March 2, 2013

General Announcements

● Confirmation Mass on Monday, April 8, 6:30 PM, in the abbey church.

● Student-led Parent Teacher Conferences, Sunday evening, March 17th
Time:  Freshmen 6:30 pm; Sophomores 6:50 pm; Juniors 7:15 pm; Seniors 7:40 pm.
Begin:  In the parking lot near the library where we will distribute name tags
Continue: To the St. Joseph and Our Lady Perpetual Help classrooms
End:  Behind the school for a reception.
Note: Three minute time-frame per teacher!

Your role as a parent is to:
● Look at your son’s online grades before coming to the conference at:  
● Listen to your son when he speaks about his strengths/weaknesses and goals for each of his
   classes; Briefly confirm (or correct) your son’s self-identified strengths/weaknesses and
   goals. Don’t plan on saying more than one or two sentences.
● Send a note to your son during the week which summarizes your view of the conference. 
   Praise. Encourage. Exhort. Love.

There will be an informal reception after the Student-led Parent Teacher Conferences on Sunday evening.  Please help by contributing the following if your last name falls between:

-Aeschliman and Esser:  a finger food snack item that does not require eating utensils
-Gates and Portka: a finger food dessert item that does not require eating utensils
-Rozak and Wu: a case of bottled water a finger food dessert item that does not require eating utensils 

●Oral Exams will be given at the end of the third quarter, March 26th, 27th, and 28th.
● Note that students will not be dismissed for Easter Vacation until after the Good Friday service, which will end around 4:15 PM.  Parents are welcome to attend the service, which begins at 2:00 PM.

● Baseball season is now well underway.  The team’s next games are:  Tuesday, March 3, at 3:15 PM at St. Michael’s; and Thursday, March 7, at 3:15 PM at TVT (Cypress Park, Irvine).  Come out and cheer the team on!

Since the earliest days, the Our Father is a text summarizing everything a Christian needs to know about the content of faith and Christian behavior.  Tertullian wrote that the Our Father is a summary of the entire gospel. 

Not only modern-day students are interested in summaries and shortcuts.  In the excavations of Pompeii archaeologists uncovered a Latin palindrome in the shape of a square.  It can be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, and right-to-left. This interesting word game is formed by five words:  Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas, which spell two times the Latin phrase Pater Noster.  This is particularly interesting because the palindrome had to be carved before the volcanic eruption of 79 A.D. and the language of the Christians in Rome was still Greek and their number outside Rome was very small; and there is more.

These same two words, Pater Noster, were found by archaeologists in various places on scraps of parchment, bits of broken lamps, and bracelets.  These two words were enough to identify or to condemn a person as a Christian.  Let’s see why.

John Chrysostom marveled about the richness of these two words and taught: to say just two words, Our Father, means a confession of faith, forgiveness of sins, remission of punishment, justification, sanctification, redemption, adoption, brotherhood with the Only Begotten One, and a share in the life of the Holy Spirit.  Clearly, these two words say quite a bit. Let us look at them more carefully.

“Father”:  the ancient Latins had a very clear idea of fatherhood and what it meant. For its meaning was not only creator and origin, but the active solicitude of the father and his attentive responsibility for his children.

Augustine points out that for us to address God as the father who knows our needs more completely than we ourselves know them is to automatically calm and clear our heart. This tranquil heart is better disposed to receive the gift He is always ready to give us.  This gift Augustine describes variously as:  pure light, divine shining, changeless ineffable joy, a life truly and sincerely blessed and perfected.
Winter Sports Awards Ceremony

To be a son of such a father is a great privilege and carries with it its own great responsibility.  John Chrysostom pointed out that, “He who has called God Father is bound to show a diligence proportionate to the gift.”  Cyprian emphasized, when we call God Father, we ought to act as God's children; so that in the measure in which we find pleasure in considering God as a Father, He might also be able to find pleasure in us.

We are not alone in having such a wonderful father.  The personal possessive pronoun in the prayer is in the plural, “Our”.

Jesus taught His disciples to say not "my Father, who art in Heaven," but, "our Father." In using the plural pronoun He was teaching us not to seek our own good but our neighbors’.  With such an attitude in prayer, John Chrysostom continues, Jesus at once takes away hatred, quells pride, casts out envy, exterminates inequality, and brings charity… Because the king and common solider, the philosopher and the barbarian, the artisan and the unlearned share the same sonship.

Alumnus Jay Hippolito '10 and Fr. John Henry
I have just used more than 600 of my own words to explain two of Jesus’:  a clear sign that I am not divine.  There is a summary to living the Christian life, but there is no shortcut.  The summary is the Lord’s Prayer which itself can be distilled into two words – “Our Father.”    

Easier said than done.  Or as a famous Roman [Cicero] once said,  Sunt Facta Verbis Difficiliora.

●For Betty Leonard who has an invasive form of cancer.
For John Ramsey, alumnus, who suffers from lupus in addition to a recent staph infection in his blood, heart, and lungs.
●For all generous friends and benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory.