On Thursday our maintenance man Dennis ran up to me. “Hey, Fr. Illo, someone pushed over your bike!” I ran with him to the front sidewalk, where I park my scooter. But someone had already picked it up for me! It was standing upright, although the left mirror was pushed in and the plastic frame bent out of shape. I display on this blog the picture Dennis had taken of it on the ground.
Thursday was a hard day. The previous afternoon I had to inform my school faculty and parents of the Archdiocese’s decision to suspend most of our classes next year due to low enrollment. Over the past year some families have been expressing acute unhappiness over my decision to implement an Integrated Classical Program, and to further to integrate the school as a ministry of the parish. Unhappiness spreads quickly in a school, and most of the families ended up not enrolling their children for next year. The first thing that happened the day after announcing the suspension of classes was my scooter getting knocked down. The next thing that happened was the arrival of news cameras. They spent the entire day interviewing the acutely unhappy parents. Some want to make sure most of San Francisco is unhappy with Fr. Illo and his vision of a traditional Catholic school.
A few weeks ago someone threw down our outdoor statue of Mary. Dennis, our ever-patient maintenance man, dutifully disposed of the shattered pieces. The vandal also threw a lovely potted plant onto the sidewalk, destroying plant and planter. We mourned the loss only two days, however, because on the morning of the third day a bright new statue of Our Lady had replaced it, along with a new plant. We don’t know who placed it there. Our benefactor remains anonymous, and I didn't even have to ask for a new statue.
Otherwise tolerant people seem unable to tolerate Christianity these days. They are smashing Catholic statues and toppling Catholic institutions. But other people, quietly and anonymously, are stepping up to rebuild them overnight.