Weekly Letter (Jan 7, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

Happy New Year!

As we begin this new year many of us engage in the ancient practice of making New Year’s resolutions. According to History.com, the ancient Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions about 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to celebrate the new year, although for them the year began in Spring when crops were planted. During their massive celebrations, they made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects that they had borrowed from their neighbors, what we might call the first New Year’s resolutions. If the Babylonians kept their resolutions, then their pagan gods would favor them for the coming year. If not, then they would fall out of the gods’ favor.

The ancient Romans, under the rule of Julius Caesar, established January 1 as the beginning of the year. For the early Christians who lived during that era, the first day of the new year became an occasion for thinking about past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future.

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today are mostly a secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people make resolutions to themselves and focus mainly on self improvement, such as getting  organized, traveling more, spending less time with a screen, or losing some weight. However, making a new, healthy habit is only half of the battle. Going to the gym five days a week is a great habit to start but it can be difficult to sustain unless we also let go of some of the bad habits from the past, such as being overly indulgent.

Perhaps this year, we should think more along the lines of the ancients and make our New Year’s resolutions more faith based. For example, we can become more involved with our parish by singing with the choir, joining a bible study group, or volunteering to lector at mass.

As Catholics, we should always be striving to strengthen our relationship with Christ. One of the best New Year’s resolutions we can pledge is to strengthen our bond with Him.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher

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