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placeholder  September 7, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 15   •   Oakland, CA

Laurie Shahab, administrative assistant, and Sister Barbara Bray, SNJM, superintendent, with Father Larry Young, recognize Catholic school teachers celebrating years of service.
ALL: Deacon Noe Gonzalez/Special to The Catholic Voice

Mercy is the theme as teachers begin new year

A little earthquake — 4.0 centered near Lake Temescal in Oakland — did not rattle the intentions of the more than 1,000 teachers, administrators and staff of the diocesan elementary schools who attended the annual staff day at the Cathedral of Christ the Light Aug. 17, as a prelude to the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

"None of us are all alone," Sister Barbara Bray, SNJM, superintendent, told the educators in her welcome.

Margaret Turek

The morning's speaker was Margaret Turek, director of the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization, who encouraged the educators to become involved in the Jubilee of Mercy, which Pope Francis has declared.

"Pope Francis regards this year as an opportunity for grace and spiritual renewal," Turek said.

"Teaching," she said, "is a vocation. It's a God-given mission. Pope Francis won't see it as anything less."

As teachers, they are giving witness all the time, "leading people to an encounter Christ."

"You should see Christ in the face of your students," she said. "They should see you recognize Christ in them."

She suggested as the teachers engage in works of mercy with their students throughout the year, "you don't keep the light hidden under the basket," but rather share the good news with others.

"Let their light of mercy shine to fellow students and beyond," she said.

Rev. Larry Young, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Rodeo, which offers infant care through eighth grade, celebrated a vibrant Mass for the educators. The Very Rev. James V. Matthews, rector of the cathedral of Christ the Light, concelebrated.

In his homily, Father Young asked the educators, "Do you begin to understand the impact you have on our world?

"What an impact you can make not just on the children but their parents and the people they encounter."

Acknowledging that teaching can be, at times, a trying vocation, he reminded the teachers: "We have to be merciful."

After Mass, teachers who were celebrating 10, 20 and 30 years of service in the diocese were honored with certificates and applause.

By noon, the educators were leaving the cathedral, out in the noon sun. For some, school would begin the next day.

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