A transcript from the above video is located below:
Greetings, Providence Academy. This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it. What a beautiful day it is, too. God is so very good.
A few updates this week. First, good news: Our commitment to proceed on June 8 with our PALS program for children, and other summer programs, is moving forward. PA has been more ambitious than most with the June timeline, dedicated as we are to gauging the art of the possible. Certainly, we will follow all health guidelines. This requires special creativity. But, to be honest, what in life doesn’t these days! The eBulletin this coming Monday will have more information about specific programs, availability, and enrollment thresholds.
In these messages, I always mention that our plans are subject to amendment by governmental authorities. This week, the announcement was made that group gatherings of more than ten people are banned through the end of May. Sadly, it appears that this order will override our plan to celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass at the Cathedral on the 29th. I am pleased to say we have new, tentative plans for a Cathedral Baccalaureate Mass the afternoon of Friday, the 5th of June. And, so that all graduation activities are held in concert, we are now committing to our alternate Commencement date of June 5th. An added advantage of this will be that, if restaurants are open, families might enjoy dinner out together. We will schedule Saturday, June 6, as a new alternate commencement date for inclement weather.
Providence will be prepared for unique and special Mass and Commencement experiences, even if the Mass should need to take place at PA. The Mass as well as the commencement ceremony can be held in front of the school. And if necessary, both can be achieved even with attendance from our parking lot. We are making sophisticated plans for that possibility, with staging, lighting, sound, and large LED screens. It is our sincere hope that authorities might make possible larger, responsible group gatherings by early June. That would make both Cathedral attendance and a richer commencement experience possible.
I have spoken with my section of our senior religion class about that hope. We know that Providence could safely host an outdoor, social distanced, in-person, seated event–with in-car attendance options for the vulnerable. We would carefully follow every applicable CDC and MDH regulation. With the liberty to do so, we and the young adults of our Class of 2020 could join in responsibly assuring everyone’s safety. That would be meeting multiple top priorities simultaneously. That would be the kind of win-win that I like to talk about. In addition, it would provide the graduates an opportunity for the exercise of virtue. That is the way character is solidified. Isn’t that what we hope for our children? That they be prepared as adults for the free exercise of virtue, for the common good?
Whatever strictures we operate under, we will deliver a special day for our wonderful graduating class.
I mentioned last week that we are hoping to gauge firm re-enrollment numbers for the fall, especially so that we can finalize arrangements with faculty and staff members in a timely fashion. Thank you to so very many who have been communicating with us. Our goal, as I’ve stated, is to be here in person together beginning August 31. We’re involved in exciting and creative planning about how we may deliver learning both in person, and remotely, simultaneously. We know that maximal flexibility for families will be important, especially as COVID-related health concerns continue.
Beginning next week, we will be calling families to thank you for kind patience during distance learning, and to learn further of your intentions, hopes, or concerns about next year. And I’m happy that today you will have received formal information about our new PA COVID-19 Transition, or “PACT”, Fund. We are, as I have said, hoping to make a pact with our families to stay together next year, even as some will have experienced some substantial income loss during this time. Again, the art of the possible will govern here. But count me excited about this new effort.
Also next week, we are holding our special “Week of Giving.” We’re very encouraged by progress made to date on the Annual Fund. Now, a generous $75,000 matching grant challenge has been offered to meet new gifts dollar for dollar. We are so grateful for that challenge gift, and to all who will participate in meeting this challenge.
And speaking of giving: by early next week, Chef Morris will have prepared more than 1,000 meals for the needy, thanks to your generosity. Those meals have been delivered by our staff directly to Sharing and Caring Hands. Mary Jo Copeland wrote me the other day to thank this community. She said, “God bless your most generous hearts, in bringing meals to God’s poor. You helped many poor people.” God be praised.
Here’s a thought for today, in closing. A friend told me of a sermon he heard last week. The preacher said that while we’re accustomed to the disciplines of Lent, sometimes the discipline of Easter is harder. He said it’s sometimes easier to be penitential for forty days than it is to rejoice for fifty! Especially in times like these. Yet rejoice we must! And at Providence Academy, with your families at the center of our vocation, rejoice we do. Alleluia!
We’ll see you next week.