Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz asked the educators and students who gathered for Mass at St. Patrick Church in Eastwood Feb. 1 to show “creative courage” in all they do.
The special liturgy marked National Catholic Schools Week, observed Jan. 30 through Feb. 5 this year.
The archbishop thanked all who had gathered, including teachers, principals and educators, for the “extraordinary” work they are doing during the pandemic. He also asked them to convey his gratitude to families “who make Catholic schools possible.”
He noted that sending children to a Catholic school is “sacrificial” for many families and asked his listeners to “say a prayer for those families.”
Archbishop Kurtz told the congregation that there are two words he wanted to talk about — “creative courage.”
They are words Pope Francis used in his apostolic letter entitled “Patris Corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), in which he reflects on St. Joseph’s role as Jesus’ father.
The pope writes that in choosing Joseph to be Jesus’ father, God trusted in Joseph’s “creative courage,” Archbishop Kurtz noted.
“Creative means you bring all your energies of mind, imagination and heart to bear” in all things, he said. “Courage could mean many things, but let me tell you one thing it means — you take the first step. The person without courage hangs back and does nothing. The person who is courageous takes the first step.”
The pope, said Archbishop Kurtz, noted that creative courage is seen in the way people handle difficulties.
“In the face of difficulties we either give up or walk away or somehow engage with it. … Difficulties bring out resources we didn’t even think we had,” said the archbishop.
At the sacrament of confirmation, he noted, “I say to the young people that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of courage, fortitude. The gift to be able to stand up, have some backbone and do the right thing. … Be willing to say yes.”
The archbishop called the congregation’s attention to the day’s Gospel reading from the book of Mark, where there were two individuals, in particular, who showed creative courage.
In the story, Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead and heals a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhaging for 12 years.
The archbishop said it was a busy day in Jesus’ ministry. He was in a crowd when Jairus approached and asked for help. Jairus “had the creative courage to take a step and bring his problem to Jesus. … We don’t know if he was a man of faith. … But he was desperate.”
Similarly, the woman came up to Jesus and touched his cloak hoping to be healed.
“Talk about creative courage,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “She must have fought her way through the crowd because Jesus said to the apostles ‘somebody touched me.’ That woman, because of her great faith, was cured that day. See, she took a step forward.”
Archbishop Kurtz told his young listeners that at some point in their lives, someone will call on them to show creative courage, “your ability to bring all your energies, but especially that backbone that allows you to act.”
“And as you do so and become, in many ways, a disciple and apostle of Jesus Christ, we will know that Catholic schools work,” he said.
During Mass, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Catholic Schools Office presented awards to two educators and a volunteer. During the Mass, this year’s Father Joseph McGee Outstanding Catholic Educator Award recipient was also recognized. A story about the award recipients is here.
- Lara Krill, principal of St. Gabriel School, was honored with the Distinguished Catholic School Leader Award.
- Audrey Carney, a counselor at St. James School in Elizabethtown, Ky., received the Irene Casey Catholic Inclusion Award.
- Jenni Garner, a parent volunteer at Holy Spirit School, was awarded the Outstanding School Volunteer Award.
- Lisa Lauder, a science and social studies teacher at St. Gabriel was also recognized. She is this year’s recipient of the Father Joseph McGee Outstanding Catholic Educator Award given by the Catholic Education Foundation. Lauder will receive her award at the Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner in March.