Across the archdiocese, it's a celebration of Catholic Schools Week
The 119 elementary schools and 28 high schools in the 11-county Archdiocese of St. Louis will be celebrating Catholic Schools Week beginning Sunday, Jan. 29. The annual celebration includes a variety of academic programs, religious events, open houses and other special activities highlighting the many positive aspects of Catholic education, which has been a part of our archdiocese for almost 200 years.
Catholic Schools Week will continue through Sunday, Feb. 5. The theme of the week is Alive in Christ, and schools will highlight faith, academics and service. All-school and regional Masses are a principle part of the celebration.
On Thursday afternoon, Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will speak at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Manchester, presenting his pastoral plan for Catholic education. The archbishop will share his education priorities reached through the Alive in Christ Mission Advancement Initiative. For complete coverage, see the Feb. 3 issue of the St. Louis Review.
In conjunction with Catholic Schools Week, the annual Archdiocesan Student Art Exhibit will be held in six local shopping malls. Students' artwork will be on display Jan. 29-Feb. 4 at Chesterfield Mall, St. Louis Galleria, Plaza Frontenac, West County Center, South County Mall and St. Louis Mills. Chesterfield Mall and South County Mall will also host art exhibits Feb. 5-11.
Archbishop Carlson will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at Holy Spirit Church in Maryland Heights with the eighth-graders of the Region 2 schools in north St. Louis County. Prior to the Mass, the students will hear a talk from Rachel Baumgartner Lozano, a graduate of Our Lady of the Pillar School in Creve Coeur, whose cure from cancer has been attributed to the intercession of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade. Holy Spirit students will hold a mission carnival during Catholic Schools Week benefiting the Crohns and Colitis Foundation.
On Jan. 29, many parishes, including Sacred Heart in Valley Park, will kick off Catholic Schools Week with representatives of their schools on hand after Mass to lead tours of the school and answer questions. Sacred Heart students will also serve as greeters, ushers, servers and bring up the offertory gifts at all weekend Masses Jan. 28-29.
Catholic Schools Week is bringing a World's Fair to St. Michael the Archangel School in Shrewsbury. For four months the students in fifth through eighth grade have been working on an interdisciplinary project, researching a country of their own choice. Groups of students have contacted numerous countries and received replies from many, including the Vatican. St. Michael School will host two World's Fair events during Catholic Schools Week.
Trinity Catholic High School in north St. Louis County is combining Catholic Schools Week with the Super Bowl, as students get to "pick the winner" of the upcoming New York Giants-San Francisco 49ers battle by voting with nonperishable food items destined for local food pantries. Each homeroom with have a box for the 49ers and a box for the Giants, and students can pick one to deposit their food donations. At the end of the week, the results will be tallied and, the "winner" of Superbowl 46 will be proclaimed a couple of days early. Trinity's Titan Alumni Players (alums of Trinity, Rosary, Aquinas-Mercy and Mercy high schools) will give special performances of their upcoming production of "Godspell" to 600 students from nearby elementary schools and to the Trinity student body.
Students at the Academy at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in Florissant will be making a mural of "Christ is Alive" for the school during Catholic Schools Week.
At Sacred Heart School in Eureka, graduates of the school will speak at Jan. 29 parish Masses, sharing the impact the school had on their lives. The week will include a career day with guest speakers and an arts day.
Valle Catholic School, the parish school for Ste. Genevieve Parish in Ste. Genevieve, has a host of activities, starting with the kickoff Mass at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29 with school families especially invited. During the week, donations will be taken up to help a Valle family in need and food/personal items collected for the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Tornado-devastated Joplin, Mo., is the focus of several school service efforts. At Incarnate Word Academy in north county, the Student Council is sponsoring a Mission Week, with all the money raised going to Joplin. The Student Council also sponsored a pasta dinner and viewing party of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition show on Joplin. Ascension School in Chesterfield is focusing its Catholic Schools Week activities on helping St. Mary's School in Joplin, which was severely damaged, with fundraising activities and sending personal notes to the students at St. Mary's.
St. Paul School in Fenton is raising money for St. Patrick Center, the Catholic Charities agency that fights homelessness, through a door-decorating contest. Students are purchasing their own decorations for the classroom doors, and their purchase money will go to St. Patrick Center. The doors will be decorated in the theme of faith, academics and service. "There are no prizes and it is not a contest," said principal Pam Brown. "The students are well aware of where the money is going" and St. Patrick Center's efforts to help its homeless clients.
Students at St. Norbert School in Florissant will display posters highlighting their service projects during the week, as well as conduct a collection of school supplies for needy children. The Jan. 31 activities will include a focus on future careers and vocations, with students dressing as what they want to be when they grow up. Events during Catholic Schools Week will include Mass, a talent show and the eighth-grade volleyball tournament.
Catholic Schools Week will begin at St. Richard School in Creve Coeur with the confirmation candidate covenant Mass Jan. 29 and end with the Grandparents/Grandfriends Mass and breakfast Feb. 3. Families can join their children for lunch and visit the classrooms, and students will be playing "silly Olympic games" provided by the eighth grade Feb. 2.
It's "Stop, Drop and Pray" at St. Gabriel the Archangel School in south St. Louis, as throughout Catholic Schools Week an announcement will cover over the loudspeaker telling students to stop what they're doing and pray for a minute or two before resuming their lessons. Students will also write letters of encouragement to seminarians, saying the St. Gabriel students are praying for them.
Mary Queen of Peace School in Webster Groves will have a family lunch day Feb. 1 and a Class Act assembly presented by the third-graders on Feb. 2. Students will read essays about their Catholic education at all parish Masses Jan. 28-29, and classroom posters will be on display in the church.
At St. Joseph School in Cottleville, students will be making spiritual bouquets for seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. The school will have a "Homework Free for Haiti" competition, with the grade donating the most money each day for recovery efforts in Haiti having a homework-free night. A Souper-Bowl Challenge will be held, collecting cans of soup for Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service and St. Henry's Parish in Nashville, Tenn. And, a St. Joseph tradition, eighth-graders will take over teaching and administrative jobs at the school for a day, applying for positions, complete with resumes and application letters.
Student council members at St. Angela Merici School in Florissant will speak briefly on why Catholic education is important to them at all parish Masses Jan. 29. Catholic Schools Week will include appreciation days for students, parents, staff and faculty. A faculty-eighth grade volleyball game will be played Feb. 3.
Among activities at Christ Prince of Peace School in Manchester, students will write appreciation letters to some of the original members of the 40-year-old parish. An all-school assembly, Dancing Through the Decades, will be held Feb. 2, and an all-school Mass on Feb. 3.
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