I just published a brief account of the Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 35th anniversary of the Diocese of Arlington. It really was a beautiful Mass. But what struck me most were the words of Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. He gave the Diocese of Arlington three tasks as it goes forward. The first task is to establish a solid Catholic identity. Know what it means to be a Catholic. The second was to establish a sense of community. Understand the importance of belonging to the Church Universal. Finally, seek excellence in all aspects of your lives, not for the glory of the world, but for the Glory of God.
This idea of Catholic identity has been playing out in my head for a while now. As I approach the upcoming year of religious education, I hope to put a renewed emphasis on Catholic identity. I teach the seventh grade Confirmation preparation. These students are preparing to complete their initiation into the Catholic Church. What does that mean? I hope that as I cover the nuts and bolts of the faith I can show them what this means for their daily lives. What is different because they are Catholic? What does it mean to be a Catholic girl or Catholic boy? What does it mean to be a Catholic teenager, a Catholic student, a Catholic soccer player, or a Catholic friend? Being Catholic is not something we can compartmentalize. It must infuse every fiber of our being. Say a prayer that I will be able to communicate this to seventh graders.