As we have returned back to school from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we are reminded of our Holy Father, Pope Francis? declaration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the universal church. The year commenced on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on the Solemnity of our Lord, King of the Universe on November 20, 2016. This Year of Mercy calls all of us to look to our faith and to reach out to our neighbor and even more importantly, those who need us most. Pope Francis said ?Faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation?. As a school and parish, our goal this year is to provide the opportunity for children from our neighboring Catholic parishes in Live Oak and Branford, to attend Epiphany Catholic School.
This past summer, we were blessed by the generosity of the Diocese of Saint Augustine?s Office of Educational Services with a donation to begin our Rural Education Initiative. Similarly, Fr. Rob and I wrote a grant to the Catholic Foundation for funding for our new endeavor and were blessed with a $10,000 grant. He and I recently attended a luncheon in which Fr. Rob thanked Bishop Estevez and the board members of the Catholic Foundation for their grant offering of $10,000. Since the early meetings with the Pastors of our local Catholic parishes, former Superintendent, Dr. Patricia Bronsard, current Superintendent, Deacon Scott Conway, the religious who serve San Juan de La Cruz mission parish in Branford, Ms. Pamela Kahlich, Fr. Rob and myself, we have been dialoging and planning for this opportunity. The diocese has benefactors who are generously assisting us with the buses needed to transport the students. Fr. Rob, Ms. Pamela Kahlich, Mrs. Sonia Romero, and Mr. Jonathan Meals, and I have been visiting the parishes meeting with families and sharing with them what makes Epiphany Catholic School so great.
As we kick off registration for the 2016-17 school year at our Open House, during Catholic School?s Week, we will be going out into our parish, our local community, the daycare and Pre-K centers, and to the parishes in Live Oak and Branford, to invite families to enroll their students at our school and to assist them with scholarship opportunities.
Pope Francis reminds us the ?The most beautiful thing that God made, the bible says, was the family.? As we look within our own family and our Epiphany Catholic School family we encourage our students and families to welcome and invite new members into our school family. We teach our students to see God in others and to treat them lovingly; as the song goes ?Great things happen when God mixes with us?.
Moving forward, Fr. Rob and I have plans to create a Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, to help us to implement short term plans and look towards the future, as we strive to continue to enhance and build upon our program. More students, more families, more possibilities. This year, we also established an endowment fund with the Diocese of St. Augustine. The combination of all of the diocese?s endowment funds are what allows the Catholic Foundation to offer grants to churches and schools for their growth and development. We are excited to be a part of this and look forward to the growth of our school?s endowment fund in the years ahead.
In conclusion, I thank all of you for your continued support and I greatly appreciate the sacrifices that you make to send your child (children) to our school. Through the guidance of our School Board, the PTSA, and Epiphany Church Finance Committee, and the support of the newly formed Epiphany Catholic Church Pastoral Council, the Epiphany Catholic Council of Women and the Knights of Columbus we are blessed to be a continuing and growing part of our Lake City community for the past 57 years.
Yours In Christ,
Rita M. Klenk
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”
~ Benjamin Franklin