To know me is to know that if there is not a song in my heart, there probably is something wrong with me. At a previous assignment, which did not go well for all kinds of reasons, people had gotten used to me breaking out into song at pretty much any time. But after a while I stopped-almost completely. All kinds of people, even people I didn’t think ever noticed or even slightly amused by my outbursts, would ask me if I was ever going to sing again. Students would come up to me and begin to sing songs that they used to hear from me. I was touched, but it wasn’t quite enough. Well, indeed, by the grace of God, and by the goodness of so many people who have come into my life since then such as you, the family of Saint Aloysius Parish and School there is pretty much always a song in my heart. Almost, anyway! For the last several weeks and maybe even months, there is a song that I can’t get away from as I continually think and dream about our school and our parish. Ifyou look at my Pastor’s Corner you will see that I have entitled this talk, “I Believe We can Fly, Part I.” It is inspired by the title and lyrics of the song “I Believe I Can Fly” by R-Kelly. Yes, this is Part I and that does mean there is a Part II coming in the very near future. Today myself, and our principal, Mrs. Sarah Kerins will focus on our school and the launching of our 2015-16Annual Fund drive and in the very near future, I will focus on our parish as a whole. Yes, it is true that what we will be talking about is challenging, and we will be depending very much on you, but remember as I have said before, when I pray to the Lord, I tell Him that I wantit all and I believe we should do the same thing. To do anything less is to limit what He can do. When we say to God that we want it all, meaning that we want all of His blessings, it means that we are submitting to His will and that we trust Him to work it out. Hopefully, as I am speaking to you today, that is the disposition that I am displaying. Five years ago, St. Aloysius School was being carried along by a 30% subsidy from our parish’s operating budget. That same year, between June and September, our enrollment decreased by over 60 students. This year, our enrollment has increased by 17 over our replacement number from June, and we have welcomed 44 new students and 25 new families and have opened a second pre K 4 class room. One year ago after completion of the first ever Annual Fund campaign your generosity had brought our school to within 6% of effective sustainability, and now after receiving over $163,000.00 from you during our 2014-15 Annual Fund drive, we are within 4% of the goal of sustainability. This year, our goal of $180,000.00 will bring us even closer. Our school is virtually at the brink of being able to fly; and as the song says: “If I can see it, then I can do it.” Folks I can see it; I need you to see it. Before we begin to doubt what we can do, know that because of the generosity of a private donor, we already have over $25,000.00 in our fund for this year. Additionally we have a promise that all new and increased gifts will be matched up to $25,000.00, so please, folks, not only see it, believe it. “If we believe it there really is nothing to it. You will be receiving our appeal letters this week. As you open them, please imagine our school soaring and remember the closing scene in today’s Gospel as described by St. Mark: “Taking a child, He placed it in their midst, and putting His arms around it, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” We are and with God’s grace ever will be, Saint Aloysius.
Thank you everyone.