by Ed Beckett ’78, Principal
Click Here for information about diocesan Youth Ministry activities.
Just after Pentecost, Pope Francis spoke of the Church as a “community of ‘yes’”; a community of “open doors” that seeks to be a “community of love”. “Christ’s love and friendship are no illusion”, he recently tweeted. Yet the daily grind of the headlines and our everyday disappointments sometimes make it difficult to believe in that love and friendship. Where can we find such a community?
It is always a humbling experience to hear our students articulate their own understanding of faith. There is no more honest gauge of a school’s character than a conversation with a recently graduated senior. “No more grades, no more classes – I’m finally free”, as one student told me after the last graduation practice. So I asked our three Student Council officers to reflect on “what makes Gloucester Catholic Catholic?” Here are the responses I received via email.
Kelly Coppola wrote that she appreciated “the opportunities we get as a school to come together and practice our faith. We practice our faith at Mass, saying our morning prayers and attending reconciliation together. We use these practices as a foundation for living the Catholic faith. Gloucester Catholic has instilled this strong foundation for us and we build on it as we become not only better Catholics, but better people. Throughout the four years at Gloucester Catholic you realize that there is love within the school just like there is within the church. There is love for the school and love for one another. We treat each other with respect and truly care for one another.”
Kathleen Golden echoed Kelly’s point and added “Gloucester Catholic is not Catholic solely because of the many crucifixes in the building or the Masses we have on holy days. It’s not Catholic just because of the prayers we say before each class starts or the way we make reference to Christ throughout the day. Gloucester Catholic is a Catholic high school because of the loyalty and love that is present in all of the faculty, staff, and students. Everyone in the GC family is there to guide you, both in and out of school.“
Julia Pedersen summarized her experience in a very similar way. She wrote that “there is a feeling of fullness that a student experiences when he or she attends our school. Being taught in the Catholic faith teaches you all about being a good person. The key to success is surrounding yourself with good people, and our school is filled with them. The love, comfort, and support that you receive from everyone at GC is something I will take with me forever, and it is something not only circulating in our school, but something deeply rooted in the mission of the Catholic Church. Even after graduating, when I think of “Gloucester Catholic”, a big smile comes to my face. The experience you get here is something very special, and we are very blessed to be taught in such an incredible happy and faithful environment.”
There you have it. It is clear from these graduates that Christ’s love and friendship are no illusion. It is the foundation of their lives experienced in a Catholic community that just happens to be a high school, your high school. There’s no place like home.