St. Catherine Academy celebrates 20 years!

FAIRFIELD—Students, families, faculty and staff gathered at the St. Catherine Center for Special Needs on Sunday to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of St. Catherine Academy.

In his homily, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, who was principal celebrant of the Mass along with concelebrant Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish in Newtown, reflected on the Gospel message, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16: 10-13).

The bishop said, “Jesus is reminding us of our priorities.” He continued, “to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we learn to see the world as God sees the world…and that takes a lifetime to do.”

“We are here because we are blessed that there are women and men, staff and leaders, who for 20 years have dared to see the world the way God sees the world,” said the bishop. “For the truth is, we live in a world who perceives those in need of any type, even those with special needs, as a problem to be solved, an obstacle to be overcome, a challenge to be addressed.”

The bishop posed the question, “But what does God see?” He answered, “God sees beloved daughters and sons who reflect His beauty to the world. He sees them all as He sees us…as a very part of His great design.”

“How blessed are we that for 20 years we have St. Catherine’s Academy and those who lead it, who see the world differently,” the bishop said. “Everyone who comes here is here because they are beloved, first by God and then by His servants who are you and me.”

“That is what it means to be slaves to God,” the bishop once again referred to the Gospel, “it does not mean to lose our freedom but to use it to give Him glory…and there is no better way to do that than to love all we meet regardless of what they can give us back…oftentimes being blind to the fact that the most in need are the ones who can give us the most back in the long run.”

Photos by Amy Mortensen

The bishop praised the academy, saying, “That is why this mission in our diocese is absolutely essential and central to all that we do. For if we did not have this mission we would not fully see the world the way God asks us to see the world.”

The gifts were brought up by students and families from St. Catherine Center, and many reflected that one of the most special moments of the Mass was when students, faculty and staff gathered together to sing “This Little Light of Mine.”

Music for the liturgy was provided by Joseph Jacovino, music director of St. Lima Parish and Erin Kathleen Aoyama and the gathered were invited to enjoy a reception afterwards.

“We are grateful for past and present friends and families of St. Catherine Academy. Your generosity of spirit and treasures has secures the future of our mission. You are walking with our children and young adults in their life’s journey. Thank you for your joyful commitment. May God continue to bless you,” said Helen Burland, executive director of St. Catherine Center.

About St. Catherine Center

Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, Saint Catherine Center for Special Needs provides unified pastoral and educational support for individuals with disabilities and serves as a centralized resource for the diocesan community.

Through direct service at Saint Catherine Academy or our Adult Day Program, and support in the Parishes or Catholic Schools for faith formation, The Center strives to foster the educational, spiritual and social well-being of people with disabilities.

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