As some of you know, I enjoy biking along the Mission Reach Trail.  During a stretch between Mission Espada and Mission San Juan Capistrano, I noticed large portions of vegetation had been intentionally scorched.  At first, my heart became filled with sorrow believing something or someone had damaged this beautiful area. Then I saw a sign that explained this area was part of a controlled burn initiative to control the growing of some plants and assist with the growing of others. While fire has many negative consequences including death and the loss of property, it also has the power to sustain human life and promote growth and rejuvenation.

In Saint Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, he states, “For this reason, I remind you to stir into the flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.”  In essence, Saint Paul is asking Timothy to fan the fire that dwells in his heart. It is only when a fire has oxygen that it can begin to grow and redevelop what had been into something stronger and amazing.

So, as we embark on this new school year, I have selected Start A Fire as our spiritual theme.  While I strongly desire to put all things COVID-19 behind me, I must acknowledge that the health pandemic has changed Catholic education, our approach to teaching, and the blueprint to make us stronger as a parish school.  It is my prayer that as a faith community we choose to Start A Fire in our hearts and minds as we continue to make God known, loved, and served – personally and professionally.  We must take the good, the bad, and the ugly, the hurts and disappointments, the frustrations and disagreements, and begin a controlled burn so that we can return to purpose, our mission and vision.

As we begin a new school year, it is my prayer that St. Joseph, the Patron of our Catholic Church, continue to protect our school community just as he protected Christ and our Blessed Mother.

In service to the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament,

Michael Fierro