Dear Members of the CMH Family:
One of the great stories about St. Nicholas is the one that represents the root Santa Claus magically entering into our homes and leaving gifts for children. The story tells of a poor man with three daughters. As beautiful as they might have been, in their poverty the father would have no dowry to offer so that the girls might one day marry. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings left by the fire to dry. Such is the history of giving gifts that completely change lives of children.
The centuries of shared history between the Christmas holiday and St. Nick, may have originally been just a coincidence of the calendar – with his feast day on December 6th and Christmas having long been set by the Church to replace the pagan feasts around the winter solstice. But the connection between the two goes deeper, reaching to the core of this holiday as we still live it out today – the transformative joy of children. God offered His only child as a gift to transform the life of the world. St. Nicholas offered gifts to transform the lives of young people. The ideal of faith tells us that as each child is transformed by the gifts, that child must therefore go out and transform the world.
The gifts themselves may, in today’s world, be viewed by some as prodigal or intended by others to be practical. Such judgments are unnecessary so long as each gift truly reflects the real intention of Christmas – that the gift itself will transform the world! Exemplified in the Nativity of Jesus, the gift of the Child is really the gift of love itself. It is the love of Christ which transforms us, it is the outward signs of the love we learn which compels our tangible gifts, it is in the child who learns to love and learns to give that this needy world can be transformed.
At Catholic Memorial High School we can be very proud of the gifts we give our students – faith, inspiration, education, and community. Each is integrated into the motto of the CMH experience – Caritas in Omnibus. When each truly transforms, we have affirmation that they flow from the source and summit of our CMH mission – Christ, the newborn king!
On this Christmas Day, please know of my deep and sincere thanks to all who make this transformative gift of ours possible. The families who entrust their children to us; the faculty and staff who are so dedicated to our mission; the supporting parishes and their pastors who offer us so many prayers; and the legion of benefactors who are inspired by Christ to emulate St. Nicholas and make a gift of their own wealth so that young people will be transformed. Taken together, our graduates then become a gift to the Church and to the world. Like the spirit of Christmas made real, they are gifts that can transform a needy world!
Blessings to you and your family on this day when God became man and man became destined to be saved.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Paul B. R. Hartmann
P.S. If you have not yet viewed the historical CMH video, The Legacy Lives, please do take some time to view it at our YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/WeAreMemorial
Keep track of CMH happenings by checking out my blog regularly, http://cmhpresident.blogspot.com
Lastly, please do support our CMH mission as best you can, http://www.catholicmemorial.net/support/give_now.php