*The following blog post is a transcription of Head of School James Melone’s speech on May 13th, 2021 as Saint Patrick Academy in Portsmouth NH celebrated its 3-year anniversary.
May 13th, 2021 marked a number of events—the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, and our School’s anniversary to our May Crowning. At Saint Patrick Academy, we are blessed for so many reasons. We have a beautiful campus, incredible students, talented teachers, and supportive families. Most importantly, however, we have a mission centered on the Catholic faith and a love for the true, the beautiful, the divine—that is, of course, Jesus Christ. His love, his passion, and his teachings guide us each day in our words and our actions.
With the May Crowning, we celebrate Mary, not only the mother of Jesus, but a mother to us all.
The crowning of Mary honors and celebrates our devotion to Mary, our Mother. This statue out front, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, serves as both daily reminder and inspiration to all of our students as we pass by each day on our way into the school.
Cardinal Newman, a well known theologian, teacher, and educationalist wrote this:
“God spoke to the Prophets: we have His communications to them in Scripture. But He spoke to them in figure and parable. There was one, Moses, to whom He vouchsafed to speak face to face… This was the great privilege of the inspired Lawgiver of the Jews; but how much was it below that of Mary! Moses had the privilege only now and then, from time to time; but Mary for thirty continuous years saw and heard Him, being all through that time face to face with Him, and being able to ask Him any question which she wished explained, and knowing that the answers she received were from the Eternal God, who neither deceives nor can be deceived.”
Such a wonderful thing to have the ability to ask Him any question you may have in your heart… which is why the chapel is placed at the literal and figurative heart of the School.
The May Crowning is a wonderful tradition within the Catholic Church that provides each individual with a way to physically demonstrate one’s devotion through the laying of a flower.
Our May Crowning is also significant because we hold it on the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. On May 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to 3 shepherd children in a small village of Fatima, Portugal.
Pope John Paul II affirmed the universality of the Fatima message in 1991 when he said, “Mary’s message at Fatima can be synthesized in these clear, initial words of Christ: ‘The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel’ (Mk 1:15).”
That belief in the Gospel was evident a few short years ago, when this School was born.
On May 13, 2017, Saint Patrick Academy held its groundbreaking ceremony right here at this site.
On May 13, 2018, Saint Patrick Academy held its grand opening.
And on, May 13, 2021, we celebrated our School’s anniversary, by expressing our gratitude for those who made this possible and looking forward to a bright future for our School.
Fr. Fortin was the superintendent of Catholic Schools and vital to the early conceptual stage of this School… long before we even had a place to put the new school!
It is well documented that Fr. Fortin was a great resource and a true ally to Saint Patrick Academy. His work shows the collaboration of lay and clergy, including the bishop and Fr. Gary. On this special day, I think it is very appropriate for us to show Fr. Fortin our gratitude and appreciation for his work as the educational leader of the Diocese when SPA came into being.
The story of SPA is a story of faith, community, and hope in Jesus with the intercession on Mary. It is an example of God’s Grace multiplying our efforts in extraordinary manner!
Faith and good works together. Wrapping efforts in prayer… ultimately… has led us to this point.
I often implore students to work to become the best versions of yourself. The best version of yourself is found in the journey of becoming the person God intended us to be … it requires prayer, dedication, and faith.
Let us remember that children are called in special ways… our chapel, our campus, the statue, your lessons in class are all intentionally aligned to provide an environment that encourages fidelity, faith, trust, prayer, and good works.
Prayer to Our Lady of FatimaO Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary. By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom; pray for us. Saint Patrick, pray for us.