Since early in July stores have been advertising “Back to School” sales – deals on everything needed and presumed to be needed for a person’s return to school. Children, youth, and young adults are preparing for the new academic year; some to new schools, college, or university, some returning to the same place of learning they left earlier this year. What is characteristic about all of these is that no one is returning to where they were academically, personally, and hopefully, spiritually this time last year. Each person will have grown in knowledge, understanding, and awareness of the world in which we live. And whether we are returning to school / academia or not, we have all grown and changed because we connect with the world and the people in our lives through our sharing in the life of Christ. As we begin this new academic year, as we begin this new pastoral year, we build on the good things we have learned and received, striving always to become better at being our truest selves. There is joyful anticipation as we look to what lies ahead. With Christ and his gospel, we set out to learn, to grow, to become all that we have been created to be.