On June 5, while my youngest child graduated from St. Finbar School, the planet Venus passed in front of the sun. It did this eight years ago as well, on June 8, the day my oldest graduated from St. Finbar. Prior to that, there had not been a transit of Venus since 1882.That two such rare celestial events should come on the days they did served to underscore the power of this transition for our family. After 17 years and four children, my wife and I are no longer Catholic School Parents. Yes, for 17 years we have driven aging vehicles while we plunked down, each month, the equivalent of one, sometimes two, car payments. We did this so that our children could receive a Catholic Education. “An Advantage For Life,” the slogan says.Was it worth it?Let me begin by saying we did not choose Catholic schooling because of academics. Yes, the academics are strong, but we live in a neighborhood with excellent public schools. Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 Teacher of the Year, hails from our district. Good academics were available to us, free of charge, in the public school system.Yet if our children had not attended Catholic school, they would have missed so much: the Morning Offering at outdoor assemblies each day; prayers over the intercom at lunch and at day’s end; walking over to church one morning a week in “Mass attire”; prayers in the huddle before football and volleyball games; the Guardian Angel program, which paired first and second grade students with mentors in seventh and eighth; the Saint Pageant, with all the second graders in costume and usually a St. Lucy with ping-pong eyeballs on a plate.They would have missed Jesse trees, with their Advent ornaments; the Christmas program, with dear Mrs. Lease coaxing a carol out of each class, and the eighth graders processing in as angels and shepherds; Lent, with its Holy Childhood rice bowls, and the recorders playing the Stabat Mater during Stations of the Cross; and finally the May Crowning, with rose petals and hundreds of flowers beneath a bright, blue sky.It was more, though, than these treasured memories. It was the reality of Faith, the reality of Christ, not just at home or at Sunday Mass but permeating the whole day. Not just something the family does, but something the world does, or ought to, on earth as it is in heaven.Was it perfect? Of course not. There were bullies at times. There were teachers who did not always make the best decisions. Yet I daresay that would be true in any school, in any family, in any job or walk of life. To see these imperfections, in the context of Church, and to forgive and work past them — this is Christ in action.Yes, I believe it was worth it. I look at the young people my children have become, still works in progress (as am I), but with a firm foundation on which to build. To borrow from the parable of the sower, they are planted in good ground, well furrowed, dug down and watered, with roots grown deep and green leaves spreading to the sun.We brought binoculars to the graduation, and after Mass we threw an image of the sun onto a paper plate. We saw it, in the midst of the sun, a sharp, dark circle half the size of a pea. The shadow of another world.Like the planets, we have our own transits, when old eras end and new ones begin. One cannot remain a school-aged child forever, any more than one can remain the parent of school-aged children. But unlike the planetary orbits, our lives are not clockwork. Astronomers already know when Venus will cross the sun again (Dec. 10, 2117, at 23:58 UTC), whereas I do not know even what the next year will hold in store for our family.But God knows. The God who made the stars and planets, who set them on their courses, guides our lives as well. May he bless them, all who go through our Catholic schools. May they, like Jesus of Nazareth, continue to grow in wisdom, age, and grace. May Jesus, the ultimate Teacher, be their Advantage, in this life and in the world to come.David La France is a parishioner at St. Finbar Church in Burbank, where he also teaches confirmation.