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Saint Joseph Hill AcademyUnder the Direction of the Daughters of Divine CharityElementary School

Principal's Message

One Solitary Life

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30.
Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college. He never traveled more than 200 miles from the place He was born.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.
He was only 33 when public opinion turned against Him.
His friends deserted Him.
He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
When He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had.. . . on earth.
When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind's progress.
All the armies that ever marched,
all the navies that ever sailed,
all the parliaments that ever sat,
all the kings that ever reigned,
put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as this
One Solitary Life..
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Easter Blessing

Greetings,

During this lenten season in preparation for Easter, I set time aside daily to reflect upon the choices and decisions I made each day. Were the decisions I made for the greater good or were they self serving? Did I find Christ in each of the people I encountered, and did they find him in me? Was I forgiving of others, understanding of their faults, as I would expect them to be forgiving and understanding of mine? The hardest thing for me to grasp, were the times I answered No to any of those questions. The challenge of learning from one's mistakes and accepting our shortcomings is a difficult process. Realizing that we are imperfect is a hard concept to grasp. Sometimes, all that we can do is pray that we live each day being the best possible person we can be, and when we are not, to try all the harder the next day. The great hope that we experience in the resurrection of Christ helps us fully realize the power of God in our lives and the love that he has for us. “For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”John 3:16.

On Palm Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem and by Good Friday we saw how the tides had turned against him as he was crucified on the cross. In that time he was betrayed by one apostle, denied by another, and abandoned by the rest. He had a violent criminal chosen for freedom over his own, was beaten and whipped, then mocked and ridiculed by the crowds. Yet as we hear in Luke’s Gospel as he hung upon the cross, he proclaimed,
“ Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34. Imagine this man, beaten, betrayed, abandoned and left to die, yet willing to forgive. Of all the words spoken by Christ at the end of his life, these resonate most with me. In a world so ready to judge, it is important that we teach forgiveness and understanding rather than retribution or punishment. I will pray for all of you and your families and that you may experience the wonder and awe of the Risen Christ and that he will fill your hearts with joy on this Easter Sunday.
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Christmas Message

There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this is what will prove it to you; you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

This passage from Matthew’s Gospel is my favorite part of the infancy narratives. The words used to describe the birth of our Lord and Savior are beautiful, simple, and yet so profound. As the angel proclaims these words to the shepherds, you can imagine the fear they had, and their questions. Why would a messenger of God, proclaim this glorious birth to a group of lowly shepherds? What is even more shocking, is the fact that the angel proclaims that this child, this savior, can be found in a manger, a place where animals sleep and feed. In this passage the shepherds, who represent the poorest class of people, are some of the first to know of Jesus’ birth, helping us to realize that this new born baby, who came from the humblest of beginnings, is truly the savior of us all. A newborn king sent to live among us, the child born who would one day save the world...

As we spend these next few days with our family and friends gathered together let us not forget the reason we celebrate Christmas. Let us hold the message of the Shepherds’ angel in our hearts, as we behold the newborn king. Let us also not forget those who are far less fortunate than we are. Keep them in your prayers, that they may know peace and love. Let us also pray for our men and women in the service and their families as many of them are far from home. May they all experience the joy of Christmas.

I leave you with these words taken from a children’s performance of the nativity story and hope that they resonate with you during this most joyus time of year.
In two thousand years, millions have followed the star, searched for the stable, discovered the new born child, and yet from generation to generation, across the passing centuries, the joy never dims, the good news never loses its power to bring us to our knees in adoration. For each time a searching heart finds Christ, the Savior, the angels sing, heaven rejoices, and Christmas, Blessed Christmas, comes again.

I wish you all God’s blessings in the new year. Have a wonderful Christmas.
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December 18, 2017

A reflection for this week as we busily prepare for our Christmas Holiday. The words of this beautiful poem are inspiring.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was 30.
Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college. He never traveled more than 200 miles from the place He was born.
He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.
He was only 33 when public opinion turned against Him.
His friends deserted Him.
He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
When He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had...on earth.
When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind's progress.
All the armies that ever marched,
all the navies that ever sailed,
all the parliaments that ever sat,
all the kings that ever reigned,
put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as this
One Solitary Life...
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December 9, 2017

In keeping with the season’s spirit of giving, the St. joseph Hill Academy students joined together and collected funds for the purchase of an abundance of new toys for children in need. Each class selected a beautiful angel tag from our Angel Tree of Giving. These tags held the name of a new toy for a girl or boy of different ages. All donated toys were given to the Where to Turn Holiday Toy Store, where families can come and select toys for their children at no cost. The generosity of our students is overwhelming and the feeling of resounding joy can be felt throughout the building. Walking through the halls and seeing the Christmas wreaths on every classroom door adorned with an angel tags make one's heart soar with joy. In addition to the toy collection, our 2nd Grade teamed up with Scholastic Books and donated 86 pairs of pajamas to children in homeless shelters. For every pair of pajamas donated, Scholastic will donate a book to a child as well. When you take a moment to pause and think about the fact that there are children living in our world who don’t have warm pajamas to wear to bed, it makes us so much more grateful for all that we have. Every child has the right to a cozy goodnight. These simple acts of kindness displayed by our students is a reminder that God’s love is alive in our world. As our Christmas fair t-shirts so rightly stated, “There’s No Place Like Hill For The Holidays.” Click "read more" to see photos.
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Happy Thanksgiving

