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.
- 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!
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.
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,
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.
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.
September 17, 2014
SUNAPEE, NH – Mount Royal Academy is pleased to announce that it has been recognized by the Catholic Education Honor Roll as a 2014 School of Excellence.
Schools receiving this designation are marked by the integration of Catholic identity throughout all aspects of their programs and excellence in academics. The Cardinal Newman Society released the list of 71 schools from 26 states. Less than 5 percent of the Catholic schools in the United States receive this prestigious honor.
“Since competition began in 2004, the Honor Roll has been a helpful tool for administrators, families, and benefactors in recognizing the quality of a Catholic high school education,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “The Honor Roll schools are a reminder that Catholic education is getting better every day—not only academically, but in the renewal of Catholic identity—and we are delighted to see the increased level of competition among the schools that participated in the program this year.”
This year’s Honor Roll schools are described as diverse: large and small, new and long-established, highly selective and those with open enrollment admissions policies, as well as a variety of tuition rates.
“I’m proud of our board, faculty, families, and entire school community for remaining committed to our strong Catholic identity,” said Mount Royal Academy Headmaster Elect Derek Tremblay. “Over the past five years, every facet of the school has experienced growth and excellence. I think this is attributed in large part to our dynamic and authentic Catholic culture, which if successful, only attracts more and more individuals to the faith. We form students to be both virtuous and independent. I am so thankful for all of the efforts of each individual in the school community.”
Former Mount Royal Academy teacher and current parent, Dr. Mary Bellino, who co-chaired the application process, echoed Tremblay’s sentiments. “Mount Royal Academy, past and present, has always strived to go beyond the standard teaching excellence by fostering a love of Christ in each and every student, parent and faculty member,” said Dr. Bellino. “It is truly an honor to see Mount Royal Academy listed among the top Catholic schools. We are achieving our mission as a school.”
Mr. Reilly will bestow the honor on Mount Royal Academy during a ceremony to be held at the school on September 30th at 9 a.m. The entire community is invited to join the school for this celebration.
Mount Royal Academy is a private Catholic school nestled in the hills of New Hampshire’s Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee Region. Since 1994 the faculty, families and friends of Mount Royal have striven to provide not only a quality education to the children of our community, but most importantly a formation in Christian faith and morals. What began as an elementary school, grades Kindergarten through eight, has grown to include a preschool with three-and-four-year-old programs and a liberal arts college preparatory High School.
August 28th, 2014
First off, I want to express how humbled and grateful I am to be a part of this school community. I received many thoughtful emails, letters, and phone calls over the past two weeks. I apologize as I was not able to respond to each and every message. I do want you all to know that I am thankful for your support and generosity.
Last night’s Ice Cream Social was a very spirited and positive event. We saw familiar and new faces together. Again, I received more messages, and all we can do is reciprocate our gratitude towards all of the families.
Each new school year brings mixed emotions. I know the entire school community is poised to begin anew. We’ve been talking to the faculty and staff this week about reflection. We are certainly called to action, but if we fail to reflect on the reasons for all the good efforts we embark upon, then we ultimately lose a sense of purpose and direction. I just want to reiterate to you that, although there are obvious changes ongoing as we speak, the mission of the school cannot and will never change. We are all here to be instruments of grace, and our essential task is to support the continued growth of our Lord’s kingdom. We are all saint-makers.
As you will see below, there are more changes to come. Throughout this transitional period, Bill Mealey will remain on campus as the Interim Headmaster. Bill and I have a great working relationship. He has been my mentor and friend since I started at Mount Royal Academy.
I do owe another mentor a word of gratitude as well. I am stating the obvious when I say that Dave Thibault and I are very close. He gave me a lot of responsibility at a very young age. He trusted me in ways that I can never repay him for, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share that with the school community. I want to sincerely thank him for all his confidence in me.
Again, thank you all very much. We’ll give the school year to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her chaste spouse St. Joseph. May their intercession bring the whole community peace and joy as we continue to evangelize out of love for their kingly Son, Jesus Our Lord.
Yours Truly In Christ,