We began this month with the feast of Mary, Mother of God who the Almighty has sent to guide us, console us and teach us by reminding us of all her Divine Son's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church professes. The following day we celebrated the feast of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, both early Doctors of the Church. A few days later was the feast of Saint John Neumann whose blueprint of Catholic education at the higher level was adopted in most Catholic institutions of higher learning throughout America. The legacy to this great American saint are the Neumann Clubs on practically every campus - Catholic and non-Catholic - in the land. A week later we commemorated the feast of another Doctor of the Church, Saint Hilary. The following week we commemorated the feast of four early martyrs of the Church in a three-day consecutive span - Saints Fabian, Sebastian, Agnes, and Vincent. Though they were not "teachers" per se, they taught everyone of us what the True Faith means and a fulfillment of Christ's words in Matthew 10: 20, "...he who loses his life for My sake, will find it." and John 15: 13, "Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends.". In their totally unselfish action they fostered education of Catholicism for all generations to come. The week of "Catholic Schools Week" officially began on the feast of Saint Francis de Sales, another great Doctor of the Church and the exemplification St. John Bosco followed in founding and dedicating his Order to St. Francis de Sales. During this past week we celebrated the feasts of Saints Timothy and Titus, two close disciples of Saint Paul who, through their obedience and epistles, taught us much. Tuesday we acknowledged the feast of Saint Angela Merici, another pioneer religious who founded the Ursulines a teaching order of great prominence in America. Wednesday, of course, we celebrated the feast of probably the most intelligent Doctor of the Church - Saint Thomas Aquinas who contributed more to the sacred liturgy than probably any other saint. His teaching is the benchmark of true Catholic education. So it is fitting that we finish "Catholic Schools Week" with the feast of St. John Bosco because the prophecy he was given deals with the immediate future. We are less than a month into 1998. Many realize the time is very short before the great "cleansing" - the refurbishing of the earth that, through the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart, which has already begun, the anticipated Reign of the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son will burst forth in glory. The prophecy to St. John Bosco says "one year before the end of the century." The century Our Lady was referring to is ours and 1999 will see the fulfillment of this prophecy. We are that close. When one takes into account other prophecies, especially those to Father Don Stefano Gobbi regarding her Immaculate Heart triumphing before the turn of the century, we can better realize just how close we are.
Sunday ushers in the month of February which begins with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Monday and culminates with the first week of Lent. Yes, it is a time to prepare. It is a time to learn. Let's not leave "Catholic Schools Week" behind, but rather carry the lessons learned into the rest of the year - during the Sacred Liturgy of each Mass, going to school on each saint we celebrate, each Scripture passage we read and meditate on all the Holy Spirit instills in each one of us and collectively as members of the Communion of Saints. No, we're not saints yet, but if we strive to learn - to be educated in all that is Catholic we will will achieve sanctity sooner, rather than later!