I’m watching kids go back to school these early days of September and ask myself: are you going to school too? I’m looking at the church calendar for September. It’s a school of another kind, isn’t it? It calls for celebrating feasts and listening to saints. They’re good teachers, not afraid to offer their lessons year after year.
The saints in our calendar are wonderful people, good teachers. Here’s St. John Chrysostom, September 13th, complaining about people of his time who don’t know much about the church’s calendar at all: “Many people today just about know the names of the feasts we celebrate in church. They know hardly anything about where we come from and what it means… What a shame.” We’re forgetful listeners.
September has a parade of interesting saints, like Gregory the Great, September 3rd, the pope who lived when the Roman world was falling apart, but he didn’t fall apart. He believed in doing something and he wasn’t afraid to think big. He sent missionaries out to faraway England and northern Europe.
In a world falling apart, he tells us don’t give up, be courageous. There are still things to be done.
St. Peter Claver, September 9th, worked among the black slaves in Colombia, South America. He reminds us not to forget there’s still slavery in our world. Don’t forget it: let’s try to get rid of it.
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, September 16, early Christian martyrs, remind us that people died for the faith we believe in. It’s that important.
September 26th , St. Vincent De Paul was inspired by God to take care of the poor in France. He started a whole movement in the church of people who looked after the poor.
St. Matthew, the tax collector, September 28th. Jesus called him to be one of his apostles. Others looked down on him. But God didn’t look down on him, nor does he look down on us.
St. Jerome. September 30th was a saint who loved the bible and constantly studied it. That’s something we should do too. Some of our calendars give us a list of the scriptures we’re reading in church. So why not read them with the church day by day. That would be a wonderful way to keep learning.
September 14th we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It’s like Holy Week in September. We need to be lifted up by the mysteries of Jesus continually. He died and he rose again. We die and rise again with him.
September 15 we remember the sorrows of the Mary. Every month we have at least one feast of Mary, this month, September, we have two. We remember her birth on September 8. She’s our companion as we follow her son. She can help us understand him and do whatever he tells us.
On September 1st this year, Pope Francis called again to remember creation and care for the creation we’re standing on. Francis wants us all to join together and lift up this world we’ve endangered by our abuse.
September is a school.