Centralia, Illinois

Our Principal's Corner

Our Principal's Corner


“I give you a new commandment"

May 20, 2019


by Mr. Swann, Principal





Reflection for 5/20/19:

Yesterday’s Gospel has been resonating in my mind from the time I left mass with my sons to now. As I addressed the student body this morning at hall prayer, I asked how many of them attended church this weekend and heard the readings. The number attending church this weekend was surprisingly low considering what our mission at SMS is. Because of this, it offered an excellent opportunity to go back and introduce, or refresh, yesterday’s Gospel for them. 

Hey, I get it. We all get caught up right? There is so much to do and so little time. Take the month of May for example; field trips, AR rewards, movie days, graduations, and oh yeah, we still actually have school where instruction needs to take place. And then there are masses and planned vacations and…so on and so on. How are we supposed to keep every single thing in mind and in order? I wonder if the early disciples were like this too. I mean, come on…there’s the whole soldiers hunting them down and the crucifixion, the denying of Christ, hiding in upper rooms of houses, travelling from town to town to “spread the good news” and they were still asked to honor thy father and mother, remember the sabbath day and keep it holy, don’t kill, etc. How can anyone remember ALL that!? 

Fortunately for all of us simple sinners, Jesus made it very easy in yesterday’s Gospel. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:31-33A, 34-35). Simple, yet the most ignored and disobeyed commandment ever. WE complain about every thing being too much, too overwhelming and oh my goodness how will we ever get it all done. Even in the simplification of Christ we still cannot just do the one. Single. Task asked of us – LOVE ONE ANOTHER. 

All year, for the past three years to be a matter of fact, we have said that you have sent your children to Saint Mary Catholic School to be a disciple of Christ. Yes, the honors Math and English, the athletic opportunities, the class trips, the small class sizes, the one-on-one attention by teachers, the family atmosphere, etc., those are all valuable endeavors and significant reasons to send your child to SMS. However, not one of them matter much when it comes to getting into heaven, do they. The most common question I receive from prospective families is “why should we send our child here” and the although many would expect the answer to sound like a collaboration of the reasons previously stated, the one purpose, the one that is most significant, is this…To learn how to become a Disciple. How is that done, how are you going to do that, one may ask - One simple commandment. We will follow, at the very least, the one commandment that Christ gave US as disciples – “Love one another as I have loved you”. Sometimes that means discipline, sometimes that means rewards but all the time it means holding students accountable to their responsibilities teaching them to grow, to pray, to be determined and confident, and to love others first! 

If I have promoted anything at all over the previous three years at Saint Mary Catholic School, I hope and pray it has been this. Give us your child and we will return to you an apostle. So please, don’t be surprised when that is what you receive. Our children need a strong education. Our Children need a strong social experience. And now, more than ever, our children need a strong Christian foundation in order to maintain momentum in today’s world. They need to know that it is more important to focus on others rather than themselves, to be in God’s house rather than their own, to tell others of the “Good News” rather than keep it to themselves. Don’t get caught up in all the checks and balances, the rules and regulations, the excuses and bitterness; and don’t take my word for it. 

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By THIS everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - Jesus

Mr. Swann/Principal



[Posted May 21, 2019]

Our Principal's Corner