Teaching in Catholic schools is a vocation, preaches Father Kidaagen at diocesan teacher Mass

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

Early August means the beginning of the school year, with teachers and school administrators preparing to re-open their doors to the hundreds of diocesan students who will be returning for 2023-2024 school year. 

Educators gathered for Mass, Aug. 7, just days before the first schools were to return to session on Aug. 9. The Mass was celebrated at St. Pius X Parish, Edgewood, and celebrated by the parish’s pastor Father Baiju Kidaagen. Chaplains from schools across the Diocese of Covington concelebrated the Mass, as well. 

“Some students will be excited, others may be anxious and some might not want to come at all,” said Kendra McGuire, superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Covington as she gave opening remarks before Mass. “Our job is to invite them all with great joy and to welcome them and instill in them a wonder and curiosity about the learning that will take place in your classroom this year.” 

Mrs. McGuire continued, “Our job is to help nurture their gifts and to help them realize that God created each and every one of your students for a purpose. We have a responsibility to show them the beauty of God’s creation — to seek the truth.” 

In his homily, Father Kidaagen spoke of teaching in a Catholic school as a vocation, because “we know we cannot make it to Heaven alone and Catholic education involves all parties being united by God to a common goal, eternal life … your job is a vocation because what you are doing has not only a temporal, but also a supernatural dimension to it,” he added. 

“In your work as Catholic educators, you are asked to form young people not simply to be a successful person in this world, but to be prepared to take their place in the Kingdom of God as God’s sons and daughters. If your job is a vocation, then you proclaim in a definitive way that Jesus must be at the heartbeat of everything you teach,” he said. 

Before the closing of the Mass, the teachers in attendance rose for a commissioning by Father Kidaagen on behalf of Bishop Iffert, “No matter which subject you will teach, remember that your task as a Catholic school teacher is to teach our students love of God and love of neighbor.”

Photo: Various school teachers sing along during the Mass service.