Buffalo, NY – Mr. Robert Scott, AFSC, received the Bishop’s Medal, a Diocesan Award for his service to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Buffalo, during the 17th annual GALA 22:6 Catholic Education Dinner. Honored for his longstanding leadership at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute and for the wisdom he has shared in his work on the Catholic Schools Advisory Council, Mr Scott is credited with effecting “countless young people throughout Western New York who have benefited from his time-tested commitment to bettering their personal and educational lives.”
Proceeds from GALA 22:6, which refers to the passage from Proverbs – “Train up children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it,” – are used to fund needs-based tuition assistance for students attending Catholic elementary schools throughout the 8 counties of Western New York.
Remarks for Mr. Robert Scott, AFSC, upon receiving the Bishop’s Medal
My sincere thanks to the Most Reverend Richard J. Malone for this honor and for your continued support of Catholic education in the Diocese of Buffalo. Thank you, also, to Chair Laura Zaepfel and to everyone who has worked so hard and given so generously to make tonight a wonderful success.
We are together this evening to ensure that children from across Western New York have the opportunity to attend Catholic Schools. This a profound responsibility, but the shared mission we advance tonight is more than that. Catholic educators truly are are holders of the flame – we are keepers of the faith! Working with parents, our Catholic schools plant the seed in the next generation and nurture communities of the faithful. With our commitment to Catholic schools, we proclaim the Gospel and we preserve our Church.
Personally, I would like to speak but for a moment about the tradition I am associated with… It began, at the request of another Bishop of Buffalo, when St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute was founded by six Brothers of the Christian Schools – men who followed in the footsteps of St. John Baptist de La Salle, our Founder and the Patron Saint of all teachers. In Association with the Christian Brothers, we Lasallians continue that journey today, seeking to transform the lives of our students in preparation for this world and the next –here and the hereafter.
From my days as a young religion teacher to my current role as a veteran administrator, I have relied on the lessons and personal example of our Founder, who teaches us to see the face of God in our students. They are not only His children; they are the real presence of Jesus . . . right in our classrooms.
At St. Joe’s and in Lasallian schools in more than 80 countries around the world, we begin every day and every single class with a prayer: “Let us remember that we are in the Holy Presence of God.” This is not abstract: our Loving God is there in the attentive student who raises his or her hand at every question, and the little boy or girl who just can’t stay focused; the polite young man and the boy who talks back; the class president and the quiet child who comes to school hungry.
Over the years, I really have learned that the spark of divinity is in each student. Our responsibility is to recognize it, and do our absolute best to reflect the presence of Jesus back to our children. As Catholic teachers, this is our highest aspiration: we hope that – in some small way – our students will come to see the light and love of God through our example.
And so at St. Joe’s, we welcome every young man, encourage him to discover who he is, and – perhaps most importantly – become comfortable with himself. We teach him to pray, to think, to respect other people, and to serve. The results in this world are remarkable: boys from every background and neighborhood form a lifelong brotherhood and grow into gentlemen of integrity.
But, to be honest, my ultimate focus is always on the next – on the faith that through the ministry of Catholic education, we have brought our students closer to God.
Thank you all for sharing that faith and this sacred work.
St. John Baptist de La Salle . . . Pray for Us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts . . . Forever