Their students may have had the day off, but for the 900 Catholic school teachers in the Diocese of Buffalo, Friday was a day of convocation at Cardinal O'Hara High school. It was a day focused on professional development and served as an opportunity to refocus on the mission of Catholic Schools.
"Each one of us has
prepared all of our lives to be here in this place," said Sister Carol Cimino,
SCJ, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, in welcoming the educators . "For all eternity, God has called us to be
Catholic school teachers who have the privilege of touching and forming
eternity in each of our students. We have been graced to witness the unfolding
of young people. We have been blessed to be present at the commencement of
their lives as children of God. We have been gifted to be the light in the
often dark world and shine the light of God on their often confused lives."
A meeting like this one is held every two years. Teachers
chose from among 55 different breakout sessions. They included everything from "Making
social justice real in the Classroom" to "YouTube for Educators".
Father Joseph Gatto, president-rector of Christ the King
Seminary in East Aurora, served as the keynote speaker urging the teachers to 'think
outside of the box' and 'assume the position of a servant'. "You, as teachers,
are the first representatives of a compassionate Church. We get to see,
face-to-face, a Church come to life and reborn in the classroom, in the music,
in the sports program."
Teachers were greeted at each entrance by a few students of
Cardinal O'Hara, and they were treated to the music of the school's Song Corps
during a morning Mass in the auditorium, celebrated by Bishop Richard J. Malone.
"We're doing a very, very fine job in so many ways," said Bishop Malone, who
was once a teacher himself. "We have the privilege and the responsibility of
accompanying our children and their families not only through a successful
school journey, but we can also accompany them on the journey toward Heaven."