Christmas Greetings from the President

December 14, 2022

Merry Christmas! It is hard to believe we are already nearing the joyous celebration of Christ’s birth. As the Advent season and the year come to a close, I find myself reflecting on a few special themes. These topics include words such as prepare, light, refugees and gratitude.

During this Advent season the STA community has been praying daily for the coming of Christ. Prophets of the ages such as Isaiah, John the Baptist and Micah all rejoiced and helped people of their time prepare for the anticipated birth of Jesus. We continue the same wonder in our preparations today. As teachers, students and staff have been preparing for finals and the close of the first semester, they also have joy-filled anticipation for Christmas and many other upcoming festivities. Nicole Smith, our Director of Equity and Inclusive Education, has reminded our community of other important cultural celebrations such as Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. The unifying reality of all of these holidays includes the important symbolism of light. 

The joy of Christmas truly centers on the beauty of light. It is written in Matthew 2:10: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”  Similarly, Pope Francis has shared powerful remarks about the meaning of light. He stated, “The lights on the Christmas tree are a reminder that Jesus came ‘to lighten our darkness, our existence often enclosed in the shadow of sin, fear, pain.’” Correspondingly, in celebration of Hanukkah, Jews light a special menorah candleholder in remembrance of the ancient miracle when one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in the temple. With respect to those who celebrate the African American tradition of Kwanzaa, a kinara candle holder is lit as a celebration of family life and unity.  In all of these commemorations, we are reminded of our responsibility to be a light to others; to love the dear neighbor without distinction. 

So many dear neighbors are in need, and many perhaps more than ever before. When Father Don Farnan celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with us this week, he reminded us that Jesus’ Holy Family, Mary and Joseph, were refugees in need. Indeed, much like so many refugees of today, they were without shelter. In the Holy Family’s case, Mary was forced to give birth in a stable, and later they had to flee King Herod’s murderous wrath of young male children. Many refugees of today also are escaping tyrannical governments, poverty and war. Kansas City recently has welcomed busloads of immigrants and migrants from El Paso, Texas, and more people in need are on the way. Bishop Johnston and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are helping to support these dear neighbors. We must all care for, pray and support them – refugees who are facing peril, just as the Holy Family did. 

Finally, I want to close by expressing my gratitude. The first semester of our school year is ending, and we have been hard at work. I am honored and delighted that we have such an amazing community. The students, faculty and staff have completed much work during this time. We are so grateful for all of the ways our community supports us. We thank you for sharing your time, talents and treasure with the Academy. I look forward to working with you as a community in our efforts to support STA’s mission in the coming year and beyond. 

God Bless, 

Dr. Siabhan May-Washington