April Rapp Up

In my last Rapp Up, I talked about how these seniors, now so close to graduation, have called us to fight together in the battles we each face. What a beautiful invitation it has been. With the spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving accompanied by the joy and celebration of living as an Easter people, we have access to all the grace we need to face the challenges of life with peace of heart.

This April was a month in which we were able to take up these weapons together in some special ways. For prayer, we got to start our Easter season with a beautiful hour-plus of adoration with Archbishop Nauman. He gave a stirring, vulnerable homily about the doubts and struggles he had experienced in his faith journey and how God remained present to him through it all. Our other shepherd, Archbishop Keleher, joined us for our All-School Mass and senior awards ceremony later in the month. He spoke to our students about how “fear is useless!” and how vital trust in Jesus is to our lives. This same day Archbishop watched along with the rest of us as our juniors, in what I hope will become a new tradition at St. James, circled around our seniors at the end of their awards assembly and prayed over them as a group. These were unique moments that built upon the foundation of prayer and sacraments that are essential to daily life at the Academy.

While I can’t say for sure whether anyone “fasted” from negativity this month (I know I tried my best…but it can be tough!!!), I am certain that an incredible amount of almsgiving took place. We are now bringing another successful Call for Thunder campaign to a close, and many members of our community rallied around Mrs. Branson (particularly through her Go Fund Me page, found here) and several other St. James families going through challenging situations.

The joy and celebration this month was palpable. If you get a minute, watch the videos from the Quarter Carnival and Thunder Day to get a feel for the fun and excitement we’ve had in our building recently. For my next month’s Rapp Up, I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of this senior class…but we better make sure they all get across the stage first! We have much to be grateful for from our students.
We are also celebrating the end of the incredible career of Greg Hohensinner. He has served our community as a teacher and coach, department chair and mentor, and leaves now to fish and relax with his beautiful wife Elaine at their home in the Ozarks. His lasting legacy will be the standard of excellence that he pushed all of us to, not only his students and players but his colleagues and administrators who saw how much he cared about the success of our school and its mission. Don’t tell him I said this, but I will really miss him next year.

As April turned to May, we finally got that spring weather we waited so long for. The air turned warm, filled with the fragrance of new life; the sun came out of hiding to lengthen our days and let us get out of our houses; the rains fell quietly many evenings, humming us to sleep with the drumming of the drops against windows and roofs. The new season that seemed so hesitant to come had finally arrived.
Spring is a time of hope. It brings me great hope that another 200 freshmen are enrolled already for next year. It brings me great hope that almost our entire staff is returning to continue improving the ways we work in this mission field of ours. And it brings me great hope that this community still rallies together, not only in times of sorrow or pain, but to sing and celebrate all that the Lord of Life is doing at this school.

Your brother in Christ,