Happy New Year!

As the Christmas season draws to a close, I wish you and your families a Happy New Year! In 2019 may we all find the fullness of grace and the new beginning, which comes through entering into a living relationship with the One who makes all things new, Jesus the Christ. There is a universal longing in every human heart to be made new, to begin again, because the Holy Spirit prompts it.

During the last week before we left for the break, I had an opportunity to see the creative spirit alive and well at Sacred Heart School! I was thrilled to be able to accompany the children at their concert, and this week I was able to teach a few music classes. It gives me great joy to hear and see the beauty created by children! Music, art, and drama were at the forefront as we entered the holy season of Christmas. Rehearsals for the Christmas concert moved to the church, and I was fortunate to be present as many of the classes rehearsed. I was impressed with the pitch, talent and enthusiasm of our young musicians.

The middle school students were treated to a presentation by a graphic artist (pictured at top). The artist and Mrs. Walker explained that graphic arts are just one of the many career paths that students who are gifted in this area may choose. The students asked thoughtful, intelligent questions and were riveted by the presentation of the designer.

Also, the Kindergarten celebrated Saint Lucia Day! (Saint Lucy, December 13th in Sweden) Saint Lucy wore candles on her head so that she could use her hands to bring food to the Christians hiding in the catacombs. I love this picture of our Kindergarten class celebrating in their classroom!

Right before Christmas, a number of students under the direction of Mrs. Brady entertained their parents and friends with a musical called “A Dickens of a Christmas.” The whole school had the opportunity to see these talented young people recreate their roles for us on Friday afternoon, December 14th. The children were well-rehearsed, knew their lines, their cues, and projected remarkably well! Hats off to Mrs. Brady and this amazing group of thespians!

Comprehensive, innovative arts initiatives are taking root in a growing number of schools. Many of these models are based on new findings in brain research and cognitive development, and they embrace a variety of approaches: using the arts as a learning tool (for example, musical notes to teach fractions); incorporating arts into other core classes (writing and performing a play about, say, slavery); creating a school environment rich in arts and culture (Mozart in the hallways every day) and hands-on arts instruction. Although most of these initiatives are in the early stages, some are beginning to rack up impressive results.

Catholic schools have always seen the arts as vital. Philosophically, we see the gifts and talents of every child as gifts from God, and we see our responsibility to help students develop these gifts. We also recognize that the history of the Church and of civilization is seen through art, music and literature. Can anyone think of Rome without thinking of Michaelangelo, or hear Handel’s “Messiah” without recognizing the Christian faith it took to compose such a beautiful oratorio?

On New Year’s Day I have a tradition of attending a Boston Baroque Concert in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, while my husband has a tradition of watching football! I am always mesmerized by the talent of the musicians and the incredible minds of such composers as Bach, Handel and Telemann. The arts lift our spirits and give rise to our emotions and imaginations.

As we begin 2019, I want to thank the many of you who contribute to the arts in this community! When we teach children to create and perform, we stimulate both sides of the brain. We increase the capacity of memory, attention and concentration. We help develop reading skills and children do better in math and science. Like all of you, I thank God for the beauty of music, art and literature, which touch my mind, my heart and my soul. Happy New Year!

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