By Kaelanne Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archbishop Jason Gordon reminded Catholic school principals that in their role as leaders they must accompany persons from wherever they are towards where God is calling them.
Preaching the homily at a May 18 Mass at Our Lady of Fatima RC, Curepe, which preceded the Association of Principals of Catholic Schools’ (APCS) termly conference, the archbishop centred on the Gospel reading John 21:15–19, a text where Peter is reinstated to leadership from “spectacular foolishness”.
Archbishop Gordon told Catholic principals to recognise that they, too, did “real foolishness” sometimes. However, he reminded them that the criteria for leadership in the Christian Church is love.
“To be a principal is to be called to love—agape love, a sacrificial form of love that will see the best of every member of your team. That they [staff], by coming to their fullest potential, will allow each child in your school to their fullest potential. If the principal is strengthened, the teachers are strengthened, the children are strengthened…”
He observed Caribbean parenting styles tend to affirm persons by giving them “fatigue” and pinpoint every bit of one’s foolishness. Commenting on this, the archbishop asked principals to reflect on how frequently they have kept standards so high as to be unattainable by their teachers and students, and how they treat staff who do “spectacular foolishness”.
Archbishop Gordon said the difference lies between gospel and culture. “I know what the culture says: shame them; rub it in their face; make sure they understand that you understand that they do stupidness.”
On the other hand, he mentioned, Jesus does not treat Peter that way. “He reaches out to Peter and gives him a sense of a vision of where he needs to be and then he comes back and holds Peter’s hand right at the level where Peter is and walks with him to that vision. This is accompaniment.”
Archbishop Gordon explained this example of genuine leadership creates a path to where the destination is and makes it possible for everyone to achieve.
He then invited Catholic principals to call on God for agape love and bring the most troubled child before Him.
Archbishop Gordon was the feature speaker at the association’s meeting which followed the Mass. The Episcopal Vicar for Vocations and Priestly Formation, Fr Matthew d’Hereaux also addressed the principals. More in next Sunday’s issue.