A transcript from the above video is located below:
Greetings, Providence Academy. A very happy Memorial Day weekend to you. Many have altered their usual plans for the weekend due to current restrictions on the travel and hospitality industry. Changes of plans afford each of us time to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day. We honor those courageous members of the U.S. armed forces who not only put themselves in harm’s way for the defense of their country; they gave what Lincoln termed “the last full measure of devotion.” We especially salute the many relatives in the PA community who gave the last full measure. May we be inspired by their example. Let us teach our children well: risk and sacrifice are noble, and sometimes necessary. Any life well lived entails risk and courage.
It’s hard to believe that we are almost at the end of this unique school year. Our beloved seniors finished their finals today. All students will be finishing up during the next two weeks. We’ve been thrilled by the amount of learning your children have accomplished during distance learning. And we’re grateful to continue serving them right through to our regularly scheduled end, June 5. While many schools shortened their year when they went online, Providence believed that providing real education in a different mode was not only possible at a high level, but imperative to accomplish. We made a contract to serve your family until June 5, and we’re happy to keep the terms of that contract. We’re so proud of the kids, their teachers, and you.
We are busily preparing now for summer and fall programs. While guidance from public health authorities continues to evolve, we remain attentive to best practices. And we forge ahead with innovative ideas for classroom learning beginning September. We’ve been experimenting this week with new in-classroom technologies that promise exciting new possibilities. Next Friday, I hope to introduce the key concept to you in some detail. I look forward to that prospect.
This weekend concludes the special “Week of Giving” to the Annual Fund—and I’m confident that at e-bulletin time Tuesday, I will announce that the generous $75,000 matching gift challenge has been exceeded. Here’s something that inspired us: some families have responded to the challenge by giving a second gift to the Fund. If your family would still like to participate in this challenge, please feel free to do so, online, over the weekend.
This morning I joined Mrs. Hogan on a Google Meet with numerous alumni. They were there to record tributes and words of wisdom to our Class of 2020. How beautiful it was. This was an inaugural event of a new “Ask an Alum” mentor program. The new program has already enlisted 110 eager alumni! They are young leaders in fields of business, industry, education, healthcare, technology, the military, and much more. They are translating a PA preparation into real-world leadership. They are proud, and eager to serve our older students. A great thing for your kids to look forward to!
And while we’re talking about the Class of 2020: preparations for graduation are big and bold. And we have once again confirmed the Cathedral for Baccalaureate Mass. It is now firmly scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, June 5. It is said that “good things come to those who wait.” How true that is. Through patience, we put ourselves in a position to benefit from the Minnesota bishops’ bold move to reopen churches. Their announcement Wednesday evening was a magnificent vote of confidence for the clergy and the faithful to pursue multiple high priorities simultaneously. In the words of their Wednesday statement: “The bishops of Minnesota are united in our conviction that we can safely resume public Masses in accordance with both our religious duties and with accepted public health and safety standards. We can worship in a way that reflects both the love of God and the love of our neighbors. We are blessed to live in a nation that guarantees the free exercise of religion. This right can only be abridged for a compelling governmental interest, and only in a way that is narrowly tailored to be the least restrictive means of achieving the desired end.”
I can only add: way to go, Bishops! You’re an inspiration.
And here at PA, we will follow their inspiration next week. On Thursday, May 28, we will begin to welcome limited attendance at our 8 a.m. Mass. We will follow all protocols. In deference to the bishops’ prior request that Catholic schools remain closed to the end of the year, only attendance at Mass will be authorized in this building. Full details will be published in the e-bulletin Tuesday, along with procedures for how to sign up for attendance. We are very much looking forward to this.
Finally today: we’ve been delighted by so many visitors to our Shrine of Our Lady of Hope. It is right inside the front gates to the left. The invitation to visit the shrine is open to all, and we will keep it open into the summer. And here’s one more invitation: If you’d like, please feel free to bring Our Lady a potted flower. We are grateful for the prayers.
Hope: it’s a great virtue for our time.
God bless. We’ll see you next week.