The Week in Review


I hope you enjoyed Back to School night last Thursday. It is a special moment in the life of the school when the primary educators of children -- the parents and guardians -- get a slice of the daily student experience and a chance to get to know the teachers a bit. For teachers, it is an exciting opportunity to share their passion for their vocation, their enthusiasm for the work of the coming year, and a bit about the learning that will be taking place. Parents, with some assistance here and there, navigate our hallways and catch up with friends in between classes. The whole evening is a reminder of the importance of essential things: mission, community, rigor, challenge, growth, achievement.

This past Monday, Bishop Burbidge spent the day with us, visiting with student and faculty groups and most importantly, celebrating Mass. When I spoke to you at Back-to-School Night, I emphasized our commitment to a rigorous, relevant and student-centered learning experience within which our Catholic identity is woven across the curriculum. We had a chance on Monday to share with Bishop Burbidge the work of our faculty to continuously enrich our curriculum toward those objectives and we were thrilled to get his endorsement of these efforts. Today after an early dismissal for our students, the faculty was engaged in an afternoon of collaborative work directed toward further strengthening of the curriculum.

I cannot close this week's notes without thinking about the natural disasters around the world in recent weeks, which have left many in need. Whether along the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and Florida, on the Greater Antilles islands, in Sierra Leone, or in Mexico City -- there is grief, suffering, and sometimes hopelessness. Let us all continue to pray with hope. Toward that end, I offer this excerpt from a prayer offered after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and published on a resource page by Xavier University:

Pierce, too, our hearts with compassion,
we who watch from afar,
as the poorest on this side of the earth
find only misery upon misery.
Move us to act swiftly this day,
to give generously every day,
to work for justice always,
and to pray unceasingly for those without hope.

We begin next week our annual hearty soup drive to support Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. Through this effort last year, we were able to provide over 13,000 cans of hearty soup to Christ House and the St. Lucy Project. The drive will run for two weeks and culminate with the praying of the rosary on our athletic field on Friday, October 6 at 9:40 a.m. I thank you all in advance for helping our O'Connell Knights and the whole school community do as much as we can to relieve hunger and hopelessness right here in Northern Virginia.