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On Thursday, Feb. 2, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson visited Priory to celebrate a Mass commemorating the school's 60th anniversary. Here are some condensed notes from his homily:
Father Abbot, members of the monastic community, faculty and administration, members of the board, and students, we gather to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Saint Louis Priory School — one of the great academic institutions in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
As one of the premier schools in the Archdiocese, it is a great honor for me to be here to preside at this Holy Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Like Simeon in the Gospel, we all wait with open hearts for the grace of the Holy Spirit to prepare us to meet Christ.
But as we discover, the Presentation of Jesus is unfolding on many different levels — Mary comes to the temple for ritual purification, and to offer the Christ to God the Father and, according to the Book of Leviticus, to offer the ransom, as Jesus is the first born. In humility, Mary and Joseph make the offering of the poor for Jesus — a pair of doves or pigeons.
This is a special time of grace and thanksgiving in much the same way as we celebrate today, in deep appreciation for the founding of the school and offering our humble prayers in thanksgiving for the blessings God has bestowed upon the Priory School Community.
The Feast of the Presentation is also marked by the meeting of Simeon and Anna with the child Jesus. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Gospel tells us Simeon came to the temple, and this holy and prayerful man received into his arms the Christ he had been waiting and praying for — and his response was to praise God for this great blessing.
He also foretold Mary’s martyrdom of sorrow — remember the Blessed Mother standing at the foot of the cross — and announced that salvation through Christ awaited those who believed.
The same Holy Spirit that brought Simeon into the temple, we pray, will guide the path of Priory students past and present as they too come to encounter Christ as men of faith.
And as we give thanks for all the blessings of the past, we pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding Saint Louis Priory School into the future.
At the same time that Simeon spoke of the salvation through Christ, the Prophetess Anna was there, sharing in the privilege of recognizing and worshiping Christ.
By her example we are reminded to stop and ask at this moment: What role does Jesus play in our faith lives? Is Jesus close or far away? Pray and ask him to come into your heart!
And remember: Jesus never hides himself from those who seek him in simplicity and in humility and in sincerity of faith. Each of us is invited to reflect prayerfully on our relationship to Christ, experience conversion big and small, and be prepared for mission as the Lord’s disciple.