Embracing Gratitude: Celebrating the Blessing of Catholic School Education

Written by Karen Barreras, Director of Leadership Engagement, NCEA, [email protected]

In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

We are indeed fortunate and blessed to be involved in Catholic school education. Our stakeholders are many and embrace entire school communities past, present and with profound hope for the future. The list of stakeholders includes popes, arch/bishops, priests, religious sisters and brothers, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, children, volunteers, donors, neighbors and more. For those who are reading this blog, I have sincere gratitude and thanks for your involvement, too.

We must also give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for the ability to have Catholic schools that are committed to Mission and Catholic Identity. This commitment is also reflected in Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence and Operational Vitality. It frames our ministry in a profound and effective manner.

Music is a genre that touches people differently than prose. One of my favorite songs inspires me to have sincere gratitude for Catholic education. The song “To the Children of God,” was written by Joseph DeRosa. The words to the song capture a glimpse into the gift of Catholic schools for which we are all grateful. Below is a small excerpt of this meaningful tune:

“Not just a book, paper, or pencil,
but a chance to envision their full potential. Open the door, open the door
Share these gifts and watch them grow,
Can you imagine how far they will go? Open the door, open the door
These are the gifts, the very best ever,
Knowledge and wisdom and faith,
What a wonderful way to work together, Open the door to the children of God
Sharing the hope of resurrection,
Providing a place of love and direction, Open the door, open the door
Jesus our teacher was clear as can be,
let the children come to me.
These are the gifts the very best ever, knowledge and wisdom and faith,
what a wonderful way to work together,
open the doors, to the children of God.”

(You can access the whole song at:  https://www.amazon.com/Children-God-Joseph-Derosa/dp/B00FN5C7H6)

There are numerous times that our students are our best ambassadors in sharing our ministry. This prayer of gratitude was written by eighth graders from St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School in Carson City, NV. It is a sincere reflection of their own gratitude and faith. 

Prayer of Gratitude

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your love and kindness.
Thank you for blessing me with things I can feel grateful for.
Thank you for not just the big things in life,
But for the small things that happen daily.
Thank you for food, health, and shelter.
Thank you for the dawn of a new day.
Thank you, Lord, for teachers, friends, and family.
Thank you for all the incredible things you have created.
May the gratitude I feel today be in my heart forever.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, our gratitude for God’s grace is abundant for the gift of Catholic schools whose doors are open. God allows each of us to give our gratitude to Him, with our commitment to this amazing ministry as we remember: In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.