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Everyone can make a difference for good in the world

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We have watched in horror as Ukrainian families have had their lives torn apart by war. The evening news has chronicled the destruction of schools, hospitals, and civilian infrastructures. In the midst of this humanitarian crisis, it’s easy to feel powerless, but individuals can make a difference.

This fall, Catholic Memorial reconnected with two proud Ukrainian families, whose sons had graduated in 1994 and 2013. The alumni families, who had previously never met, were inspired and shared a common goal—to open their hearts, homes, and networks to support displaced Ukrainian students.

With sons who served in our country’s military, both mothers understood the challenges that face the Ukrainian civilians and soldiers who fight for freedom. The compassion and strength of these two women is inspirational. Their selfless devotion, especially during this Advent season, is something I reflect upon often; hope and goodness do flourish in our world, and individual’s actions do matter.

The CM community aspires to live out our school motto, Vince Bono Malum, which was adapted from Romans 12:21, “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” I am grateful for those who have provided housing, clothing, food, and financial support to help those displaced by war, especially our new Ukrainian students.

These young men have done well transitioning into a new school, culture, and country. They are grateful for the opportunities to learn, laugh, play basketball, and to join the swim team. While they have found a home and family here within our school community, they still long for their home country, old friends, and family. We are proud to accompany and support them on this journey.

At this holy and blessed time of year, we are reminded of the journey of Mary and Joseph. The two refugees fled from the evil King Herod who murdered the children of Bethlehem. The young carpenter and his pregnant wife were forced to stay in a stable when there was no room in the inn, and strangers willingly aided and supported them.

As we celebrate the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus, it brings forth a time renewal, peace, and joy. It offers a moment for us to reflect upon our own lives and families. We can each make a difference and spread goodness in the world. The impact we can have, even on one life, matters.

Dr. Peter Folan is the president of Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury.

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