Weekly Letter (May 18, 2015)

Dear Parents and Students,

In June 1987 I was hit with a devastating personal loss. As part of my “recovery” I went on a symbolic journey to a small town called Hope, in British Columbia. I enjoy driving, and getting away from home gave me the sense that I was, at least in some small way, leaving my problems behind. It didn’t take long to realize that the problems were still with me and in the solitude of my car I had to begin to try to learn how to cope with them. My geographical destination was Hope but my real destination was to find HOPE.

I have made that trip to Hope, BC a few times in my adult life. More often I have made a trip to Pacifica Pier, or the church across the schoolyard when nobody else is there. Some evenings I drive home by way of the Great Highway and find a prayerful moment between rows of sand dunes. As I grow older, I find more places have the power to bring back my sense of joy. That may be because over the years God has sent some amazing people into my life and those folks have shared wonderful memories with me.

Symbolic journeys such as mine are not a new idea. Some go on religious pilgrimages, others drive through the old neighborhood and remember their childhood. Perhaps there are as many ways to take these journeys as there are ways to seek reconciliation, hope, faith, or love.

The date isn’t firm yet, but I will be taking another symbolic journey this summer. At some point I will fly back to Maryland and help my son and his best man drive two cars to my son’s new home in Phoenix. I look forward to both the solitude of driving and the company of my son at the end of each day. Both should help me sort through the problems encountered this year. Both should help me to more clearly see the path I must take for next year. Both should help restore my sense of Christian joy. Both should help make me a better principal and teacher at Star.

This has been a tough year at Star of the Sea … for all of us. I hope that you all take a journey this summer to refresh your souls. I hope your moments of solitude and prayerful reflection bring you closer to the people you live with, the people you love.

In closing, I want to share one last thought. Several people have suggested that had we been given a choice, we would have avoided this year altogether. But we had no choice; we did the best we could. And maybe we are better people for it.

“We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that ‘if you want peace, work for justice.’ The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace.”

(Catholic Social Teaching, Solidarity)

Share Peace,


Terrence Hanley


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