3 Steps to a Joyful Christmas

In a recent homily at St. Joseph all’Aurelio Parish in Rome, Pope Francis provided three simple steps towards a joyful Christmas:

To have this joy in preparation for Christmas, first, pray: ‘Lord, may I live this Christmas with true joy.’ Not with the joy of consumerism which brings us to Dec. 24 full of anguish because ‘ah, I’m lacking this, I’m lacking that …’ No, this isn’t God’s joy. Pray.

Second: render thanks to the Lord for the good things he has given us.

Third, think how I can go to others, to those who have difficulties, problems – we think of the sick, of so many problems – to bring some anointing, peace, joy. This is the Christian’s joy. Do you agree?  

I’ve been praying a lot for the gift of joy. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). Christmas is a profound reminder that we alone cannot create lasting joy; instead, God descends toward us to both incite and excite our hearts.

On behalf of all the faculty and staff at Mount Royal Academy, we pray that your families will receive the fullness of God’s peace. And may our school community radiate the joy of the Holy Family as we cherish all that God has given us.

Yours Truly In Christ,

Derek Tremblay

The Advent Season

toys for tots with kidsAdvent is upon us! Advent can be a challenging time for families. The biggest challenge we all face in today’s culture is the push to purchase the perfect gift. Moreover, Christmas is commercialized to such an extent that Advent is overshadowed by Christmas. Christmas is wonderful, but Advent is a season of preparation and waiting for the wonder of Christmas.
The awe of Christmas cannot be achieved unless we are willing to wait. As we wait for amazing gifts, the longing for the gift intensifies; such is the true purpose of Advent.

But the real question is, what are we waiting for? Are we waiting for gifts? Are we waiting for the validation of our purchasing decisions? Or, are waiting for an Infant Savior?

I am always awestruck by the notion that God possesses such an intense love for us that he becomes a baby. Who can resist loving an infant? And yet, babies are vulnerable and dependent. This is the condition God was willing to enter to show us the depth of His love. The power of this invitation to love incites wonder and excitement that deepens our appreciation for all the gifts we receive.

We hope and pray that your family will have a blessed Advent. Distractions and chaos are realities of the season, but Mary and Joseph also experienced a heavy dose of crazy as they prepared for the gift of their firstborn son. May we all look to the Infant Redeemer and experience true peace that only a stable can provide!

Yours Truly In Christ,

Derek Tremblay

Spirit Week 2014 ~ Photo Story

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Spirit Week 2014

This week marks the 4th annual Spirit Week at Mount Royal Academy. The participation by students and faculty thus far has been truly impressive. It is so wonderful to watch all of the students become enlivened and excited about their school.

For a recap and preview of the week’s events, please see the schedule below.

The finale of Spirit Week is our annual observance of All Saints Day. All parents and community members are invited to attend the All Saints festivities.

    • Schedule:
      • Monday; Twin or Triplet Day
      • Tuesday; Mis-match Day
      • Wednesday; A Day in History
      • Thursday: Class colors
      • Friday; School colors (red, blue, white)

All Saints Observance, October 31st

      • 8:30: Elementary productions
      • 9:30: Mass with Fr. Michael
      • 10:30: Upper school productions
      • 11:30: Lunch then recess
      • 12:45: Parade
      • 12:50-1:30: Souling
      • 2:00pm: Dismissal for all students

Stay tuned for photos!

Saint John Paul II: Promoter of the Family

Today marks the feast day of a modern saint. Saint John Paul II was a staunch defender of the family. I know many of our own families grew up with John Paul II, and remain fond of his pastoral care.

He was deeply moved by the troubles of the modern heart. John Paul matured in a hostile environment (World War II; Cold War), but he never lost hope. If you could summarize his message it was this, “Do not be afraid”. Observing and analyzing with boldness yet gentleness the difficulties facing the modern era, he stated that Christ “fully reveals man to himself”. In short, we cannot understand who we are without appreciating and embracing the real identity of Jesus Christ.

In a famous encyclical entitled Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), John Paul confidently stated that families can turn back the tide:

The family has a special role to play throughout the life of its members, from birth to death. It is truly “the sanctuary of life: the place in which life-the gift of God-can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth”. Consequently the role of the family in building a culture of life is decisive and irreplaceable.

And in an open letter to families in 1994, John Paul identified the importance of an education in love:

The gospel of love is the inexhaustible source of all that nourishes the human family as a “communion of persons”.  In love the whole educational process finds its support and definitive meaning as the mature fruit of the parents’ mutual gift. Through the efforts, sufferings and disappointments which are part of every person’s education, love is constantly being put to the test. To pass the test, a source of spiritual strength is necessary. This is only found in the One who “loved to the end” (Jn 13:1). Thus education is fully a part of the “civilization of love”. It depends on the civilization of love and, in great measure, contributes to its upbuilding.

