On Tuesday, 500+ Catholic school faculty and staff from our 31 schools gathered together at Cathedral Square to start the academic year with joy, companionship, and, most importantly, prayer. This was the first time in three years that our back-to-school celebration was held in-person due to the pandemic.
The morning started with hospitality and an inspirational introduction from Superintendent Dave Faber. “Chances are you're not unlike the rest of the teachers in the world today concerned about the social emotional growth of our kids. Listen to what joy does to those who accept His offer of salvation - are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness.” Drawing upon the words of Pope Francis and his own encounter with the Holy Spirit, Mr. Faber announced the theme for our year and set the tone for the day, Joy in the Lord is our Strength.
Sheri Wohlfert, middle school teacher at St. Mary Elementary School in Westphalia, was next as the keynote speaker for the day. She shared her passion to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Mrs. Wohlfert said, “You don’t have a job, you have a vocation. No, bigger. We have a mission. We aren’t just designed to deliver curriculum. It’s our job to lead souls to Christ and that requires and brings great joy.”
Concluding the day with Mass, Bishop David J. Walkowiak said it perfectly in his homily, "Teachers guided by the Holy Spirit can show a special love and concern for their students, and can come to acknowledge something about their teaching - their teaching has been raised to a supernatural Christian vocation. In bearing witness to Christian faith, in being a disciple of Jesus Christ, teachers allow a Catholic school to realize its formative project."
Please join us as we pray for our leaders, teachers, and school staff as they begin the 2022-23 school year.
To read more about the event, visit https://www.woodtv.com/news/grand-rapids/grand-rapids-catholic-teachers-gather-for-back-to-school-mass/
To see more photos, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA3nyY