Today we honor St. Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul on their first missionary journey. We first hear of Barnabas when the Apostles in Jerusalem got word that there were Gentiles up in Antioch who wanted o become Christians without firs becoming Jewish. The Apostles realized the situation called for a man with tact, and that had them choosing Barnabas.
Barnabas was just his nickname. His real name was Joseph. Breaking down the name to Bar and Nabas, it means Son of Encouragement.
For twenty-five years, as the head of the Catholic schools in our diocese, we had a lady named Pat Tierney. None of our teachers wanted to see her go. When I asked a number of them what made her so good for them that said she was so encouraging.
In their classrooms, the teachers are outnumbered twenty-five to one. What they needed from Pat, and what they got from Pat, was the encouragement they badly needed to keep going against the odds.