledge of his ways.
What difference did it make?
God’s people thought all was well; but in a flash, everything they counted on, crumbled.
And when it did, Jeremiah saved the day: He’d kept them connected to God,
so that in their crisis, they knew where to turn.
Hasn’t that happened for you?
When our crisis comes, that’s when we’re glad someone told us about Jesus Christ;
when we have no words for prayer, that’s when we’re glad
someone taught us an Our Father, a Hail Mary, the Rosary, the Memorare.
How fast can our world fall in on us? Lose a job, or face a divorce, and you’re there.
This Sunday begins Catholic Schools Week. And it’s important to talk about
why we have Catholic schools—why we make so many sacrifices to keep them open.
Piqua Catholic, and Lehman High do for our children, our families, and our community,
what Jeremiah did for his people, in his time: ensure they know the Lord,
and have a foundation of faith for when everything else falls apart.
I know many of our children attend one of the city or county schools.
Parents, that is your decision, I respect it.
But I would fail in my duty, if I left the impression there wasn’t a big difference.
Now, someone can always cite an example where someone did better at a public school;
but our academics are very strong.
When our Piqua Catholic children get to Lehman, they’re ready;
Lehman’s high standards, in turn, make them ready for a job, or for college.
When one of our children transfers from Piqua Catholic to a city or county school,
they are ahead of the game.
Academics matter; but something else is supremely important.
When you walk into our Catholic schools, you see the name Jesus Christ in huge letters!
When a student or teacher is in trouble, the class, the school, can pray together, right there.
In our Catholic schools, our children meet priests and nuns walking the halls.
I wish that were true of our public schools; but our youth minister and I
are not allowed in, unless we’re invited. Two years, I’m still waiting.
Yes, we have a religious education program on Sundays. Our catechists do a good job.
But again, I would be lying if let you believe our Sunday school equals
what we do every day in our Catholic schools.
On Sunday we have, at best, 75 minutes. Realistically, it is more like 50-60 minutes.
Now—that is about the same as Piqua Catholic—for kindergarten.
Starting in 1st Grade, at Piqua Catholic, our children get 150 minutes of religious instruction—
that’s 2-1/2 hours every week. From 5th grade on, they get 225 minutes—
more than 3-1/2 hours—every week!
Now, of course, parents can—and many do—sit down during the week,
and provide another 2 hours of dedicated instruction in the teachings of the Faith;
but if not, then our Sunday school, good as it is, cannot come close
to what happens in a Catholic school.
After all, children don’t ask questions on our tidy schedules.
In our Catholic schools, they can ask how Scripture fits with biology;
how the Holy Spirit influences history; how the ten commandments relate to social studies.
But at Miami East, answering those questions is against the law.
So I fully respect your choice about where your children attend school,
but I do want to highlight the advantage of a Catholic school.
And for those who have chosen a public school, I want our parish to do our best to help you.
If you have suggestions, please let me know.
Some of our families home-school—and that is admirable.
For those can’t do that; we provide Catholic schools.
And for those who don’t attend a Catholic school, we provide all the help we can.
For example, I have been looking at resources for home-school religious instruction—
give our office a call for more information.
When Jeremiah was needed in a time of peril, it was a good thing
he’d been prepared for that time. It was good he’d been able to prepare God’s People.
You and I have the same, urgent task in our time—to know our faith well, and where to turn.
Not only for ourselves, but so we can prepare the next generation,
for the trials of faith that always come.
When you and I equip our children for the future—not just in this world, but in eternity…
When we give them a foundation of faith that will stand, when all else fails…
We are giving them the greatest gifts: “Faith, hope…and the greatest of these is love.”