Dear St. Edward the Confessor Parish School Families:
THE THREE SANCTUARIES
The church where I grew up had a little fence called a communion rail which surrounded and enclosed the sanctuary where the priest offered Mass. Sr. Margaret Mary told us that the rail was a way of telling us that what happens inside the sanctuary is a very special and holy, a place where we encounter and receive God.
Church sanctuaries remain as holy today as they were in the past because they are spaces where we encounter and are united to God. Something becomes sacred when it is set aside and used exclusively for something holy. For example, what distinguishes a plate from a paten and a cup from a chalice is that a paten and chalice are set aside only to be used for the sacred purpose of holding the Body and Blood of Christ.
The Parish School – every part of it - is also a sacred space, a type of sanctuary, where we – parents, extended family, learners, faculty and staff – encounter and are united to God.
One of the most profoundly sacred spaces, however, is your home, a sanctuary which is rightly called the domestic church. A child’s life of faith begins at home and is only later nourished and developed at church and school not as a substitution for the home but a supplement to it. The three sanctuaries - your home, the church and school –form one, beautiful, life-giving, joy-filled house when they work together.
It is my hope and expectation that our three sanctuaries will work together to form one house, a House of Prayer and a House of the Poor. Your home is a House of Prayer when you pray as an individual, a couple, a family, go to confession regularly, and participate in Mass every Sunday. Similarly, the school will be a House of Prayer where each student prays throughout the day as an individual, a class, and a parish school community while having opportunities to go to confession and participate in Mass on Fridays and holy days.
Jesus told us that “when you do for one of the least among you, you do it for me” (Mth 25). Therefore, as individuals, families, and a parish, we are called to be a House of the Poor by making ourselves a place where people can find the spiritual and material support they need. The church and school will provide several opportunities to serve others throughout the year, not in order to complete service hours, but as a way of encountering and loving God in others.
The sacrifices you are making to provide your child a catholic education is evidence that you already understand what stewardship is. Stewardship is a spirituality and lifestyle of gratitude which recognizes that everything is a gift. In response to these gifts of time, talent, and treasure, we cultivate them and share them with others. We have received two of life’s greatest gifts: our Christian faith and children. Neither of them are possessions, we don’t own them. Instead, they are precious gifts God and has entrusted to our care.
Thank you for entrusting your child to our care as we partner with you to make our three sanctuaries - the home, church and school – one House of God.
Fr. Brendan Manson