I am a lucky man! God’s plan for me had me either attending Catholic schools or working at Catholic schools. Since my parents enrolled me at St. Clare Catholic School as a 1st grader in 1961, I have attended or worked for 12 Catholic schools. Over those years who I am has been molded by positive interactions with the unique charisms of over a dozen religious orders. Wow! As I sit here and reflect back over those many years and experiences, I am appreciative for being formed and nurtured in wonderful God-environments while doing God’s work.
Though each place of school or work was unique, there are some common themes or attributes that linked them. Of all the commonalities, Family is the one that rings the loudest. Every Catholic school I attended or worked for stated emphatically that an important feature of the school experience was the statement that we are family. It was something that defined and united them as Saints, Lancers, Dolphins, Aces, Mounties, Pioneers, Mighty Macs, Jets, and now Crusaders. The family provided a sense of belonging, a code or badge of honor, and the obligation for involvement and engagement. It created a special bond that permeated everything and everyone. Personally, I loved being actively involved in a culture where love and support for each other, though “things” were never perfect, was the norm. What an amazing world to live and be formed up in.
As a Catholic school, Muskegon Catholic Central is no different. We talk a lot about the Crusader family and the bonds that are formed in a close-knit, supportive, yet challenging environment. To be honest, the statement that MCC is no different is far from the truth. I find that the Crusader family experience is unique in a variety of ways;
The family experience at MCC extends beyond the students to their parents, grandparents, other family members, alumni, and friends. Being a member of the Crusader family carries with it an expectation of unconditional love and support. The positive interaction between Crusader families allows for relationships that transcend friendship and becomes the extended Crusader family. It is an amazing experience - one that we must proactively cultivate for our new families. We want them invested in the Crusader culture.
The statement once a Crusader, always a Crusader is a truism. I asked the 7-12 Leaders last year to define for me what it meant to be a Crusader. They shared the following attributes and narrative. They showed me that they understand that we work with great diligence to create comprehensive learning experiences challenging them to grow and mature in spirit, mind, and body. I share it with you because of the important statement it makes about their preparation for a successful future as a Crusader.
- The Crusader is a student who exemplifies consistent and strong Character, through the Respect they show others despite the differences that may be present in the diverse student body. The Understanding fostered in the curriculum allows for a tolerance of all students that inevitably strengthens the essential value of Spirit, an element of the Crusader that is held in high esteem, as reflected in the spiritual teachings. Resultantly, positive Attitude flows through the halls as students greet each other, always determined to spread joy. That same Determination to spread kindness is used to achieve the Excellence that all students strive for. Most importantly, though, is the ability of students to Rejoice in the knowledge that everything they do helps to make them one of many Crusaders, prisms reflecting the Character, Respect, Understanding, Spirit, Attitude, Determination, Excellence, and Rejoiceful nature of Muskegon Catholic Central.
Our willingness to step out to help a Crusader family in need is unparalleled. Whether it's consoling a family who has experienced the loss of a loved one, providing meals, support, and/ or lifting up a family in need of prayers, the Crusader family surrounds the family in need with a shroud of love. These are God moments for sure and are a major part of the fabric that helps our students understand what it means to answer God’s call to holiness as a Crusader. There have been several notable occasions this year where the Crusader family showed how supportive it can be when called upon. Thank you! Your love is appreciated and valued.
May God continue to shower His blessings and grace upon the Crusader family! May we as “family” continue to find ways to love God with our whole hearts, souls and minds; and our neighbors as ourselves. Let us continue to open ourselves to each other in ways that are transforming and life-changing for both those we serve and ourselves.
God is good! All the time! All the time! God is good!
I am a lucky man! You challenge me to harness the Crusader spirit in ways that will help our students become the leaders of tomorrow for our Church, communities, and families. What an awesome job and responsibility! I accept the challenge and will work to meet your expectations with great diligence and intentionality.
May St. Pope John Paul II pray and intercede for all Crusaders! Now and Forever!
Ken R. Rasp, President
Muskegon Catholic Central
Posted on Sun, February 17, 2019
by Ken Rasp