September 28, 2018

‘We’re all called to be teachers,’ Archbishop Thompson says

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is pictured in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Sept. 18 with archdiocesan staff and the winners of awards that were presented in the areas of Catholic education, catechesis, youth ministry and young adult ministry. Pictured, back row, left: archdiocesan superintendent of schools Gina Fleming; education honoree Lynne Locke; SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral rector Father Patrick Beidelman, who also serves as executive director of the Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization; archdiocesan director of catechesis Ken Ogorek; and director of the Secretariat of Pastoral Ministries Deacon Michael Braun. Front row, left: catechesis honorees Mary Jo Thomas-Day and Connie Powers; Archbishop Thompson; youth ministry honoree Julie Albertson; young adult ministry honoree Susan Grilliot; director of the archdiocese’s Office of Young Adult and College Campus Ministry Matt Faley; and director of the archdiocese’s Office of Youth Ministry Scott Williams. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is pictured in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Sept. 18 with archdiocesan staff and the winners of awards that were presented in the areas of Catholic education, catechesis, youth ministry and young adult ministry. Pictured, back row, left: archdiocesan superintendent of schools Gina Fleming; education honoree Lynne Locke; SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral rector Father Patrick Beidelman, who also serves as executive director of the Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization; archdiocesan director of catechesis Ken Ogorek; and director of the Secretariat of Pastoral Ministries Deacon Michael Braun. Front row, left: catechesis honorees Mary Jo Thomas-Day and Connie Powers; Archbishop Thompson; youth ministry honoree Julie Albertson; young adult ministry honoree Susan Grilliot; director of the archdiocese’s Office of Young Adult and College Campus Ministry Matt Faley; and director of the archdiocese’s Office of Youth Ministry Scott Williams. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

By John Shaughnessy

It was a moment of shared laughter during a Mass that celebrated the people who serve on the front lines of religious education in the archdiocese—teachers, principals, school presidents, youth ministers, parish catechetical leaders and other pastoral leaders.

During his homily at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral on Sept. 18, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson referenced the first reading in which St. Paul listed the people that God has designated as leaders in the Church. Noting that St. Paul had ranked teachers as third on that list, Archbishop Thompson smiled and declared that he always gives teachers the top spot.

After his comment drew appreciative laughs that resounded through the cathedral, Archbishop Thompson added, “We’re all called to be teachers. Our role isn’t just to educate the mind, but to form the heart, to form the character.”

He also stressed that, as Catholic educators, “we must be evangelizers transmitting the faith, and making sure that faith is realized and understood and embraced.”

The archbishop then turned to the reading from the Gospel of Luke that day (Lk 7:11-17), a passage in which Jesus brings back to life the only son of a widow. In that moment, the archbishop noted, Jesus keeps his focus on the woman, not the dead person, knowing that in the society in which she lived a woman without a husband and children would be in a dire, life-threatening situation.

With his constant focus on the woman, Jesus was once again teaching amidst the large crowd that witnessed the resuscitation of a life. It was a lesson in “compassion for that person,” the archbishop said.

In the same way that Jesus kept his focus on the woman, Catholics must keep their hearts and minds directed toward Christ, he emphasized.

“It’s about him. It’s not about us,” Archbishop Thompson said, adding that our role as teachers is crucial “in proclaiming the Good News of salvation.”

“Each one of you do that in your own unique way.”

In recognition of those overall efforts, Archbishop Thompson took part in an awards ceremony after the Mass—a ceremony in which he congratulated the recipients of the four archdiocesan awards that were presented in the areas of Catholic education, catechesis, youth ministry and young adult ministry. †


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