Martina Hart Photo
Michele Martin, principal of St. Paul School in Weirton, left, and Colleen Hoyer, principal of Charleston Catholic High School, present the gifts to Bishop Mark E. Brennan during the Mass he celebrated for the Catholic schools principal/pastor workshop at St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston Aug. 1. Also pictured is Rev. Mr. John Yaquinta, permanent deacon at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown.
By Martina Hart
Bishop Mark E. Brennan commended the principals and pastors of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools for responding to their vocation in the field of Catholic education.
“Trust the Lord to give you strength to fulfill it,” he said to them in his homily for the Mass he celebrated for them at St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston Aug. 1. This was the first of a two-day workshop at the center.
While the first day’s program focused on academics and student performance, the second day also included a retreat with the goal of refilling “principals’ spiritual buckets,” said Mary Ann Deschaine, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese. Bishop Brennan joined them on Aug. 1 to get acquainted with the leadership of the Catholic school communities in the diocese. He celebrated the Mass for them in the afternoon.
“I’m glad that my second Mass (in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston) is with those who share the faith and are built up in the faith,” Bishop Brennan said. “How important that is for all of us whether we’re pastors or principals or teachers.”
In his homily he referred to the Gospel reading of Jesus comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to a net thrown into the sea.
“In our schools, as the parable says, are fish of all kinds,” Bishop Brennan said. The challenge as principals and pastors, he described, lies in finding a way to reach everybody with the Word of God.
“What we do in our Catholic schools, what we add to the mix of education, is our perspective,” Bishop Brennan pointed out. “We’re forming young people as disciples of Jesus Christ. … It’s this sense of mission you’ve been called to do, something really important that affects this life tremendously but goes beyond it and into eternity.”
He gave the example of St. Alphonsus Liguori, the saint of the day, as someone who understood the importance of forming people, not only successful in this life, but for eternity.
“If we’re successful, then our students become like the teachers,” he continued. “They can form others and become like that householder (in the Gospel parable) … able to take up both the new and the old from the storeroom, both new insights into how to live the faith authentically and the old wisdom of the church that sustains the next generations of our people.”