16 August 2003

Happy Feast of the Assumption, or Marymass, if you're a bit old fashioned. We like old fashioned, don't we?

I'm in a nostalgic mood. Not quite sure why. But I suddenly feel like talking about my alma mater, Trinity.

Trinity is a private Catholic school, 1st-12th grades. It started when I was in 6th grade, so that's when I started school there. When I began, there were 60 students. By the time I graduated, there were 142. There were ten in my graduating class, which is about average. The largest class has been 14, the smallest, 3. For about five years, we began every day with Mass, until we lost our chaplain. On days during that time when our chaplain couldn't make it, there were two priests who'd take turns coming all the way from San Francisco to say Mass for us (about an hour's drive, with no traffic). One of them was an Opus Dei priest, and the other was from Germany. Both had a habit of saying at least part of the Eucharistic Prayer in Latin. On one occasion, a visiting priest said a Tridentine Mass. The school administration apparently worked for several weeks to arrange this for the benefit of the students.

I took Latin for three years (now it's six if you're there that long) and two years of New Testament Greek. I remember little of either. I had to take foreign language, upper-lever math and science classes at the community college my junior and senior year to meet college entrance requirements, but it was an invaluable maturing experience. All high schoolers should do that before they leave for college. It forces you to be independant.

Our chaplain was my religion teacher for all of junior high and most of high school. Our textbooks in high school were the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church and an Ignatius Press Bible. Supplemental texts, such as photocopied excerpts from the Fathers and Doctors were also provided. My senior year we got a new teacher, Mr. John Galten, newly "released" from his duties at the St. Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco. He trotted off to Washington D.C. that fall to receive an Ex Corde Ecclesia Award from the Cardinal Newman Society for his work at the Institute. Last year, he and Fr. Joseph Fessio founded Campion College. Mr. Galten is now the president of Campion College in San Francisco. The vice president and I believe one of the professors both had daughters in my class.

In addition to our religion class, Mr. Galten also taught an optional senior seminar. We read Chesterton's Orthodoxy (the beginning of a love-affair for yours truly); Joseph Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture; some short stories by Flannery O'Connor, and quite a lot of the Theology of the Body. Discussing the Theology of the Body with six other 17 and 18-year olds was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. The class that most sticks in my memory was the day when Mr. Galten couldn't be there and told us to have class anyway. We talked even more freely than usual, and the class went overtime. We talked about modesty for an hour. Some of the gentlemen of the class did not realize that it is possible for a man to dress immodestly, that is, in a way that is intended to make him sexually attractive to women. We corrected their assumption. I was told that not all guys are attracted to women who wear skimpy clothing. Some really do go for girls who dress modestly. What a revelation. Actually, I already knew that. I just didn't know that about those particular boys.

Oh, and uniforms: girls weren't allowed to wear pants or shorts except for P.E. We wore knee-length skirts (yes, they checked) and the boys wore slacks. The high school boys were required to wear ties, but they could choose their own ties. One boy wore hideous bowties. The male teachers all wore ties and jackets or sweaters, and the females wore dresses.

Trinity had its problems. It was mismanaged, and there was/is never enough money. But it provides a classical Catholic education, with a lot of really good books and a few excellent teachers. I miss it a bit, but I was ready for college.

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