This post is the fourth of a series of posts during Catholic Schools Week.
By: John Patterson, student at Bishop O’Connell High School
I began my Catholic education at St. Timothy’s and then continued it at my second home, Bishop O’Connell. With only one semester left before graduation, I want to share how these two phenomenal Catholic schools have nurtured my faith.
The qualities that allowed me to excel at O’Connell were forged at St. Timothy’s. The theology program gave me a strong sense of the “mechanics” of Catholicism. I can drive a car without knowing how it works, but if it breaks down, I can only fix it if I know the mechanics. The same goes for our faith. Knowing things like transubstantiation, the difference between the Ascension and the Assumption, and the history of the Israelites all amplify our appreciation of the Church. St. Timothy’s laid a foundation of knowledge that continues to aid my understanding of my faith… and my Theology grade!
There’s a special place in my heart for O’Connell and its community. Through O’Connell, I’ve met a huge variety of people and personalities that share the common denominator of our faith. Seeing this diversity emphasizes to me how the word “Catholic” means universal. Spending my day in this community with so many role models in the faculty, staff and student body, has indelibly impacted my spiritual life. I feel closer to God thanks to my friendship with His children at O’Connell.
O’Connell has ingrained in me the fundamental Catholic social teaching of the dignity of all human life. I’ve learned this in the classroom and Pro-Life Club meetings, but most effectively in adventures beyond our campus. On a mission trip to Haiti, I saw human dignity in the people’s resilience in a difficult environment. I found the missionaries serving there had many inspirational qualities in common with the volunteers I’ve met in local communities, such as at St. James food distribution. Both these opportunities to serve were gifts to me from O’Connell, and made the lessons I’ve been learning in theology for years come alive in front of me.
I’m not sure yet where I’ll be going to college, but I know a Catholic ministry is there waiting for me. Catholicism is an integral part of me thanks to the encouraging environment I’ve been able to thrive in. My Catholic education has helped me understand, appreciate and apply my faith in my daily life.
John F. Patterson is an 18-year-old senior at Bishop O’Connell High School. He is the President of the Class of 2015 and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, “The Visor.” He attended St. Timothy’s from Kindergarten through 8th grade. He considers writing his passion and contributes to O’Connell’s student blog and the Catholic Herald. In 2014, he traveled with DJO’s Medical Missionaries Club to Haiti for a week. He is the recipient of the Catholic Business Network’s Youth Exemplifying Service Award. In his free time he enjoys exploring nature, reading his favorite poem Invictus, and sometimes not doing much of anything at all!