The photo below shows the main hallway of Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel Catholic School in my hometown in Southern Illinois. The school is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. One whole wall of this hallway is dedicated to two things that best represent the history and future goals of the student body and administration. The photos on the wall give a record of every graduating class from the school for those 100 years — a total of almost 2000 students. And the flags represent the international flavor of the school and the church that birthed it. In the beginning, 1912, the pastor of Our Lady Of Mt Carmel cared for such a multi-national congregation that he had to preach and hear confessions in 8 different languages. That might not be unusual in some place like Chicago or New York, but at the time, our town was considered quite small, and even now numbers only about 12,000 people.
The current student body of OLMC, now numbering 328, still includes pupils from many foreign nations, and originally, the school began displaying flags from the nations whose students attended OLMC. But the interest in, and focus on, the multinational element in their midst led the students and administrators to the decision to display a flag from every nation in the world, so that the children would be constantly reminded of their part in the citizenship of the world as a whole.
So, to me, this photo represents what can take place in the life of a small church with a very big heart “through” the years of faithful commitment to education and community spirit.