SY 2017-2018: Open Doors at SBCS

Santa Barbara Catholic School (SBCS) faculty and staff gathered from August 1-7 for their annual recollection and orientation in preparation for the new school year.

Fr. Fran Hezel of Santa Barbara Catholic Church presided over the first day recollection and mass. New principal, Sister Maria Rosario Gaite, RSM set the tone for the year with an inspiring welcome message that brought into focus the ministry of SBCS as a “Mercy school” in these dynamic times. As its new head of school she recognizes the responsibility and stated that, “The call to be a principal is a call to professional leadership. It is a call to be the visionary and lead teacher. It is a call to express the Gospel.” She encouraged teachers to view this coming school year as a year for opening doors. In her message Sister Maria Rosario said, “As I begin my new role as principal, I pray that we may open the door of collaboration….open the door of mercy….open the door of service. From yesterday’s recollection with Fr. Fran, we acknowledged that teaching in a Catholic School is a vocation and a mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ. It is a call to service not for our sake but for the sake of the school community. It is a call to proclaim and put into action the love and mercy of God to our students. It is a call to be a healing presence to our students and to protect them from negative influences that may harm them…. I am hopeful that with all of us working together, united in the same vision and mission of SBCS, we will be able to surge on as we educate the mind, heart, and spirit of our students.”

Throughout the week, faculty and staff engaged in reflection and prayer centered on the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns: nonviolence, racism, reverence for the earth, women and immigration. Ms. Bernadette Alcantara, Assistant to the Principal for Formation, facilitated the reflection sessions and activities. Mrs. Arleen Suplido, Curriculum Director, discussed procedures and changes to schedules and other requirements.

The orientation was capped with a special commissioning and blessing of faculty and staff with the words from St. Pope John Paul II’s homily for the inauguration of his pontificate, “Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Open wide the doors for Christ.”; and a Mercy Blessing from the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Sisters of Mercy, “May the Spirit of God find a home in us. Amen. May the Spirit of God animate us. Amen. May the Spirit of God create new hearts in us. Amen.” And with that everyone was ready to open the doors to new beginnings and possibilities!


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