January 24, 2014

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Story shows Catholic educators living the call of Pope Francis with ‘consistency’

Criterion staff report

As the principal of a Catholic high school, John Hegarty appreciates a point that Pope Francis made about Catholic educators.

“During a speech last June, Pope Francis affirmed the importance of Catholic school educators to ‘impart knowledge and values with their words,’ but he also reminded us that ‘it will be more influential on the kids if your words are accompanied by your witness, by being consistent in your lives. It isn’t possible to educate without being consistent,’ ” Hegarty noted.

The principal of Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis then shared a story that reflected Pope Francis’ advice.

“One school day, a student became very ill in class,” Hegarty recalled. “We were unable to reach the parents of this student, so one of our counselors and I transported the student to the nearest hospital. At the hospital—with the student’s parents on the way—we accompanied the student into one of the emergency room cubicles.

“You can imagine the fear and anxiety of our student. Our counselor stayed beside the student, her head bent, rubbing the student’s hand. The doctor came to check on us. He said, ‘I see mom has arrived!’ I said, ‘No. She is our counselor.’ He looked at me, then back at the scene in the room, and said to me, ‘If I ever have kids, they are going to your school.’

“As Catholic educators, we are called to live as we wish our students to live. It is, as Pope Francis puts it so succinctly, ‘Consistency.’ ” †

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