Amelia Smith
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Only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life… when you wonderabout the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life.When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is thefullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of theworld and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill yourpotential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.

Pope John Paul II

In today’s polarizing social and political climate, it is easy for children in our world to hear only non-stop bickering. Instead of solutions and rational discussion, our youth are exposed to immaturity and selfishness. Children are watching, through the media and in entertainment, those whose purpose is to be seen, to be powerful, or to be adored. The above quote, by Saint Pope John Paul II, calls us to something more. In Christ, who through the Incarnation became human and thereby knows us intimately, we have the ultimate qualities of goodness: God-centered, humility, service, intelligence, controlled emotion, empathy, and purposeful action. It is through the constant study of our Biblical ancestors that youth may find these qualities which are often lacking in today’s headlines.

As a parent of three children who attended Rochester Catholic Schools, it is hard–and easy–to have discussions about world leaders. Hard because there’s this constant flow of excuses coming out of me. I’m trying to explain, regardless of party or affiliation, why that person is doing this, and this person is doing that. As a parent I try to be non-judgmental of people, especially those I don’t personally know. But it’s hard! It’s really hard to not be judgmental. And then again, it’s easy. It’s easy when I “look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity.”

Being a teacher in Rochester Catholic Schools enhances my experience as a parent. It’s so rewarding to talk about the beautiful theology of our Catholic faith. The people in our history, and the people who continue to form our Church. In all classes, we talk about the people who came to this great nation and built within its foundational documents a way for us to express ourselves religiously when and how we want day after day. Indeed, my favorite historical figure President John Adams wrote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

It’s truly incredible to work within this school system and see our theology come to life at work every day. At St. John’s School, every school day, I see the beauty of being challenged by the students; students who desire to know and love their faith, just as Christ himself wants. I see faculty and staff who, by example day after day, model desired behavior because it is what Christ wants. I see friends treat each other as taught by the Beatitudes because this is what Christ wants. We are Christ’s followers. We name Him and are accompanied by Him every day. When Pope John Paul II talks about youth “who wonder about yourself,” we know that is normal. It is entirely normal to wonder about the meaning of our lives. As a Catholic school, we can look at a larger and more interesting context and also discuss the moral compass we as humans expect of ourselves. We can call Christ our hero–not politicians or celebrities– and that is a school that has success in its very fiber.

Thank you, St. John’s community, for supporting our school. Thank you for supporting future disciples of Christ, who express their faith openly, within the context of their daily studies. Thank you for your prayers. In turn, we are praying for our St. John’s Church community.

Amelia Smith
Religion and Language Arts Teacher
St. John the Evangelist School