GLOBAL.From the editorDear Catholic Herald readers,

Jan. 14 was National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Given the condition of my desktops — the wooden one and the electronic version — this shouldn’t be a day but rather, a season. In the course of cleaning, I came across a number of things to share with you.

Thankful for great gift: As much of a post-holiday downer as January can be, it does give us opportunities to celebrate. Get Organized Month and National Polka Music Month are two of my favorites, but a reason to celebrate at this time annually is Catholic Schools Week.

The older I get, and the longer I am blessed to have the opportunity to work in Catholic communications, the more I realize what a gift my parents gave me more than five decades ago when they enrolled me in St. Matthias School in Milwaukee. That was the beginning of more than 18 years of Catholic school education.

Catholic schools then were considerably different from those still serving today. The biggest difference is the absence of men and women religious who personified faith formation by their words and actions.

Nonetheless, our Catholic schools are still staffed by men and women of faith who value that faith so much that they are committed to sharing it with the children placed in their care.

During Catholic Schools Week, I invite you to join me in thanking God for Catholic school teachers, past and present, whose sacrifices and dedication are immeasurable in what they have meant to building and fortifying the Catholic faith community.

We publish the “because”: The previous issue of our paper included five stories about Pope Francis. As I’ve shared with you, I’m a fan of our Holy Father — fan as in I read everything I can about him. I want to be inspired by what he says and does, and I want to see how his words and actions inspire others.

As much as the secular media may report on the pope, we should always be concerned whether or not they put Pope Francis’ words and actions into context. The pope’s Harley is being auctioned because the money will be used to provide relief to the poor. The pope hugged a man with neurofibromatosis because the Holy Father was exemplifying how Christians are to be compassionate. The pope celebrated his birthday by having breakfast with homeless people because that’s what Christ would have done. The “because” is what you’ll find in the Herald.

Crosswords and canines: Speaking of the Herald, we’ve received solicited and unsolicited response to two features. The solicited were regarding the crossword puzzle that has been appearing in each issue for the last several months. Nothing scientific about our research, but enough of you told us you liked it, so we’re going to continue publishing it.

The unsolicited response came following the return of one of our columnists — Gus. That, too, has been positive. Expect to see more of the literary canine and his catechesis on these pages.

Lent?!? Already?!?: Well, not until March 5, but here at the Herald, we’ve been talking about Lent since the end of the Christmas season. We’re compiling a list of 40 things you can do for Lent — either for the whole season or for a day. If you would like something to be considered for inclusion on our list, please email it no later than Wednesday, Feb. 19, to or .

Stay in touch: If you have a comment or question about the Catholic Herald, or an idea for a story, I welcome you to share it with me at . Include your name and I will take off my mittens, blow on my hands and type a reply to you.