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A Fire Undimmed

Posted: 4/5/2016

A Fire Undimmed

The following speech was delivered by Erika Ahern at the 2016 Fabulous Fathers talent show in Weston, CT.


Thank you, Dr. Guarendi. Thank you, Mrs. Frawley and Mrs. D’Anselmi, the staff of Regina Caeli and most of all our guests this evening. Thank you for coming.

Friends, we are living in times that are troubled and troubling. In the past year, we’ve seen the rise of movements among young people in our country--at colleges, at campaign rallies, in the wake of terrorist attacks. These movements are anti-life, anti-marriage, and anti-religious freedom. They can make us feel like darkness is closing in. If you’ve ever wondered: how did our country get to this point? Where are the leaders who will guide, protect, and grant us freedom? When will the Faith once again have a voice in our culture? More importantly, if you ask yourself, “What can I do?” -- then I hope that tonight you find an answer.

Our Lord said: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

My friends, one week ago tonight we witnessed the lighting of the Easter candle just prior to the Exultet. We held our own small candles, lit from that one candle’s fire as the priest sang,

“But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honor,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light...”

In the darkness of our culture today, we stand here as candles--flames for the glory of God. Regina Caeli academies throughout our country are gatherings of that flame. Regina Caeli families seek above all to keep the flame of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness alive in the darkness.

I’d like to invite the staff and families of RCA Fairfield to stand so you can see…  These men and women are your answer to the question “What can I do?” They have held up their light in the darkness and made the courageous decision to educate their family, not only in their homes, but also in community--the community of Regina Caeli Academy. They labor in a hidden way for many hours so that their children, and their friends’ children, and the children in the years to come receive what our culture and our country can no longer provide.

11 years ago this summer, I met with Mrs. Kari Beckman in a little, windowless Boy Scout bunker  in Atlanta, GA, to interview to tutor part-time in a homeschool hybrid academy. I had never heard of such a thing… but I had heard of St. John Paul II’s call for a “new evangelization” and a renewal of the family. I knew that I, as a first-time mother of a 6-week old child, needed the example of like-minded women committed to bringing up their children in the faith.

As my time with RCA progressed, the vision of this program and its participants convinced me that yes! This was a wonderful option for parents seeking to raise the next generation of priests, religious, and faithful laity in the Church. This is not a “circle the wagons’ endeavor, and it is not for families who wish to hide their lamps under a bushel basket! The men and women you see here possess an evangelical spirit and the conviction that classical education, a Latin-based education, and a community dedicated to virtue, true friendship, and uncommon standards are gifts to be shared.

Regina Caeli exists to be a light in the darkness: a source of light for families seeking community and support as we raise our children to bring the Easter fire to the whole world. We exist to renew the family and form the next generation of Catholics.

Inspired by the greatest thinkers of the Western tradition and the Catholic Church, we provide intellectual training to form souls so that our students may become life-long learners who in turn evangelize our culture.  At this critical point in our growth, we invite you to join us in transforming education.

Together with your support, we are very excited to announce that in last four years we have grown from one center in Metro Atlanta to nine campuses across the country including Houston, Katy, TX, Dallas, Austin, Albany, NY, Fairfield Co., CT, Detroit, MI, and San Antonio, TX.  We are working with several other cities hoping to open in the next year.

Classical education for Christ, “Training the Mind to Form the Soul,” is clearly needed and wanted in our world today. Your gifts, your prayers, your presence here today is a light in the darkness. Please be generous so that our prayer may be fulfilled, the prayer of the Exultet:

“Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honor of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.”

On behalf of all of our nearly 1,000 students, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT! Tonight’s proceeds will benefit many souls both now and in the future!

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