Celebrating superheroes

''Today in History" has been a standard newspaper feature for as long as I can remember. This section was especially interesting to me on my birthday. In retrospect, it was pretty much the exact same thing every year! If you are interested, I share a birthday with Kiki Dee, whose claim to fame is her duet with Elton John in "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."

In recent years, various newly established holidays and celebrations have been added to the content of "Today in History." For instance, there are over 20 recognized holidays on April 28, 2023, according to nationaltoday.com. National Hairball Awareness Day is set for the last Friday of April, so it is just a coincidence that we get to celebrate that today, so today is extra special.

One of the holidays that is set on April 28 is National Superhero Day. Since 1995, this day has been a time to recognize superheroes, real and imagined. For the Catholic Schools Foundation, we celebrated our own Superhero Day on April 27 at our 33rd Annual Gala.

During this celebration of Catholic education, we honored Peter Lynch for his heroic efforts over the last 33 years to provide life-changing access to high-quality Catholic education to those most in need. We also celebrated the tireless and critical efforts of the teachers, principals, and pastors who make the work of Catholic education possible. These women and men show up each day, inspired by the Gospel and called to serve students and families. As we celebrated all that Peter has done, it was with the recognition that Catholic education is not possible without these unsung superheroes.

What is the superpower of Peter Lynch and these teachers, principals and pastors? Love. Putting children first and giving of oneself in service of others is fueled by love. Some might argue this is a soft answer, but love has profound results. Certainly, there is no greater example of the power of love than the willingness of Christ to enter into his Passion. Without this act of love, there would be no Resurrection. Love is real, and love changes lives.

At the Dinner Celebration, a student spoke of his experiences growing up with his mother and father dying tragically when he was just 10 years old and the love and commitment of two of his sisters who raised him. They made it a priority to get him into a Catholic school because they knew he would be known, loved, and supported. As he said, "Through the grace of God, my two older sisters saved me, protected me, loved me, and convinced me that my life could and would be better in the days ahead."

The interesting thing about heroes is that they generally do not work alone. This is especially true in Catholic education. Teachers, pastors, and principals, along with donors and advocates like Peter Lynch come together to provide the life-changing opportunity of a Catholic education to students.

The sisters of the student who spoke at the Dinner were able to access a Catholic education for their brother because of the love and commitment of school leaders, an incredibly strong and giving school community, and thanks to the financial support of the Catholic Schools Foundation.

So, as we celebrate National Superhero Day, let us remember that heroism is driven by love with no greater example of this love than the sacrifice of Jesus. In this Easter Season, let us continue to look for the heroes among us and, more importantly, to think about how we can be heroes to others.

- Michael B. Reardon is executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation, www.CSFBoston.org.