With the arrival of December, we prepare for both the shortest days of the year, and for the long hope of Advent! For all Christians, the Advent season is an intensive and joyful time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth, a celebration of Immanuel – meaning “God is with us!” The final days of Advent, from December 17th to December 24th, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas). A liturgical season rich in meaning, tradition and symbols, a good Advent requires patience and prayer. Advent also can inspire change in us. Indeed believing that God is always near to us, and faithfully walking beside us at all moments of our life, has the power to change each of us. We are never alone. God never abandons his children.
Pope Francis recently wrote an opinion that was published in the New York Times. It was a profound reflection on 2020, and the “stoppage” as he called it, caused by the COVID-19 crisis. In every human moment of “stoppage” – personal, communal, or global – Francis believes that God “reveals to us what needs to change.” The Pope counsels: “to come out of this pandemic better than we went in, we must let ourselves be touched by others’ pain.”
A crisis like this pandemic and its life altering effects on so many people can be ripe with tension, anxiety and confusion, causing some to withdraw and isolate. Paradoxically, the COVID-19 crisis also gives us regular chances to place the needs of others – especially those suffering or vulnerable – ahead of our own personal needs, wants and liberties. Crisis stops us, and can change us.
Advent reminds us that God is always creating. Pope Francis suggests that “this is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities – what we value, what we want, what we seek – and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of.” In this spirit, I wonder: “how are we being called to dream and create change for the Springs community? How can Ledgers grow into their identity as God’s children so as to faithfully reflect God’s love in the world?” What bold, positive change can this historic moment of “stoppage” inspire on the Ledge?
Pope Francis leaves us with much to consider this Advent: “To come out of the crisis better, we have to recover the knowledge that as a people we have a shared destination. The pandemic has reminded us that no one is saved alone. What ties us to one another is what we commonly call solidarity. Solidarity is more than acts of generosity, important as they are; it is the call to embrace the reality that we are bound by bonds of reciprocity. On this solid foundation we can build a better, different, human future.”
This Advent, I pray that the trials of this pandemic crisis will strengthen our solidarity, so that our beloved Springs community may grow closer to God, and be more faithful to the Christian calling to “prepare the way of the Lord” and be light for God’s world.
Be well, God bless.
Eamonn O’Keeffe, Principal Grades 9-12
December 5th – High School Placement Test administered at SMSA from 8:30 a.m. – 12 Noon. This test is required of all 8th grade students who will apply for high school admission to SMSA or any Catholic high school in the Archdiocese.
December 8th – Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the patronal feast day of SMSA!
December 15th – National Honors Society Induction Ceremony (Virtual) 6:30- 8:00 p.m. Reach out to Mr. Jeff Beissman with questions around event details. firstname.lastname@example.org
December 17 – Advent Reconciliation Services. Campus Ministry has arranged for many priests to be available to SMSA students for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
NEWS AND INFORMATION
Mid-Quarter Progress Reports
December 4th marks the midpoint of Quarter II. Teachers have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, December 7 to update and post grades for this period. On Tuesday, December 8th, at 3:30 p.m. parents can open Skyward, navigate to “Family Access” and then click the “Portfolio” tab to see the posted progress report. Progress reports are not mailed. Parents can feel free to print the Skyward posted progress report for their records.
January 11th – 14th, 2021 marks the end of Semester I and is designated as Exam Week for all high school students. Key information about Exam Week expectations is being shared with students during December. Please click the link below for the Exam Week schedule and published SMSA expectations for students and faculty. EXAM WEEK – January 2021
Winter Sports Season!
SMSA is very pleased to support the safe return of athletics to the Ledge! Ledger girls will compete in basketball, volleyball and dance. Ledger boys will be competing in basketball, hockey and wrestling. The WIAA and Flyway Conference has established safety and health protocols for successfully initiating indoor competitions. For example, all student athletes will be required to wear face coverings as a condition of competition. Coaches, game staff and officials and any spectators will also need to comply with this mask mandate. Within the Flyway Conference, student athletes are allowed to designate only two spectators for any home or away contest. Most games can be viewed via livestream video. Please consult with our Athletic Director, Mr. Greg Hoffmann, for details around obtaining the livestream link for any given contest. Despite the many restrictions, our players and coaches are very happy and excited for the privilege to compete during this tenuous and risky public health crisis. Our mission and core values will be on display all season. Go Ledgers!