Catechism paragraph number 2223 reads, “Parents and guardians have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for the education in the virtues.”
In the past year and a half serving here at St Joseph High School, the quality of the students who walk through these doors each and every morning never ceases to amaze me; young men and women who are not virtuous because someone is watching but rather because they are simply living out what they are internally. I have no doubt that this is because of the hard work and dedication of so many faculty, administration, and staff here at St Joe’s (and their previous places of education), but also because of the tireless work of so many parents who continue to sacrifice of themselves to ensure that their children grow and mature into the young adults that will lead this country and this world into a brighter tomorrow.
It is my duty as their spiritual father and it is our goal here at St Joe’s not only to give them the best intellectual formation, spiritual formation, social formation, and athletic formation they can possibly get, but also to create an environment that develops and fosters virtue and a love for striving for virtue. We want your children to be not just the most intelligent but the most intelligent people who will use that intelligence for the betterment of the world; this comes from ensuring that this school is living out intentionally the idea that virtue is not something that is acquired passively but very much actively.
While it may be true that we have your children for what seems to be the majority of the day between school hours, after school activities, and sporting events, it is also true that you all as parents and guardians have a far greater capacity for influence over your children because of who you are. This year, in a most intentional way, we must present a united front in ensuring that these students, your children, are educated not only in math, science, history, English, the fine arts, and theology, but also in the way of virtue. Virtue begins in the home in the simplest of ways -- from ensuring that your child leave for school on time dressed according to the school’s dress code, to ensuring that they are not using excessive foul language or overusing/misusing social media. Instilling virtue in your children is a task that will take the entirety of your lives and certainly the entirety of your energy, but it is one that does not go without great benefits. A child may not be the best athlete in whatever sport they play, they may not be the smartest in their class, and they may not be the leader of whatever group they are involved in, but a virtuous child will be prepared to encounter whatever the world will undoubtedly throw their way. It is my goal to ensure that your children walk into a school that fosters virtue in every area of their lives and it is my hope that that education of virtue is only simplified in the home.
Know of my prayers and support for the many difficulties that face parents each and every day. God Bless you all and be saints, nothing less.
In Christ & Mary,