Sunday, January 31, 2016

Catholic School's Week Homily by Ken Willers

Good Morning!

The words of the prophet Jeremiah this morning:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Before you were born
I dedicated you,
to be a prophet to the nations.

Wow…think about that boys and girls…

Before you were born,
God knew you
—God dedicated you
—which means
God had a plan for you.

To be a prophet—hmm

Someone who speaks truth and brings hope to others.

You know
when I was little I used to think,
why did God make me---what was God’s plan for me?

And then, I ask…
Why did God bless me to born on January 31st
which happens to be today?
But it also happens to be the Feast of St. John Bosco.



A saint, who lived about 150 years ago,
and
who dedicated his entire life to serving and educating youth
—boys and girls,
especially the poor.

I asked myself
I wonder if this means something for me
--does God have a plan for me being born on this day?

Well, I grew up believing that it did
—that God had dedicated me to a future
that was going to have something to do with teaching and serving the young.

…and then I’d become frightened,
I’m not smart enough,
I don’t get good grades
—why would God want me.

…and just as my doubts would grow to the point where I didn’t believe in my future anymore
--God would bring me the words of encouragement that I needed
…words that came from my parents
…and words that came from my teachers
…words that kept me believing in my future.


So, I believed it then
—and I believe it now
—and everyday I try my best to be that prophetic teacher I am called to be.
To bring truth and hope to those I serve.

But what about you boys and girls?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Before you were born
I dedicated you,
to be a prophet to the nations.

To what is God dedicating you?

How will you be the prophet God is appointing you to become?
What are your dreams…
…your hopes?

You know boys and girls
…those dreams that you have
---those hopes that you possess,
they will serve as the starting point
or the catalyst of the prophet you will be
         to bring truth and hope to others in your life.

And your parents know this
because your dreams & hopes
are your parents’ greatest desire for you as well.
Their desire that your gifts & talents be discovered by you
—be fully developed by you
and be shared with the world by you. 
To be the prophet you’re called to be.

Your parents desire that your education
not only forms your intellect,
your brain,
but informs your character with virtue and purpose.
Lets be Good to One Another!

Yes,
in a way, boys and girls,
your parents, like God,
had these desires for you before you were born.

And parents,
God is celebrating your vocation when you hear the words

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Before you were born
I dedicated you,
to be a prophet to the nations.

And as dedicated parents committed to your family’s wellbeing
and your child’s education
you are prophets to this community,
bringing truth and hope to all of us this morning.

Now parents,
---the desire you have for your children
---that desire
is the life’s work of these educators sitting before you today.

The vocation of the Catholic School educator,
secretary, aide, staff member, etc
… is to partner with your parental desires
by bringing the world of knowledge to your child
---by instilling confidence within your child’s giftedness
---and by inspiring service in your child’s heart.

This is possible
because as Catholic school educators,
all of you embody Paul’s definition of love
—you are patient,
…you are kind
…your love for children bears all things
and never stops believing in them
…You will never LET this educational love FAIL.

Yes, Madeleine staff,
God is celebrating your vocation when you hear the words
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Before you were born
I dedicated you,
to be a prophet to the nations.

And as dedicated Catholic School educators
you indeed inspire truth and hope
and therefore,
are truly prophets to the entire community.
And we THANK YOU!

You know Madeleine staff
—the aspirations you have for your students become real
as a result of the entire parish community
surrounding and supporting you here this morning.
This Eucharistic Body
—that sacrifices and nourishes each other,
embraces you this morning
---this parish body
makes it possible for the School of the Madeleine
to live its Mission.

You, the Parishioners & Friars,
are the most important prophets dedicated to the schools Mission,
because for 79 years,
you have believed in the Dominican charism
and in the education of the young
of St. Mary Magdalen parish.

As we embark on the beginnings of Catholic School’s Week
we want to thank all of you
for your generosity of time, treasure, and talent.
We want to extend our most profound gratitude to
Therese Pipe, Ron Larson and Helen Rendon
Who, through their generosity, have established
scholarship funds
which allow us to broaden our support of parish families
who find the cost of tuition out of reach.

I want to personally thank the parish
for attending our school fundraisers with good spirit and generosity
…I want to thank you for sharing your “space” with us
—when its not always convenient
…and most importantly
I want to thank you for praying for us
—praying for the staff
---praying for the students
and praying the families before you now.

There is one more body of prophets in the congregation
I would like to acknowledge and thank this morning

…Upon our return from Christmas break,
I found a letter addressed to me from the National Catholic
Educational Association.

This letter informed me,
that our Schools Advisory Board was to be the recipient
of the Lead, Learn and Proclaim Award
for Outstanding Board Leadership.
Out of all the Catholic Schools in the United States,
         Of which there are over 6,000,
the Madeleine’s Board, is one of two nationwide
                  to be honored for its excellence.

This award will be issued during the National Catholic Educational
Association’s Annual Convention
held during Easter Break in San Diego.  
Please join me in extending our congratulations and our gratitude to them.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Before you were born
I dedicated you,
to be a prophet to the nations.

Yes,
as dedicated board members,
parishioners, teachers, parents and students
committed to the Mission of Catholic education
at the School of the Madeleine
we are all inspired to bring truth and hope to those we serve
and in so doing we are prophets,
not only to this community of St. Mary Magdalen,
but to faithful of the diocese of Oakland
and to the entire Church.


God Bless and Happy Catholic School’s Week.