Presidents Newsletter - May 2021

"Gratitude is the beginning of holiness."

-Archbishop Socrates B Villegas

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." -G.K. Chesterson

Hello Cathedral family and community. With May upon us, one glance at the calendar tells us what we already know: May is an extra-busy month. All of the end of the year activities, including Baccalaureate, Commencement, Open Houses, spring sports sectionals, and of course, here in Indianapolis, The Race! When thinking about this busy month of May, are you filled with excitement or dread? Does it seem like something so special that you cannot wait, or does it make you want to say that you just want to survive it? This past week, we paused all school activities for a few minutes to pray, talk, reflect and act on the mother of all virtues, gratitude. It was Cicero who called gratitude the greatest of all virtues, as well as "the parent of all others." As G.K. Chesterson reminds us above, simply saying "thanks" is a very simple yet powerful action, and that showing gratitude is happiness as an extraordinary act. I also like how A.A. Milne, in the voice of Piglet, describes gratitude:

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude."

To help set the stage for our all-school gratitude activity, Principal Julie Barthel reminded students of the following: 

We have much to be grateful for at Cathedral.

Many schools are not in session face to face. Many schools did not have athletics, performing arts, homecoming, theatre performances. Many schools did not have a prom. So let's be grateful for all that we have had this year and for the adults who planned and facilitated it.

She then prescribed a prayer of gratitude and asked each student to share an email or message to three adults for whom they are grateful. Quick math tells us that 1,050 students x 3 messages of gratitude = 3,150 messages of gratitude shared this week. I hope that you were the recipient of one! 

Additionally, each student viewed an excellent video showing a truly extraordinary expression of gratitude, as told by Merry Clayton. Here is the link to that story: Merry Clayton's inspiring gift to the world - CBS News

We also asked each Cathedral educator to share their reflection on gratitude after viewing this video. We were overwhelmed with stories of all kinds of gratitude through the eyes and words of our educators. 

I am sharing this to exemplify we, as members of the Cathedral family, genuinely have so much for which to be thankful. Even though we are so busy with all of the activities that fill our life, especially in May, the time we take to stop and reflect and share gratitude is always worth it. I urge you to join all of us currently residing on our believed Hill and take the time to view Merry Clayton's video and pay some gratitude forward. Imagine the impact on our overall community if each of us started with a moment of gratitude each day, thanking God for all that He has given us.

From my personal view, I would like to say a sincere thank you and show my gratitude for several notable things: all of our educators who faced this Covid situation with courage and prudence, allowing us to be (mostly) in session, face to face, this school year. Thanks to the club moderators, coaches, directors, planners and classroom teachers, and administrators who figured it out this year and made Cathedral shine like never before! I thank our parents, who have worked with us as we set out a plan to be the safest school around. Our parents have shown us grace as we dealt with something never seen before and adjusted as best we could. We were not perfect in all of our decisions, but for the most part, our parents have shown us grace, and I truly appreciate that. I also want to thank the more than 300 of you who responded to our appeal to contact your state legislators in support of the pending school choice expansion, which will allow more families to have the ability to choose the best school for their child, supported by state-funded school choice vouchers. Once signed by Governor Holcomb, this will be a huge win for Hoosier families, and I am very grateful for all who made this happen! 

I also want to thank all of our donors who have helped us meet and exceed our fundraising goals this year! Your generosity shows remarkable faith in our mission and vision, and I am truly grateful for each and every donor. And you will all have another chance to show that Irish generosity in just a few days as we present the All Out Irish Day of Giving on Wednesday, May 5. So please pay attention to your emails and social media to connect with us on that day! 

Lastly, I am grateful to all of our families who have joined us this year and who have already submitted the registrations for next year. You may not know that we depend on solid projections each spring to set our budget and our staff lineup for the following year. By getting your registrations in a timely manner, you allow us to plan for and execute the best possible lineup of educators and programs for the following year. So, please click here today and re-enroll for the 2021/22 school year. Thank you!

Finally, with a heart full of gratitude, I thank you again. I believe that the first step to holiness is gratitude, recognizing that all we have is a gift from God. We truly want all of our students to stay on this path to holiness so that one day, they can go to heaven and take as many of us with them as possible. Thank you again, and may God be praised.

Rob Bridges, PhD
President, Cathedral High School