Published April 15, 2015
Tis’ the season of Easter. It is part of the culture of our school to align our academic calendar with the liturgical calendar. Hence, families savored the opportunity to participate in the Triduum, and then enjoyed a period of rest and refreshment to mark the beginning of the Easter season.
In our liturgical calendar, Easter is actually celebrated for 8 continuous days (the octave of Easter). The second Sunday of Easter marks the conclusion of Easter Sunday, and it is recognized as Divine Mercy Sunday. The Easter season continues onward for a total of 50 days, culminating with the feast of Pentecost.
One of the most intriguing characters of the Easter season is ‘doubting’ Thomas. Thomas needs physical proof in order to accept that Jesus has truly risen from the dead. This is the sentiment of the secular culture, which holds that no credible truths exist unless they can be verified by material evidence. In spite of Thomas’ disposition, Jesus penetrates into the locked quarters where the apostles were hiding, and rather boldly states to Thomas, ‘go ahead, have your proof.’
This image is so inspiring because of Jesus’ relentless pursuit of the apostles faith. But before an act of faith is made, the apostles must be filled with peace.
This is similar to the ministry of educating youth. As parents and teachers, we constantly seek to show our children the truth so they can become virtuous and knowledgeable in the ways of goodness and righteousness. But before they can accept the gift of knowledge, they must first embrace the unconditional love that is offered. Once our children know they are loved, they will be able to see beyond mere material realities.
May we, like Jesus, be instruments of peace and love in the lives of our children.
Sincerely In Christ,
Published April 2, 2015
As we approach the Holy Triduum, I am reminded each day of how unholy I often feel. There is a quip among Catholics that is utilized when something jarring or unpleasant takes place before the Triduum – “It must be Holy Week.” It is an ongoing struggle to remain faith-filled in the face of daily suffering. And yet, Jesus remarked “If anyone wishes to follow me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
Catholicism is unique because daily suffering possesses a qualitative character. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil collectively signify that suffering is both meritorious and redemptive. I find that in the grind of March, the springtime of our faith appropriately resets our hearts to learn or remember that our daily struggles are never meaningless, but rather, meaningful.
This can be peculiarly challenging to swallow, like a bitter or over-sized pill. But instead of merely reducing the negative effects of a symptom, the Paschal mystery – Jesus’ arrest, death, and resurrection – transformed the human heart so we can do more than simply withstand the struggles of daily life; the Triduum proclaims that each day is but another second chance, an opportunity to see through the darkness and into the light.
Even if we think we are forgotten or that no one is listening, there is always someone out there willing to support us as we struggle to carry our daily crosses. I think that is a distinctive feature of our school community, and I am so thankful for all that you do for the school, each other, and my family.
Wishing you and yours a spiritually enriching Triduum, and a blessed Easter.
Sincerely In Christ,
Published March 31, 2015
The Valley News recently brought attention to Mrs. Husarik’s generosity and charity, choosing to cover her in a regular column fittingly called “Volunteer Spotlight”.
Mrs. Husarik quietly arrived at MRA each morning at approximately 8:45am for nearly 11 years. She helped hundreds of students improve their reading fluency. Her faith impelled her to serve young children. Mrs. Husarik was a daily communicant at the local parishes, and she would even attend Mass at the school occasionally.
We would like to extend our gratitude once again to Mrs. Husarik for her service to our school. And ‘thank you’ to Mrs. Walsh for making sure that her Christian witness was made known to the Upper Valley and our school community.
Published March 24, 2015
On Thursday, March 19th, the entire MRA school community gathered to observe the solemnity of a very special heavenly patron – St. Joseph.
Fr. Michael Monette and Fr. Rick St. Louis concelebrated the Mass. After Mass, students processed to St. Joseph, leaving petitions and words of gratitude to his intercession. The school was also blessed to receive a bouquet of roses from a generous benefactor.
As is customary, the entire student body shared lunch together, followed by cake. High school students and teachers served the younger students, as students across all ages sat together.
It is difficult to fathom the growth and dynamism of the MRA school community without recalling the support of St. Joseph. Each day St. Joseph is called upon to intercede for the needs of the school, but more importantly, for the faithfulness of its mission. St. Joseph is famously silent in the gospels, yet he willingly surrenders himself to God’s plan for the salvation of humanity.
Please join us in asking St. Joseph for another 20 years of heavenly support.
Published March 11, 2015
We are nearing the halfway point of Lent. Many of our students are preparing to receive sacraments during this ultimate period of preparation.
In moments of deep distress, it can be hard to recall ‘first things’. I will forever remember when a wise man once told me, “we have to keep first things first”. Otherwise, our lives can become disordered or even unhinged.
What is the first objective of our school’s mission (It is so much easier to answer this question than it is to articulate an entire history curriculum)? Our school exists to empower young people with the tools needed to become fully alive, and to enter into eternal communion with God, who is ultimate life.
A traditional and true idea has always permeated the Catholic lifestyle: our lives are a massive preparation effort. In this season of Lent, we prepare for that redemptive moment when Christ transformed our existence into a new beginning.
At MRA, our goal is to encourage young people to minimize the noise and cultivate a habit of seeking God’s voice. Our institutional knowledge indicates that since our school’s inception in 1994, there has been at least 1 conversion per year. Each year, at least 1 student has listened to God’s voice, answering the call to enter into that new communion with Him – the Catholic Church.
2nd graders have asked their parents to receive the sacraments and teenagers have decided to join the mystical body of Christ. This is the best indicator that as long we keep “first things first”, we will participate in the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom on earth. It is also a great consolation to know that grace overcomes all of our own weaknesses, so long as we remain open to God’s voice – His loving plan for our redemption.
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Yours Truly In Christ,
Published March 4, 2015
Mount Royal Academy’s JV boys basketball season came to a close last Sunday as they lost in the quarterfinals of the 14th annual Pittsfield JV basketball tournament to Wilton High School.
After a strong start (4-1) they had some difficulty winning on the road. Although the boys often faced larger teams with a deeper bench, the boys tough defense and scrappy play allowed them to maintain a winning record throughout the season and finish with an overall record of 10-8.
The final regular season game against Holy Family Academy was the highlight of the season. The boys pulled off a thrilling double-overtime win before a packed crowd that showed up for Senior Andrew Thibault’s last home game. It was a galvanizing moment for the mostly young team that now looks forward to greater success next year.
Published March 3, 2015
For the third time in four years, the MRA middle school boys basketball team played in the championship game. The boys have competed well since joining the Merrimack Basketball League, and they are continually one of the stronger teams in division one. In a bid to repeat last year’s championship, the team played hard but came up short against St. John’s.
The team had a strong finish to the season after a slow start. They utilized their speed, quickness. and excellent defense in order to be competitive against the many teams with superior size. They finished with an overall record of 7-10.
Michael Fitzgibbons drives to the hoop.
Andrew Normandin takes a shot. John Thibault and Michael Fitzgibbons go for the rebound.