Going ‘back to school’ always involves a transition for families and educators, but this year it will be even more challenging. Families returning to traditional, in-person schooling will need extra face masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes, in addition to the usual school supplies and back-to-school clothing. Families transitioning to new modes of schooling—whether online instruction, homeschooling, or “pandemic pods” (i.e., education co-ops)—will need to develop new routines, practices, and relationships to make learning both effective and sustainable. And educators, regardless of who, where, and how they will be teaching, will need both creativity and grit as they flexibly adapt to changing conditions when teaching and connecting with their students. Given all this, something everyone will need and benefit from taking back to school this year is hope.
Editorial note: This blog is the fifth in a six-part series featuring our free Lenten resource, "A Scriptural Pilgrimage to Christ Through Lent," written by Lenny DeLorenzo.
There is no limit to hope because Christ has gone beyond the last horizon.
There are times when we put ourselves at a great distance from God, due to our own sin and our own neglect. Like a sheep who has wandered from the flock, I find myself alone and isolated. It is all my own doing. I rejected the care of the Shepherd, and now I have no one to care for me.
If you are like me, the news of Jean Vanier’s abuse and manipulation of six women receiving spiritual direction was a gut-wrenching combination of disappointment, disillusionment, and disgust.
In the face of seemingly endless iterations of scandal in the Church, there was at least Jean Vanier. He was one of the beacons of hope and renewal and reform, a layman who had succeeded in creating, in L’Arche, a new form of communion and evangelization. A real lay leader in the Church. Someone whom we thought of as a harbinger of the ideals of “co-responsibility for the being and acting of the Church,” to use Pope Benedict’s words.
Here was hope for a new vision of leadership in the Church. But even this hope was dashed. Back to the drawing board. Find another beacon of hope and harbinger of renewal. But we’re running out! I thought. Where do we go from here?