Feast of Saint Katherine Drexel
March 3, 2021

Dear Collaborators,

I wrote the last welcome letter to The Cenacle with Advent underway and a brief reflection on my oldest child’s eagerness to begin lighting our family’s Advent wreath.  Well, here we are in the midst of another liturgical season of waiting, so I share a few thoughts about Lent and what it means for us in this ministry of Catholic education.

On Ash Wednesday, our youngest child came home from school with a Candyland-like map outlining the season of Lent with markings for each of the 40 days and the special days of Holy Week explained in elementary-school language.  Enclosed with the Lenten map was a series of stickers–one for each day–and a note from his teacher explaining how we as a family can use the board to journey together through Lent.  Our son, loving stickers as most young children do, got a head start: according to our sticker map, we were already to Holy Week and Ash Wednesday was not even over! 

For me, this made me think of the natural eagerness of our day and age to rush and to want things instantly–be it information, items, certainty.  Some call this the “microwave culture” where access to these wants can be easily sped up and obtained with immediacy.  The beauty of our Church’s liturgical calendar are built-in reminders to slow down, anticipate, examine, discern, sacrifice, and carry our daily crosses.  Lent is such a time, and we shared this with our three kids over a light supper on Ash Wednesday.  I hope that Lent can bring a slower pace and focus on sacrifice for you and your school community.

For DIA, the start of 2021 and the Lenten season has brought some great blessings as DIA membership has continued to grow, interest in the DIA Fellowship exceeded expectations, and DIA’s Follow to Lead podcast is gaining momentum.  In fact, Spoke Street Media, a national Catholic podcasting platform, invited us to participate in their Lenten 40-days-of-podcasts.  One of the episodes will feature DIA Board members, Andy Tylicki and Deborah Nearmyer of St. James Academy, about the various ways they live the Lenten season as a school.  Don’t miss that episode on Friday, March 19.  

With the traction of the podcast, Fr. Randy Sly and I have moved to twice-a-month releases with episodes debuting on the first and third Fridays of each month.  Our next episode on Friday, March 6 features a fantastic conversation with Bishop Thomas Daly, the recently elected Chair of the Committee for Catholic Education of the USCCB.  

Finally, I invite you to consider attending the 11th annual Napa Institute conference in late July.  DIA and Napa Institute have partnered to provide some great workshops on Catholic K-16 education at this event, and DIA members will save several hundred dollars on the registration for the conference.  It will be a wonderful summer tentpole event for DIA.  DIA members can register directly here.

Until our paths cross, may God continue to bless you and your ministry in Catholic education.

Duc In Altum!