This week’s edition of The Record features more than two dozen essays written by graduates in the class of 2018. They represent Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, and their Catholic education is apparent in their words.
One student notes the presence of the crucifix in classrooms. Another writes about finding comfort in community. Several essayists describe the family-like atmosphere they’ve found in their schools.
Two faith-filled writers say their schools helped them see God in those around them. The openness and clarity with which they share something so intimate about their lives is breathtaking.
Charlotte Seeger, a graduate of Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, Ky., writes about an epiphany that struck her on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday during a writing exercise.
“We wrote about the complications and hardships in our lives that are ambiguous to others,” Seeger explains.
“Listening to my classmates share their heartfelt difficulties had a powerful impact on me, and I began to see others not as who I had pre-determined them to be but as beautifully resilient individuals with the most luminous souls,” she writes. “Before then, I never fully understood when people said they could see God in others. That day I knew God was working like an artist in each one of them and helping them through their tribulations.”
St. Xavier High School graduate Cooper Marchal notes that his religious education up to high school was built on a weak foundation that had not yet penetrated his heart.
At St. Xavier, he explains, he developed “a penetrating faith that connected with me.”
“This awakening of faith came through theology classes that challenged me intellectually and pushed me spiritually, my intimate experiences of Christian Awakening Retreat and just the everyday interactions with fellow students and teachers,” he writes.
“Over my years, teachers have become more than mere instructors. The students of St. X became more than just passing faces in the hallway,” he explained. “I began to recognize the divine in the everyday. I came to know God as more than a supreme being, but rather a dynamic presence that is inescapable yet undefinable.”
The educators and students who surrounded these graduates have had a profound impact.
The inherent dignity of each human — made in the image of God — isn’t an easy concept to grasp amid everyday minutiae. Even harder it must be for people without the benefit of faith and community.
With mass shootings striking our schools and children mercilessly we see what happens when someone chooses not to see the humanity in a fellow person.
Eight students and two teachers were shot and killed May 18 when a 17-year-old allegedly opened fire in a classroom. Thirteen others were wounded. According to an ABC News report, the shooter repeatedly said, “Another one bites the dust” as his victims fell.
The pronoun — one — seems to dehumanize the victims. Another “one what?” An animal?
No, a human being. A child of God.
Let’s give thanks for young people like Seeger and Marchal who recognize the divine in their peers and generously share their faith with others.