MRA to Pray for Future of LaSalette Shrine

October 8th, 2014

And now we’re off! October customarily marks the beginning of recurring schedule irregularities. I thank you in advance for all of your sacrifice and patience. There is a lot of action at MRA right now, both within and beyond the classroom. However, I have always found that the opportunities we take to come together as a school community only increase the bonds between us. I just want to highlight a couple of events and reflections.

Last Friday all of the full time faculty members attended the annual diocesan Teacher Formation Day. No faculty member left feeling confused or deflated! Instead, the general consensus was, “We should do this every year!” There was morning prayer, Mass, and then two talks. We learned about the effects of trauma on children and their emotional development, and we also listened to a parent’s journey through Catholic education. The parent sadly shared his experience with the closing of Villa Augustina, the second independent school in New Hampshire to be officially recognized by the diocese (MRA was the first). The day was certainly a reminder of how blessed we are to share such a dynamic and thriving school community.

Yesterday we made perhaps our last annual pilgrimage to LaSalette Shrine in Enfield. I want to extend a special thank you to all of the parents who drove or attended. As many of you know, the shrine will be closing within a year. It just happened that on Monday the school received a donated statue of Our Lady of LaSalette. The statue will be touring the classrooms throughout the school year. Each classroom will pray for the future of the shrine.

And finally, I just want to clue all of you in on a very critical event taking place in the universal Church. A synod – which is not as big as an ecumenical council, but still a large scale meeting of Church leaders, both religious and lay – on the family is currently ongoing in Rome. We are certainly suffering from a culture crisis, and since the family is the fundamental cell of society – so too a crisis of the family. I like to think that there are no coincidences, only God-incidences. Last week we learned about the effect of trauma on children. Sr. Mary Agnes talked about the wounds of trauma and what needs to be done in order to bring about true inner healing. Thus, my hope is that MRA can continue to be both an instrument of healing in the lives of children, but more importantly, I pray that together – all of our families can be an authentic witness to the world, exemplifying the beauty of family love. If our families are magnetic, then we can help reverse the tide and bring others into the ‘hypnotic’ (Bishop Peter’s adjective!) love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart.

Yours Truly in Christ,
Derek Tremblay

MRA Celebrates ‘School of Excellence’ Recognition

On September 30th Mount Royal Academy was pleased to welcome Mr. Patrick Reily and Dr. Dan Guernsey of the Cardinal Newman Society to campus. Dr. Guersney, Director of the Catholic Honor Roll, presented MRA with the ‘School of Excellence’ recognition, a feat awarded to less than 5% of Catholic schools in America.

Below is a text of the introductory remarks offered by Mr. Derek Tremblay, Headmaster Elect of Mount Royal Academy.

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Mr. Patrick Riley and Dr. Dan Guersney, on behalf of the families, faculty, students, as well as the Board of Directors, I welcome you to Mount Royal Academy.  We are honored by your presence, but we are also grateful for the valuable service offered by the organization which you represent.

The Cardinal Newman Society and Catholic Honor Roll perform an essential mission for the Church. In the last decade, numerous trends highlight the challenges Catholic elementary and secondary schools are facing in a changing culture. Between the 2004 and the 2014 school years, 1,856 schools were reported closed or consolidated (23.2%); the number of students declined by nearly 23%. Coinciding with a general decline in the number of Catholic schools and enrollment is a renewal movement. More and more Catholic institutions are returning to the classical curriculum.

I think the mission of the Cardinal Newman Society and Catholic Honor Roll is an influential factor in the renewal of Catholic education. Your mission is based on one simple truth: Catholic education is an extension of the Catholic Church. If any Catholic school is going to be successful, it must first be authentically Catholic. Cultivating a school culture that not only embraces every facet of our faith, but also applies the truths of our faith in every corner of the mission maintains and enhances institutional success. It is important to note that our idea of success is radically different than other institutions. I love Mother Theresa’s simple but appropriate quote: “God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful.”

Your role Mr. Riley and Dr. Guersney is a vital factor in the continuing success of Catholic education. We are in the business of making saints so to speak. I think your service to Catholic education helps us all remember that the Catholic standard of success is worth the price of our very lives. Parents, faculty, and students collectively give their lives for this cause. The sacrifices are limitless. But this is all done because we know the pearl which we have found.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,* which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.

Thank you for calling us to a higher standard. Thank you for affirming us as we joyfully labor and struggle to evangelize the youth. And thank you for your service to the Church.

I now introduce to you, Mr. Patrick Riley.


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