Faculty Profile: Mr. Patrick John McCafferty
As we advance closer to the beginning of Advent, we also stroll metaphorically down the STA hallway toward Room 302. For in this Theology classroom has been borne many a valuable lesson as Mr. Patrick John McCafferty prepares Saints for college- and for life.
In 1995, Mr. McCafferty and his wife, Landya, moved back to New Hampshire and both found jobs in the Dover area- he as a teacher, she as a NH Public Defender. They celebrated the arrival of their two daughters, Maureen and Claire, and set about making a life in the quaint and charming town of Portsmouth.
Although not a big traveler by modern standards, Mr. McCafferty set foot in Ireland and Scotland long ago. His favorite place, however, is Wallis Sands (after 5pm in the summer). “The smell of the ocean, the feel of the sand underfoot, the cadence of the waves, and the limitlessness of it all both inspire and calm at the same time.”
Being drawn to a place of serenity and inspiration also permeates Mr. McCafferty’s faith life. “When I think about God, two images stand out. First, the father in the Prodigal Son parable – always willing to forgive and celebrate our turn toward love; and then the Crucifix – an image of who God really is: the complete and total gift.”
In his spare time, Mr. McCafferty enjoys reading and carpentry. He is not a coffee drinker and thinks that “the idea of paying $10 for a cup of designer coffee seems a modern form of collective insanity.”
Like all of us, Mr. McCafferty has a series of “favorite things” in life. Here are a few:
Favorite Pet: a border collie named Kelty “They are a working breed, and I identify with their need to have a job to do.”
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Kenealy “He would pelt you with an eraser on the side of the head from across the room if you nodded off… impressive precision… beautiful cloud of chalk dust.”
Favorite Television Character: Deputy Barney Fife (“He was never allowed to have bullets in his gun, as he would accidentally shoot it off at inopportune times, usually while holstered – so his one bullet was kept in Sheriff Andy’s shirt pocket. For emergencies.”
Favorite Memory of High School: A football score “Trinity High School (650 students) – 26, Nashua High School (4,000 students) – 2."
Favorite Thing about St. Thomas Aquinas High School: “The kids have always been my favorite thing- their desire to think deeply and their good humor.”
When asked about his greatest strength, Mr. McCafferty is quick to quip, “It’s definitely my sense of fashion. My students never know quite what to expect. Olive green or khaki pants? Navy or maroon school polo? It must be exhausting for them.”
Being a sharp dresser, he makes a stylish companion for Landya, who can be seen daily wearing her US District Judge black robe. “My wife is my best friend,” states Mr. McCafferty. “I’ve always been a fan of the musical Camelot. I once told her that I might make a decent Lancelot in performance. Because I am a few pounds heavier than when we first met, she suggested I play ‘Lunchalot’ instead. That still makes me laugh.”
On a more reflective note, Mr. McCafferty recognizes there are serious issues in the world that require attention. “There are many problems in the world,” he says, “but the most fundamental is always poverty and deprivation, wherever it exists. Pope Francis has reminded us of this first priority.”
And so, as the St. Thomas Aquinas High School community steps up and over the precipice of the liturgical calendar year, we enter into Advent reminded of our many blessings, one of whom is Mr. McCafferty. His wit, his loyalty, his steadfast commitment to students are enduring. “After more than 30 years of teaching kids about the Gospel, I know I’ve helped a few to think more deeply about their faith and the meaning of life. That is a very special part of teaching in and attending a Catholic school.”
“If I had to choose just one word that reflects what I feel is most important in life it would be the word – love. We were made for love.”
A timeless reminder of why Mr. McCafferty is such a special blessing to St. Thomas Aquinas High School.