Archbishop Wuerl Blesses St. John Catholic School

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On Sunday, Feb. 6 at 11:30 a.m., the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl held mass at St. John Catholic Church and then led a procession to the newly completed St. John Catholic School at 12:45 in Hollywood.

St. John has been rebuilt from the ground up and has now opened to students, eleven months after a 2010 blizzard caused a portion of the school to collapse. The content of Cardinal Wuerl’s remarks and service are below:

“This is a time of celebration both of faith and of Catholic education.  We know that at the heart of our Catholic schools is the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

“The Gospel for today reminds us that we are to be the salt of the earth.  We are to be the light of the world. Each one of us is called to share the wonderful story of our encounter with Jesus Christ, the meaning of his Gospel and the hope that he is for the world.

“Jesus came among us to tell us of a new way of life and how it involves all of us.  In the Gospel of Matthew, he tells us that his kingdom involves the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who mourn, the peacemakers, the poor in spirit. 

“Here we learn of the call to be salt of the earth and light set on a lamp stand.  Later in this same Gospel, we hear the extraordinary dictum that we should see in one another the very presence of Christ.

“Catholic education brings to the young people entrusted to our care the perspective of faith.  When we ask, How shall I live, what is the purpose of life, how should I direct my actions, we find our response in Jesus Christ.  His Gospel gives us a perspective inspired by the wisdom of God.

“Our Catholic schools are a proven instrument for passing on the faith.  We have long recognized the role of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton whose efforts in Maryland in the early part of the 19th century, with the encouragement of Bishop John Carroll, are seen as the beginning of the Catholic system of schools throughout our country. 

“Historically the Church has turned to Catholic schools to help carry out her teaching mission.  In 2005 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops noted, “These Catholic schools afford the fullest and best opportunity to realize the fourfold purpose of Christian education, namely to provide an atmosphere in which the Gospel message is proclaimed, community in Christ is experienced, service to our sisters and brothers is the norm, and thanksgiving and worship of our God is cultivated.” (Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 2005)

“In a June 2007 address, Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘By educating in the faith, a very important task is entrusted to Catholic schools.  Indeed, they must carry out their mission on the basis of an educational project which places the Gospel at the center and keeps it as a decisive reference point for the person's formation and for the entire cultural program.  In convinced synergy with families and with the Ecclesial Community, Catholic schools should therefore seek to foster that unity between faith, culture and life which is the fundamental goal of Christian education.’  (Address to Participants in the Convention of the Diocese of Rome, 2007).

“As the bishops’ 2005 statement on Catholic schools states, “We must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church.  The entire Catholic community must now focus on the future and the many challenges we face.  We must then move forward with faith, courage, and enthusiasm because Catholic schools are so impo

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