Letter from Dr. Fallon
Fall is upon us! The seasonal changes remind us that we do not stop our forward movement through life. This month, we said good-bye to one of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School’s best friends – Mr. James Maher. It has been a beautiful and humbling experience hearing about his embracing of Christ. In our own ways and in our own time, we can pray Mr. Maher into Heaven. Here is my prayer for Jim Maher:
Father, you gave us a genuine disciple of Christ. Thank you for allowing Mr. Maher to reach the interiority of all who were fortunate to know him and, in turn, the Christ in him. Thank you for placing Jim in our path – so we could, through Jim and in Jim, find you. We ask that you remind all of us, especially Mrs. Maher and the family, that their tears are signs that you have poured so much healing grace into them that it flows freely from their eyes. If it is your will, Father, let the Maher family, in the silence of their hearts, hear Jim say: it is well, I am in Heaven preparing a place for you. Please send the Holy Spirit to move in Jim’s family and friends, so that it may “be well in our souls.” Amen.
As for COVID – we continue to monitor the situation, hour by hour. Some parents have been proactive when keeping their students home if any potential contact occurred or the student became mildly symptomatic. Most parents are restricting their students from parties and large gatherings. Those choices have protected all of us. We are grateful. Please keep in mind that COVID is to blame for our problems, not the affected student. We should be nonjudgmental and help families who are confronting a positive test result. As we return to normal school operations, we do so based on consultation with an epidemiologist, a study of highly diverse data from multiple sources, communication with other Catholic high schools, and weekly interaction with Johnson County. At any time, we can return to hybrid or virtual learning if the circumstances support it.
Saints Annual Appeal: unlike previous years where certain levels of contribution associated with very nice benefits, this year’s COVID restrictions created an ethical dilemma. We cannot offer the benefits you are familiar with, such as using a card for admission to events. Our athletic and other events are capacity limited. At a recent Extravaganza Gift Gathering, a parent said “Dr. Fallon, I don’t give to the Saints Annual Appeal to get something in exchange. We give to ensure that all of the STA family can take part in extracurriculars of their choosing.” That mom said it best. Our needs are great. If you would like to contribute to the Saints Annual Appeal, your gift is welcomed. I meet with or hear from families each day that have been impacted by COVID medically, financially, or in some cases when enduring a family member’s death because of COVID. Your support is needed now more than ever! Please consider helping us support our students. For most, taking part in extracurriculars is the only stress release our students have. Thanks in advance for your generosity.
Some new opportunities – you may have heard about our new Associate Campus Minister, Miss Denise Whelan. She brings noteworthy experience and lots of positive energy to our efforts. We are thrilled to have Miss Whelan working with us. She also brings her therapy dog, Major, to school occasionally. Please join us in welcoming her to the STA family.
Finally, we will be hosting funeral Masses in our STA Chapel for homeless veterans who have no family. To help with this dignified and patriotic event, we asked some staff to recommend students who would do a great job in a variety of supporting functions – such as pallbearers, Chapel set-up, greeter, soloist, etc. If your student feels called to help, please ask her or him to stop in and talk with me. After the veteran is interred in the National Cemetery, the flag that draped the casket will be returned to STA. Based on a generous and thoughtful gift in memory of Medal of Honor recipient Air Force Major Merlyn Dethlefsen from the Allen Family Foundation (Bill and Mary Allen – parents of Mrs. Gina Haskett in the Comptroller’s office), we will place it in the Chapel with a small engraved plaque indicating the veteran’s name, rank, branch of service, and commendations. If you would like to sponsor a veteran’s engraved plaque or help with the cost of blazers, patches, and white gloves for pallbearers, please let me know. Thanks, on behalf of those who served this great Nation and will not be forgotten!