Words matter -by Father Steve

The following is a featured blog by Father Steve, from the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Father Steve attended the Holy Trinity Assembly a couple weeks ago featuring Jer’s Vision. The picture above is the students from Holy Trinity who organized the assembly and the Jer’s Vision team. 
Words Matter-by Father Steve
This was the message that students at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Kanata heard recently in a student led assembly, which including an inspiring talk from Jer’s Vision, an anti-bullying organization.  The students heard from several of their own, witnessed the negative effects of texting hurtful messages, and watched a video on the impact that our words can have on others.  The message was clear:  we have to be careful of what we say and what we say does affect those around us.
As a Catholic priest, I have tried in my ministry in our schools to remind us all that the message of the gospel preached by Jesus was uncompromised and inclusive.  Jesus never said, “love your neighbour,” unless, of course, they are black; “feed the hungry,” unless they live in Africa, “shelter the homeless,” unless you don’t like the way they are dressed.  That was reinforced at the assembly as we were all reminded that we have a responsbility to each other, that how we treat each other is always important, and we have an impact on others by what we say and how we act toward them.
I remember attended the first graduation ceremony at Sacred Heart High School in Stittsville about ten years ago.  The Superintendent gave a speech, and you always expect the same kind of message; you know – make a difference, hope your time here mattered … but she said something that has always stuck with me.  She talked about one of her students who was affected by something someone said to them.  The student told her, “you know, you suspend someone who hits someone else.  Bruises heal.  Words can stay with you forever.”  That message came back to me at Holy Trinity a few days ago.  
Remember … words can stay with you forever.