WALKING TOGETHER IN GOD'S LOVE REFLECTED IN THE LIVES OF PEOPLE
As I was reflecting on our theme, Walking Together in God's Love, I thought of three people, well known to all of us, individuals who were engaged in our mission, individuals whose lives exemplified our theme. I am thinking about Archbishop Joseph MacNeil, Sister Annata Brockman and Father Michael Mireau. I knew them well and considered each to be a personal friend. Each in their own way was a mentor to me and I learned so much from them. I often wonder what they would tell me now, when they know so much more. I would like to reflect on our theme in light of their lives of faithful service.
Father Michael Mireau – Our beloved late District Chaplain had as his personal motto 'God is Love'. How often he wanted to make us aware of this theme as he invited us to participate in this mystery; he ended every homily by saying 'God is Love'. He would comment: "God abides in love. Expressed in the life of the Trinity, love is the nature of God; it is what God is."
Simply stated that as Catholic educators committed to a ministry of love, we must firstly be loving people. Sharing in our life of grace, our life as Jesus in the world, our actions are devoted to helping teachers, staff, students and parents awaken to and share in the vision of God's love.
We must recognize that the greatest resources we have in Edmonton Catholic Schools are the people who work with us in our schools and offices. They grace our district with their wisdom, talents, strengths and gifts; we are so blessed to have each one sharing their gifts with students, colleagues and parents, each bringing their "heart" commitment to serving our communities in whatever role they have.
Archbishop Joseph MacNeil
Archbishop MacNeil helped us understand how we can live in intimacy with God sharing in this divine love. It is captured in his motto "Let us Grow into Christ". He knew that the more we grow into Christ, the more we enter into the divine love available to us. The essence of his mission was to gather everyone into the life of Jesus Christ. He was the perfect example of inclusivity. He increased the role of lay people in the Church, the role of women in the Church. In the words of Father Ron Rolheiser, omi "he was a Prince of the Church…not because the Church anointed him as such, but because he had the intelligence, grace and heart of a leader." He gathered us together in Christ.
Sister Annata Brockman
Sister Annata was a model for us in living the life of our theme. She knew that God was love and that love was personal for each of us. In her many years of work with the school district and St. Joseph Basilica parish, Sister Annata devoted herself to bringing this message to the people she encountered. Her school would later recall: "Her messages would ensure that every student know how much God loved them and that his love was unconditional. She would say that every child was important and precious in God's eyes as they were in hers."
Her comment about her work was: "Every day was a special day because I knew that Jesus was touching the hearts of many people, changing and giving them new life."
We are so blessed in our work each day to be with students, colleagues, parents and faith communities where we are able to express our relationship with Jesus – becoming models of his Gospel teachings and sharing the love of God with others. If we have this understanding our work in our schools and offices is to be truly treasured in all that we do.