The times, they are a-changin’. Despite the 80 degree temps around these southern parts, the leaves are finally starting to turn fall colors. The election coverage promises winds of change. Our children are growing out of the clothes we just bought them (ahem). We are also about to change our clocks back. (Thank you God!)
This Homecoming week has also made me think of the many changes at Marist. The campus has grown in remarkable ways – the Foundations, peer leader and parent mentor programs all help to build the Marist community – a community like none other. We have our large and welcoming Campus Ministry with retreats for every grade. When I look around this beautiful space, I cannot help but think that the many physical changes have made Marist a better place for our students, parents and alumni on a far more than physical level.
When I started Marist back in the dark ages, I had braces, wings shellacked back with tons of hair spray, and my fair share of pimples. I was ready for the next step after elementary school, but I had no idea where I was going or where I was to end up. When I left Marist, I was a completely different, fundamentally changed person. Marist’s mission of forming the whole person in the image of Christ through academic excellence, Catholic education, and the spirit of Mary initiated the formation of who I was, as well as the person I am today. For that, I will be forever thankful.
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.”
– Thomas Merton
My film-making-crazy son has been creating the “hype” videos for Marist this past football season. This week, he created a Homecoming video which gave me a bit of a chill. The lyrics to the song he chose say, “Come to me. Oh, your weary soul…is always welcome home. You’re always welcome home.”
This lyric not only spoke to me as an alumae who always feels welcome at Marist, but as a Christian, who is constantly being called home to communion with my Savior. I am always welcome home, no matter how many mistakes I make. No matter what I do outside of the box, I am always welcomed home. I just need to ask.
I cannot believe I am quoting my son, but here we go. His words from his video said, “Let’s stand side by side. The young and old. Current and former students. All those who have shaped this school into making it what it is. Let’s celebrate that our alumni are home again, because we can all call our community a family, and Marist, our home.”
I couldn’t have said it better. Welcome home, students, parents, and alumni. Welcome home, Marist. You always have a place. “You’re always welcome home.”