In Southeast Texas, it is tradition to begin the new Catholic school year with prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD, celebrated the Convocation Mass Aug. 5 at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Beaumont.
However, due to the pandemic, Superintendent Marcia Stevens, principals of the five Catholic schools and their board members were invited to attend Mass in the Cathedral. Nearly six hundred people watched remotely through live streaming.
The start of the school year has been pushed back from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17 at the request of the principals.
“The principals requested the change of the start date to allow an extra five days to prepare for a successful opening and ensure the details of the reopening plans are in place,” Stevens said.
With the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, many people, especially teachers and parents, are concerned with how to teach students using new and safe measures.
“We are working to find new ways to educate including taking temperatures, wearing masks and keeping kids at a distance,” Bishop Guillory said during his homily. “That can be very challenging. So it will take a cooperative effort with the teachers, principals and parents to work together for the common good guided through the principle of love.”
Even with the changes and ongoing challenges, Bishop Guillory is confident that the community will become stronger than ever.
“There are many concerns,” Bishop Guillory said. “But in the history of mankind and the Church, people have gone through challenging times. Here in Southeast Texas, we have gone through the devastation of hurricanes and economic downturn. But yet, not only do we get through it, it makes us into a better community.”
The Diocesan Reopening School Guidance Plan can be found on the school’s page on the diocesan website at dioceseofbmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Diocese-of-Beaumont-Reopening-School-Guidance-2020-2021-Rev-7-27-2020.pdf.