Starting Acton U. with a surprise and smiles

The adventure that is Acton University began today.  As a staff, today is a great day: everything we've been working towards for weeks comes to fruition, and all the names, faces and places come together.  It's a joy to meet so many people with open hearts and open minds, and a willingness to share with others.

Our dinner was superb, the company was great:  my dinner companions were all Catholic school teachers and administrators, whose heart for education was apparent.  After dinner, we enjoyed the remarks of Fr. Robert Sirico, who reminded us that without the foundational belief of the dignity of each human person, all human institutions will be flawed.  As illustration, he reminded us of the Dutch resistance of WWII, and the work of ordinary men and women to save their Jewish neighbors.   He referred to "Reckoning", a documentary of this resistance, and specifically the story of Diet and Heinz, a young couple who worked to save their fellow countrymen.  We watched a short clip of the film, with Diet remembering the work she was immersed in (Heinz did not survive the war). 

Fr. Sirico, after the clip was shown, reminded us that Diet's singular courage was a clear illustration of what he wanted us to know.  He said,  "I'd speak more about Diet, but I'd rather you hear from her yourself", and then Diet, now 91, took the stage with Fr. Sirico.  It was a pure Acton moment. 

When answering questions from the 600+ audience, she said that her one hope was that we all remember that what God teaches us through Christ is what we base our lives on: that we are to treat others as we wish to be treated, and that all men are our neighbors.  A simple message, but delivered from a woman who truly lived it.

What will tomorrow at Acton bring?

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