I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Matthew 11: 25
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The first is an excerpt from the Gospel reading from the funeral of the legendary musician and New Orleanian, Pete Fountain. The second is an excerpt from the Gospel reading for the feast day of the legendary educator and Patron Saint of Teachers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.
Though centuries removed, the men are connected via the charism of our beloved Brothers of the Christian Schools, and in particular, through the Brothers who have roamed the breezeways of the City Park campus for decades.
What you may not know is that Pete was a great friend and benefactor of the Brothers. He played at the cocktail party for the Christian Brothers Foundation Golf Tournament for many, many years. We often say in New Orleans, “It’s a small world.” I cannot think of a more appropriate time to conjure up that expression. God, in his infinite wisdom, provides us with a point of intersection—a point at which we can make a connection in our own lives between the corporal and the spiritual, between a modern day clarinet player and a 17th century priest.
The implications for all of us, whether parents, educators, grandparents, friends, or family is real: God calls us to shed ourselves and become like little children.
This past Wednesday, I had the honor of attending Pete’s funeral as a representative of CBS, along with five students and former students who were invited to altar serve, and had the privilege of listening to the half of a dozen admirers who spoke words of remembrance in his honor. Each speaker, unbeknownst to the other, I imagine, had two common themes.
Firstly, Pete took great pride in and held in the highest regard the gifts that God had given him. He recognized that he was not only encouraged but obligated to share those gifts with those around him. The implications for us as a school community are clear: God gifts us with talents and requires of us to share those talents for the well-being of the community.
Secondly, Mr. Benny Harrell, Pete’s son-in-law, quoted Pete as saying, “I never aspired to being on any one else’s level. I just brought them down to mine.” Pete, of course, knew there was a poignancy and depth to his statement beyond the laughter. I don’t think there’s a more poetic way for a New Orleanian to express his humility.
What none of the speakers mentioned was the connection between the two sentiments, that is, that God calls us both to present our gifts to the world while at the same time humbly crediting Him with giving us those gifts, for it is in this combination of both accentuation and humility that we not only allow ourselves to reach our fullest potential as human beings but also allow ourselves to contribute to the communities of which we are intimately involved in the greatest possible manner. Some might call that irony, but God calls that grace.
On behalf of the Brothers and the Christian Brothers School community, we thank Pete for his lasting contribution to us not only in the form of his gift of music but also in the form of his gift of person. Likewise, we thank God for gifting us with people like Pete Fountain and St. John Baptist de La Salle, who by sharing their gifts with the world, have shown us what God intends for us and expects from us.
Have a wonderful week!
Michael J. Prat, Jr., Principal
Christian Brothers School, City Park Campus
P.S.-We have been working this week to resolve the email database discrepancies. My hope is that they have been resolved. If you are a CBS parent and received this via a forward and not directly, please contact me to let me know. Thanks for your patience and understanding.