Saint Joseph Catholic in Florida Partners with Notre Dame

A read a really refreshing story today about a Catholic school in Florida that, in my opinion, is setting a model for many more Catholic schools to follow. Saint Joseph Catholic School in West Tampa Bay has partnered with the University of Notre Dame and the Diocese of Saint Petersburg in the Notre Dame ACE Academies. The goal of the program is to make Catholic schools and their communities stronger. This is important because Catholic school enrollment has been dwindling in recent years, mostly because these schools simply have fewer resources than public schools.

To learn more about what this school is doing to make strives educationally check out the post “Catholic School Reform Takes Root in Florida”.

Learning Obedience: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

One of the many lessons we can learn from Mary, Mother of Jesus is obedience. She has taught us that Catholics need to follow the laws of the church. These laws keep us pure. They help us stay true to our faith and to God’s Word.

How Mary Shows Obedience with the Presentation of Jesus

Forty days after Mary gave birth, she took Jesus to the temple. This was for two purposes: ritual purification and redemption of the first born son.
Ritual purification was written in the Laws of Moses. After a woman gives birth, she is viewed as unclean due to the connection she had with bodily fluids. Going to the church within forty days of giving birth would purify a woman.
Redemption of the first born son was also written in the Laws of Moses. Back then, when a male was born naturally (meaning not through cesarean section), she would have to sacrifice a lamb to the church. However, since Mary and Joseph were poor people, they were able to sacrifice the alternative, which were two turtledoves or young pigeons.

How Mary Teaches Us Obedience
Mary and Joseph knew that it was right to obey the Laws of Moses. They believed that it was important to follow through with these codes of conduct.
When we see Mary do exactly as stated in the Laws of Moses, it teaches us that we need to follow the same type of rules. We shouldn’t dismiss what we have been told is important by the church. We need to abide by them just as Mary did.

How Catholics Can Be Obedient According to the Teachings of the Church

Catholics continue to follow the teachings of the church as closely as possible. The unfortunate thing is that many Catholics don’t know all of the laws and thus don’t follow them due to this ignorance.

Attending Mass to listen to the gospel and homily given by the priest is a great way to remind yourself of what you as a Catholic should do daily to follow the teachings of the church. It’s also important to read the Bible. As the bible gives us a lot of the rules that Christians should follow in their life.

Finally, if you are ever unsure of what to do in life, you can always seek guidance from your priest. A priest is a counselor and coach. He can help you come to understand what is expected of you as a Christian. He can help you understand why life has turned one way instead of another way. He can also answer your questions about what you should do in difficult situations and still be in accordance with God’s Word.

So, follow Mary’s example. Understand the rules of the church by going to Mass and read the Bible. Whenever you have questions seek counsel from your priest and always turn to prayer when you just need comfort from God. This all God wants of you, to acknowledge Him and to follow Him – just as Mary did.