September 2, 2017
Dear St. Augustine Catholic School Families,
I truly desire that this letter finds you safe and with your family members at this time. The past week has been such an incredibly difficult time for our community and for other cities on our coastline. Whether you were evacuated, sheltered in place or helped loved ones in need, all of us were greatly affected by this disaster. Our God will see us through this and I am proud of the stories I have been told of our school families helping one another in this time of need. It is during these times that we call our mission to life, “ to see the heart of Christ in ourselves and in others.”
Friday, was the first time I was able to visit our school. As I entered the building, I was amazed to notice that it all looked the same with its warmth and welcoming atmosphere you always find when you enter our school. We were incredibly blessed not to have sustained any damage, unlike many of our sister schools and parishes. As far as the school, we plan on resuming classes on Tuesday, September 5th. We will recognize regular hours that day and attempt to keep things as normal as possible for our students. Getting back to a routine for children can often be the best approach to a crisis. With that, we will also allow time for reflection and prayer if needed. I’m aware that some of our families are staying with others at this time or have extra guests in need. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of help. We are one family and the generosity of this community is overwhelming.
We know that their are families that are displaced from their home at this time and your child may not have their school uniform with them. For this reason, I would like to suggest that for the month of September we come back to school in free dress with the exception of Mass days. Please be sure to follow the free dress rule. If you are in need of a Mass uniform, please see our school office. We have many donations of Mass uniforms that we will be happy to donate to those who do not have a uniform. We will resume wearing our school uniforms on October 1st.
In keeping with our theme this year of being “called”, God is definitely calling us to “serve and love” one another. Circumstances like these are the perfect time to fulfill our true mission as a pastoral instrument of the Church. The school can also provide materials or resources for you as a family if your child or a family member is struggling emotionally with the events of this past week. If you are in need of assistance at this time, please make us aware. Together, we will ensure that the needs of our families, the community and others will be addressed in an organized and efficient manner. We already have so many people wanting to help our school community. I have also had others ask me how they can help. I ask you to please contact our school office so that we can direct you. I guarantee that there will be a multitude of opportunities to support others affected by the storm in the coming weeks from physical labor and volunteer work, to supplying gift cards and necessities for those that are displaced. We will keep you informed as to ongoing relief efforts and what the archdiocese is asking of us as well.
Lastly, I was amazed at the beautiful bonding that I saw taking place throughout the storm. The prayer chains, group texts, and social media posts were so reassuring and an uplifting reminder of the caring human spirit. I know you may have heard me say many times that we are blessed, but it is so true. We hope that you received our communications and alerts during the storm. We tried to do our best to connect families. Please give your child a hug from us and tell him/her that we will see them on Tuesday. Thank you all for being such an important part of our SACS family and for staying strong.
“It is the LORD who goes before you; He will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
In His Spirit,
Denise P. Rios, Ph.Dc