As we leave school to begin our Thanksgiving break, I wanted to share with you a story from my youth. Everyone has that one holiday memory that stays with them from childhood, the one you tell at family gatherings. My particular holiday memory takes me back to Sunset Park Brooklyn in 1985 when I was 10. I grew up in a working class family. My mom worked part time and took care of me and my sister who was physically disabled and confined to a wheelchair, and my dad worked as a maintenance man. Though we lived paycheck to paycheck, there was always food on the table. Thanksgiving and Christmas were special times when my parents splurged on making sure that there was an abundance of food for us to celebrate and have a well enjoyed feast. This one Thanksgiving though was a particularly rough time for my family, as my dad had recently lost his job and we were struggling to make ends meet. With barely enough money for bills and food, it was going to be difficult for my parents to afford a meager holiday dinner, much less an elaborate Thanksgiving meal. With two children and Christmas right around the corner, there was a lot of tension and worrying. Traveling was not an option, as we were without a vehicle. My grandmother graciously offered to bring all of the food from her home in Long Island to ours in Brooklyn. As luck would have it, on their way to Brooklyn early Thanksgiving morning, my Grandparents’ car broke down on the Long Island Expressway. Distraught, my parents were at a loss as the situation seemed hopeless. A close neighbor invited us to dinner at their home and though my parents and sister decided to tough it out at home, I was not going to miss the opportunity for a meal…some things never change. To my surprise, our neighbors Thanksgiving feast was less festive than what I had traditionally grown accustomed to and I left after dessert quite disappointed. Instant mashed potatoes, jar gravy and canned carrots were not going to cut it for this food critic. When I returned home I was pleased to hear that we were going to travel the next day on the LIRR to my grandparents and would have Thanksgiving dinner a day late. In my mind, the holiday was so much more about all the pomp and circumstance and anything less was not acceptable. As the years have gone on, and one by one each holiday brought with it its own unique set of circumstances, my priorities have shifted drastically. Though I still am a bit of a stickler about meal planning, I realize now that it is far less about what is on the table and more about those gathered around it. The true blessings of thanksgiving are the people we hold near and dear and the time we spend together creating memories. Sadly, like many of us have come to know, there are often too many empty seats at our holiday tables where loved ones no longer with us once sat. People are what truly matters and the quality of the time spent together is far more important than anything else.

As we gather with our families, friends and loved ones to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, let us take the time to rejoice and give thanks to God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us. Let us pray for those who do not have families or loved ones near to share this season with, that they to may know God’s love. This year, I am grateful for everyone in the St. Joseph Hill Academy community as you have openly embraced me as your new principal and welcomed me so graciously. I wish all of you and your families all of God’s blessings. As I gather with my loved ones, I will pray for all of you, that this day be bountiful and filled with the love of family and friends.
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November 9, 2017

My message to you today comes two fold. As we set out to enjoy this three day weekend, let us remember the men and women who have given their lives in service to our country. We also pray for those who continue to serve and for their families. The sacrifices they have made and continue to make, secure our freedom and provide us with the blessings of liberty that we so often take for granted.

As we are all well aware, it is hard to ignore the tragic events that we have seen in recent weeks on our local news and in the papers. Whether these events took place here in New York City, Texas, or any other location, the carnage and devastation are overwhelming and heart breaking. It is in times like these that I am reminded of a quote from a speech given last June by Bishop O’Hara as he addressed a group of graduating 8th Graders on Staten Island. To paraphrase the Bishop, “It is in times of trouble that Christ does not abandon us. In those times it is necessary that we lean on Christ, as he will get us through.” When so much in our lives becomes overwhelming or we are troubled by the turmoil of the world around us, we can find comfort in our faith. Let us live as Christ reminds us, “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
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October 30, 2017

The fall weather is finally upon us and the daylight hours have begun to grow shorter. For many of us that means going to work or school when it's still dark and coming home when it is dark as well. The change is season brings with it many things that have become part of the "new" norm, like pumpkin flavored ...well...everything, fall television show premiers, and trips to the mall for the latest in fall candle scents, but what about the things we take for granted? When was the last time that many of us stopped to look at the changing colors of the leaves or listen to the crunching sound they make as we walk across them? Do we notice the abundance of acorns on the ground and the scurrying squirrels that run across our yards getting ready for the winter? All of these things are signs of God's great hand at work in our beautiful world. It reminds me a of a quote from the poet Emily Bronte, "Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." As we begin to prepare for the coming holiday season and get so busy with shopping and planning, let us not forget the beauty of God's work in the world around us. I hope that each of you take the opportunity to stop and appreciate the simplicity of it all...even if it is just for a moment. God is good all the time and all the time God is good!
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September 11, 2017

In light of all of the troublesome issues going on in the world, I think it is often hard at times for us to realize that we are all vulnerable and share the same basic needs, to be loved and to feel safe. The images we have witnessed on TV have made us all feel sorrow and compassion for the victims of these terrible storms. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. Let us be mindful of all the blessings that we have and not forget that a simple act of kindness, a smile or simply saying hello to someone can change their day...and yours.

"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
~ Mother Teresa
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