The hectic nature of life at Brophy, especially as we approach the end of the first semester, doesn’t always allow for time to focus on the wonders of the Christmas season. However, yesterday was a day when two events in the morning did give everyone – students and adults – some time to appreciate both the wonders of the season and the wonders of this community. Hopefully, the description of those two moments will give you some insight into the variety of life at this place where your sons spend so much time.
Yesterday, was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a day always marked with an all-school mass. Early in the day, to help the members of the Brophy community understand and appreciate the meaning of this special feast day, Assistant Principal Mrs. Kim Baldwin sent the following email to the faculty and staff.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This is probably one of the most often misunderstood feasts of the Catholic Church. We are inclined to think the “Immaculate Conception” must be referring to is that of Jesus in Mary’s womb. But it’s not. Today we acknowledge and celebrate Mary who was so “full of grace” that she was conceived without sin. Yep, that’s right… Mary was free from original sin so that she who carried the Son of God might be the most worthy.
Several years ago I was asked to run the children’s station at Rosary Sunday. As you might guess there was a lot of celebrating Mary going on that day. More than I had ever seen or experienced before. Mary paintings, Mary songs, Mary books, Mary t-shirts… Mary’s beautiful, pristine, soft, ivory face and hands were seen everywhere.
Then I heard the homily. It was given by a Dominican and it too focused entirely on Mary. However, the Mary he spoke of didn’t exactly match the Mary I saw in the paintings and on the t-shirts in the lobby. The Mary he described was beautiful, but beautiful because she was strong, both in terms of physical strength and inner strength. Her skin was not ivory. It was a deep brown and she had deep, dark eyes to match. Her hands were not soft. They were rough and calloused and her fingernails were dirty.
This Mary, the Mary we celebrate today, was without sin however that doesn’t mean she didn’t know what it meant to work hard, to love, to suffer or struggle, to laugh, or to get dirty. She still raised a little boy who from the stories we know, liked to stir the pot a bit and certainly participated in his share of shenanigans. She is more than a beautiful statue. She was a real woman and mother whose fingernails got dirty.
So maybe today we can turn to this woman whose experience with an unruly teenage boy (who I’m sure sometimes made her crazy but who also made her smile) may resonate a little with our own.
With continued Advent prayers,
Mrs. Baldwin certainly made this feast day more real for all of us.
The second “moment” of the day occurred at the end of the Feast Day liturgy. For several weeks about 40 members of the faculty and staff have secretly been rehearsing a “surprise” for the students. If you know the Whoopi Goldberg movie, Sister Act, you undoubtedly remember the scene of the nuns singing Hail, Holy Queen. (You can view the original rendition here. Instead of nuns, picture the Brophy faculty in white choir robes appearing solemnly on the altar at the end of mass, hands folded prayerfully, and then on cue from Choir Director, Mr. Paul Olson, breaking into song, Whoopi Goldberg style! You can be sure the performance was one to be remembered. It earned a standing ovation from the congregation of 1270 Brophy boys! (You can enjoy the Brophy version here.)
Memorable moments like that which give us time to pause occur with some frequency at Brophy. They are moments which allow students and adults alike to celebrate this very special school.
I wish you and your families a very happy holiday season. We look forward to seeing your sons back at school on January 4, rested and ready for the second half of the school year.