This is an excerpt of an article written by Opinions Editor, News Editor, and Podcast Editor, Claire Moore '22. You can find the full version here from King Street Chronicle.
As part of the Education to Mission Speaker Series, Father Matt Malone, S.J., President and Editor-in-Chief of America Magazine, virtually addressed students and parents about the intersection of contemporary issues and Catholicism March 9. In his remarks, Fr. Malone offered spiritual guidance on how to utilize faith as solace during times of uncertainty and turmoil.
The panelists of the event included Mr. Thomas Lehrman P ’22, ’32, Member of the Board of Trustees, Ms. Marion Glennon ’54, Ms. Emily Kuchta, Fourth Grade Teacher, and junior Claire Moore, all of whom posed questions to Fr. Malone. Ms. Jessica Johnson ’15 of 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo, New York moderated the discussion. The evening commenced with an inaugural speech by Mrs. Christine Di Capua P ’23, Education to Mission Chair and Trustee, who discussed the importance of sustaining community values despite physical separation.
“In no small way, community life at Sacred Heart has been greatly affected by the turmoil of this year, not the least of which has been the pandemic,” Mrs. Di Capua said. “All of us have had to adjust the way we engage in relationships with one another. We long for the chance to be physically together. We long for the chance to hug and embrace. Yet tonight, despite the challenges we have faced, we still gather as one community, in many ways, exactly as our founding mothers would have envisioned, eager to embrace the future with joy and optimism, and committed to seeking opportunities for spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth, as the pathway for transformation, of ourselves and others.”
In his Lenten reflection, Fr. Malone connected the world’s current social, political, and cultural unrest to the season of Lent within the Catholic Church, particularly focusing on unprecedented hardships related to COVID-19. He discussed collective sentiments of loneliness, fear, and despair experienced on a global level as preparation for the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Lent only exists in relation to Easter as it represents the difficult journey we progress through as a lead up to the Resurrection of Jesus,” Fr. Malone said. “We are incapable as human beings to contain the infinite joy and hope that comes to us from the Good News of the Resurrection. While Lent can feel like deprivation, its intrinsic relationship to the rising of the Lord on Easter Sunday makes it very different from the previous suffering. The long days of Lent are a preparation for the new life that Easter brings.”
Father Malone imparted a message of Lenten hope during his remarks. Claire Moore ’22
“In this time of tumultuous politics in our culture, we are called to carry the joy of the Resurrection to others,” Fr. Malone said. “In order for faith to be livable for us and creditable to others, it is fundamentally important that it comes from the heart of Mary Magdalene who first announced the resurrection of the Lord and whose joy lays at the center of our identity as a truly risen people. The journey of Lent is the journey of Mary Magdalene to deliver the Good News.”
Along with his Lenten commentary, Fr. Malone covered current events while speaking on the role of faith in political leadership, particularly following President Joseph R. Biden’s reinstatement of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He acknowledged the intrinsic relationship between politics and religion.
Utilizing his extensive credentials, Fr. Malone provided insight into additional questions such as the role of women in the Church, inspiring faith in children, and navigating difficult conversations with peers about religious beliefs. The evening closed with words from Mrs. Meg Frazier, Head of School, who thanked Fr. Malone for his visit and commented on the influence of historical women in the Church.
“As a faith-based community of young women, it’s so important to share in this story of Mary Magdalene and remember that we are connected to the legacy of Madeleine Sophie Barat’s life and to the same traditions as well as a similar history,” Mrs. Frazier said. “In our DNA as Sacred Heart women, we celebrate being people of strong faith.”