SALT LAKE CITY — Teachers and administrators from schools throughout the Diocese of Salt Lake City gathered March 8 at St. Vincent de Paul Parish to worship together, hear an inspirational and educational presentation, and honor some of their own.
To open Professional Employee Day, Bishop Oscar A. Solis celebrated Mass. His homily centered on fasting, which was the topic of the day’s Gospel (Matthew 9:14-15).
Catholics fast during Lent, experiencing physical hunger, “to become aware of true spiritual hunger that can only be satisfied by our communion with our Lord,” the bishop said.
“The reason for fasting is to show our sincerity and purposes in fasting for what we need from the Lord: his mercy, compassion,” he added.
Fasting paves the way for a deeper relationship with God, the bishop said, adding, “The real fruit of fasting is love and charity associated with almsgiving.”
He recommended a few steps for a Lenten diet: Eat your words, swallow your pride, digest God’s teachings, “and for dessert, indulge in prayer,” he said. “This is an excellent menu for fasting. And to complete this Lenten diet, share God’s love with the poor and those in need.”
At the conclusion of the Mass, Sr. Catherine Kamphaus, associate superintendent of Utah Catholic Schools, presented the Christ the Teacher award. The recipient was Father J.J. Schwall, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He was unable to attend the presentation, so the award was accepted by Tina Bergquist, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes School, on his behalf.
Following the presentation of the Christ the Teacher award, the 2017 Outstanding Employees were called forward and presented with a certificate. (See photo, below.)
After Mass ended, the group adjourned to the parish’s Holy Family Hall, where they heard from Sister Carol Cimino, a Sister of Saint Joseph of Rochester.
Sr. Carol has been a teacher, principal, development director and consultant in Catholic education. She is a retired superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.; in that position she oversaw 50 elementary and high schools. She also served as executive director of the Catholic School Administrators’ Association of New York, was a national religion consultant for the William H. Sadlier publishing company and is the author of two books.
Bishop Solis sat in on the presentation, as did Sr. Catherine and Mark Longe, director of Utah Catholic Schools.
On March 7, Sr. Carol gave a presentation to the school principals, Longe said.
In her presentation, titled “Meet the Millennials,” Sr. Carol discussed how Catholic educators can meet the needs of modern parents.
Compared to previous generations, millennials are better educated, have more awareness through technology of things that are happening in their children’s lives and schools, have redefined family, put less importance on marriage and often are “fuzzy” on moral issues, she said.
“The millennials have redefined adulthood, because in past generations, when the children were born, the adults sort of gave up stuff in order to pay attention to the children. This generation of adults has not done that,” she said, and gave the example of parents skipping a parent-teacher conference because it was their Pilates night.
Among the difficulties many millennials are dealing with is caring for their aging parents and housing their older children while still raising school-age children, she said.
Today’s parents want to share more of their child’s life, would like more parenting workshops, written/verbal affirmation from teachers, and meetings dealing with personal growth and development, she said.
Sr. Carol suggested that teachers and principals clearly outline their policies and procedures and the expectations they have for the parents. She also recommended that they tell parents what they can expect from the school.
She ended with a note of affirmation for the teachers.
“I truly believe that the hope of the Church is right in this room. I truly believe that the education of our young people in Catholic schools is the best thing that the Church does. We do a lot of great things, but the best thing that the Church does is what you do every single day,” she said.