​Catholic Teachers of the Year celebrated at Mass and recognition ceremony

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Catholic Teachers of the Year celebrated at Mass and recognition ceremony

Catholic Teachers of the Year were recognized and honored a liturgy and ceremony by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, on August 7 in Our Lady’s Chapel at Assumption Seminary, following an almost four month delay. In most years the honorees receive their awards at a banquet in early May, however, that event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know all too well that good teaching cannot be reduced to technique alone; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher,” he said. “Who you are infuses your work!”

Archbishop Gustavo focused his comments on the Scripture reading at the Mass from Matthew 16: 21-27: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16: 21-27)

In his homily, the archbishop quizzed the educators: “We ask ourselves not only what does it mean to be a good teacher, but what does it mean to be a follower, a disciple of Jesus?”

He explained that the words of Jesus show the true meaning of a spiritual journey of faith and the pedagogy used in teaching.

“I’m sure the disciples were taken by surprise when they heard these words of Jesus,” Archbishop Gustavo acknowledged. “I wonder how many of them, like normal students, became distracted, disinterested or even considered turning away.”

Continuing, he said, “Love is ingenious! Jesus the Rabbi, the good teacher, continued to show them how to love, how to self-sacrifice by loving them the way they each needed to be loved.”

The San Antonio prelate stressed to the instructors their role as Missionary Disciples, to teach as Jesus taught. He quoted the words of Pope Francis: “Educating is an act of love; it is the giving of life.”

The Missionary of the Holy Sprit told listeners that Jesus’ words invite us to go deeper into the mystery of what it means to be his follower. “Self-denial and self-sacrifice are not simply burdens we bear alone. They are opportunities to love as Jesus loves, with the promise of the Eucharistic Lord himself who will be our food for the journey, our strength.”

After calling for prayers from Mother Mary, Seat of Wisdom, the archbishop concluded, “My friends, let us continue to teach in the manner of Jesus, let us instruct and mentor those in our care showing them that it is only in this gift of self to others that we find true happiness.”

Serving in special roles at the service were Jenny Russell, High School Teacher of the Year from Antonian College Preparatory High School; and Adam Olmos, Elementary School Teacher of the Year from Holy Spirit School.