The Values of the Mass of the Holy Spirit
Jura Litchfield, High School Faculty

On September 15, the Forest Ridge community gathered for Mass of the Holy Spirit. The occasion was joyful because it had been over a year since we had a large school gathering. It was also special that Sacred Heart Schools around the globe came together in the offering for this Mass.

During the homily, Ms. Danos' reflections were an enthusiastic recounting of a song learned in elementary school. After expounding on the virtues of truth, hope, love and courage she unselfconsciously and to great applause launched into a sung rendition of this song. Bravo, Ms. Danos!

Ms. Danos’ recollections of her Catholic school days as a youngster brought up many memories of my own. I remember my early days attending Mass before classes in an industrial part of Elizabeth, NJ. My school has since closed. Last year, at the height of Covid, two other schools I am associated with, Benedictine Academy (I am a graduate) and St. Agnes Academic High School (I was a teacher there) closed. All three institutions were modest by today’s standards, but they left indelible mark on me. I remember reading many books in the school library about the lives of the saints: heroic and countercultural lives. In high school, I remember the social activism, the kindness of the students, the safe feeling of being sheltered in those walls from the storms of the outside world and the pervasive message that women were valued.
These are fond memories, but they also point to the difficulty of keeping small private schools open; schools that dare to be countercultural, that aspire to teach service, virtue and even sacrifice. These are not words that come up often in corporate America.

We are formed every day by the messages we see (over a thousand a day, I’m told!) through advertising and the media. We live in a profit-driven world that urges us to consume and to reward our never satisfied egos. Yet faith calls us not to harvest profits, but to be prophetic voices for the poor and powerless of the world. We are called to use our gifts, infused by the Holy Spirit for the good of others.

The crises of the present day, both domestic and global require sacrifice, commitment and perseverance. If we are to right the wrongs and uplift those who are suffering, we will need the virtues described by Ms. Davos. It is through Forest Ridge's values that we’ll be made strong partners, finding solutions to difficult long-term problems. Here’s to a school year of growing in truth, love, hope and courage. May faith show the way.