I am currently working in our community’s archives, spending my days sorting hundreds of documents and artifacts. The boxes seem endless, lined up on long tables, as I sit there handling one item at a time. While there was a period of my life when this kind of activity—identifying what something is and deciding where it ought to be filed—would have been too intellectually stimulating for me and led to burnout, I now see it as a privileged opportunity to get in touch with my executive functioning skills.
When I was in college, I would sometimes call my high school religion teacher just to talk. We would cover a multitude of topics—academic pressures, dorm life, family, spiritual stuff, etc.—but it was mostly me just complaining about how hard my life was while he patiently listened and offered spiritual counsel. During the winter break of my senior year, I went to go see him and he gave me a tour of his rectory—he was a priest—which included a visit to his personal chapel next to the bedroom. Right there, next to the prie-dieu kneeler and before the tabernacle, was the telephone. He had been talking to me on the phone, on his knees, before the Blessed Sacrament.
Well, here we are, still in the middle of a pandemic, and next week, it will be Catholic Schools Week once again. Has this week always just been a random excuse to enliven things in the schoolhouse at the peak of winter? For those engaged in remote learning, what might this year’s celebration mean minus the ice cream at lunch, dress down days, contests, and assemblies? Is a week like this destined to miss the mark in a pandemic year? Or, is there something more?