By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Belize City
Praise God!!! Success!!! Last year 49% of our students at St. Martin’s passed the Public School Examination. This year, St. Martin’s Grade School has hit a milestone. This year on our Public School Examination, 56% of our students passed. Our goal was to break that 50% ceiling which has been dogging us for years. This may seem small potatoes to many, but it’s big potatoes to us. It signals not only a halt to the dismal sub-50s but a 7% turnaround that augurs well for the future. I believe the following years will find more and more students passing as our programs continue to take even firmer hold.
My friend, fellow pastor, and brother Jesuit, Willie John Snyders has turned 86 years old. He is still terribly active as he pastors the church on Caye San Pedro and spends a great deal of time with his Prison Ministry. We celebrated his 86 years with dinner and cake on the verandah at St. John’s College Jesuit Residence. Willie John Snyders, S.J. is one of the hardest working, charitable men I have known in my entire life. He is most always smiling while devoid of guile. And he has a GREAT sense of humor because he laughs at ALL my jokes.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” So declares John the Baptist of Jesus and himself in the Gospel of John. On June 24th we Catholics celebrate the Nativity of John the Baptist due to that dates’s proximity to the summer solstice, June 21st. For the next six months daylight decreases symbolizing the ‘decrease’ of John the Baptist and ourselves. Exactly six months later, on December 24th (Christmas Season begins at the Vigil Masses of Christmas Eve), daylight increases once again, symbolizing Jesus’s ‘increase’ in the world and in our lives. (There is an old Catholic grade school song about this: “The Mass is ended / all go in peace / we must diminish and Christ increase.”) All of our liturgical seasons, Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas, are all strictly arranged by the sun. And really doesn’t that give you a just little pagan titillation?