Many people have asked what led to our decision to move to another parish and school, so I’m going to take a moment to try to sum it all up. First, let me say that we have been very blessed to be a part of our previous school and church community and that it is comprised of an amazing group of people whom I will miss dearly, looking always forward to when I get to come for a visit. (Which will be often, I hope, since we’re only moving twenty minutes away!)
- First and foremost, both of my sisters – and their boys – are now going to the “new church and school.” I love the idea of having all of us in one place. Not to mention the fact that poor Dude was feeling extremely left out, since his cousins were sharing many things that he couldn’t be a part of. I felt that, in fairness to him, we needed to at least consider this move. This alone would never have been enough to actually go forward with the change, but it was a vital consideration.
- You all know that I’ve been a “bit” involved in the anti-Common Core effort. I toured the one classical Catholic school in our area last fall, and I fell in love. Sadly, what would have been a fit for me and some of my children would not have been a fit for Ray and others of my children. The Dude, in particular, would have been miserable. While our new school does not offer a classical education (and honestly some of its curriculum components are inferior to those we are leaving), its religion education is much more classical than our old school, and the attitude that the children are taught in Mass and in the classroom more closely mimics a classical environment. And, while there seems to be absolutely no chance of transitioning to a more classical education at our old school, the possibility does appear to exist at the new school. So, yes, a bit of this is being done on “a hope and a prayer.”
- The “attitude” that I mentioned above is a big part… reverence and respect are something that are difficult for a mom to teach without a community to back her up. If the kids look around and see a bunch of people acting in one way, they wonder why they have to act in a different way. At our old church, an awful lot of people leave Mass early, talk during communion, and dress like they’re going to a football game. The children don’t do that during school Mass, of course, but I noticed when visiting the new church that the parishioners at Sunday Mass were dressed in their Sunday best, didn’t leave early, and respected the celebration. Visiting the school, I saw this general respect and reverence evidenced in the classrooms and in the halls, and I liked that.
- I’ve always wanted to live in the area we’ll be moving to. Shallow? Maybe.
- I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that there were some errors being taught through the actions of a few, and I felt it best to remove my children from their influence.
- The old school doesn’t have any male teachers or administrators, and I’d like my boys to have the influence of great male teachers in their lives. In addition, the priest at the new school is exceedingly involved in the school, and the kids adore him – an added bonus.
- Finally, the altar servers. Oh! The altar servers! I can’t describe it. They’ve got 150 altar servers, and those boys show a reverence and respect (there are those words again!) for the Mass, the Word of God, and the Eucharist that I’ve rarely seen in young men. They love to serve, and the priest reports that he frequentlyy has boys show up before Mass, unassigned, asking if they can serve. Every Mass has ten or more servers! There’s incense, bells, and the Gospel is escorted with candles. It’s a breeding ground for vocations, I believe, and an environment I hope my sons will choose to participate in. Whether they are called to the priesthood or not, developing such love for the Mass will serve all of those boys well.
The above is an incomplete list and I must emphasize that I LOVE many, many things about our old parish, and am very sad to leave those things behind. I have been incredibly blessed by our mom’s group, which must be among the most generous, loving, faith-filled group of women known to mankind. I have also been blessed by the willingness of the priest and parish staff to do anything suggested which would build the faith life of the parish – so long as someone was willing to lead the effort – and there are many, many parishioners leading efforts to do many great things. Lots of Bible studies, Mary’s Way dinners, retreats, etc. It is a vibrant faith community.
Every family is different, and the reasons which make the new school and church a better fit for our family apply only to our family. Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the presence at the new school of my sisters and my children’s cousins, plus my search for a less “Common Core Saturated” environment, we never would have even considered this move in the first place.
The grass is always greener on the other side, and I’ve spent enough time with my sisters to know that no school, and no church, is perfect. Perhaps I’ll be disappointed, but after much prayer and consideration, I felt that this was the best decision for our family. Fortunately, Ray agreed, for reasons of his own, some of which match mine, others which differ. Regardless, the papers are signed, expectations are set, and we are moving forward with “The Big Move”!