Christian Unity Day serves as an opportunity for our Wolfhound community to illustrate what we mean when we say Saint Patrick Catholic School is “Authentically Catholic and Warmly Ecumenical.” When Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council in 1960, he made it clear that he regarded the unity of Christians as a major concern of the Council. In this spirit of ecumenism, the Catholic Church sets one week aside each year in January to celebrate Christian Unity.
Each year, Saint Patrick celebrates Christian Unity Day by inviting our area pastors, priests, and ministers to attend Chapel so we can better understand what we have in common with our friends of other faiths. These ministers and priests work in collaboration with us to deepen the faith of our students, which is worth celebrating!
In reflecting on the day's Gospel reading from Matthew, Head of School Lauren Mazzari began her remarks by reflecting on our recent celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contributions to the greater good and progress of humanity. Mrs. Mazzari said that “he stands as a powerful example of a man who answered a call” and challenged all Wolfhounds to model his faith and personal courage. She went on to give examples of what that may look like in their own lives. She said by “holding a coat drive for those in need, Celtic Council raising money for our dear staff member by selling Perseverance Pins, and by praying for a family in our community beset by a recent tragedy, we are answering God’s call.” This is how followers of Jesus, regardless of denomination, can answer His call and live out His teachings.
Before we closed the celebration, Mrs. Mazzari asked each of the seven ministers and priests that had joined us to share some advice or words of wisdom with our students, faculty and staff.
This what they shared:
Rev. John Cole, Centenary United Methodist Church: “We are constantly in the process of being saved. None of us are perfect. Look into your life to see where Jesus is at work.”
Fr. Kevin Fimian, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Chapel, Naval Station Norfolk: “I knew God had a plan for me. God has a plan for you to be happy as well. Realize how important your faith is and hear His voice through vocation. We are all called to be Christian leaders. Listen to His voice.”
Fr. Gerry Kaggwa, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church: “My guiding principle is love. Love for my faith, my church, and my people. Serve your church and your neighbor.”
Rev. Ryan LaRock, Deep Creek United Methodist Church: “We all have a net [referencing the Gospel reading] that keeps us from doing God’s work. Put that net aside to take a risk and be a better person. Be in a relationship with someone new to you.”
Rev. Josh McCauley, Old Dominion University Methodist Campus Minister: “I found my calling at the communion table. This is a place where we all can find common ground. Find places where you too find common ground.”
Rev. Ryan Schaeffer, Ghent United Methodist Church: “I’m sure you all have celebrity role models, but I encourage you to find role models in your church or at school. It’s important to have someone in your church you look up to.”
Rev. Jacqueline Soltys, Church of the Good Shepherd: “I know you are getting a great education at Saint Patrick, but you are also learning to use your heart. There is nothing more important than learning to be a friend.”
Christian Unity Day is one of our favorite days of the year. Saint Patrick Catholic School prides itself for being both authentically Catholic and warmly ecumenical. We believe that no one falls outside the mantle of God’s love and that we, as faculty and staff, are called to educate the whole child - mind, body, and spirit - to be Christ-centered, compassionate, and courageous servant leaders.