The Koch Foundation has awarded a $7,000 grant to the Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools in support of two evangelization and outreach events: a Corpus Christi Procession scheduled for Sunday, June 22nd (all are welcome—more details coming soon!) and the 8th Grade Confirmation Rally in September. This is the second grant the Federation has received from the Koch Foundation. “We are thankful for this continued support of our parishes and schools working together as we seek ways to fulfill the mission of our schools to evangelize,” said Father Thomas Keller, pastor at St. Angela Merici and pastor representative for the Northeast Deanery Federation.
In 1979, the Koch Foundation was established by Carl and Paula Koch to fund evangelization activities of the Roman Catholic faith throughout the world. Their mission is built on the Koch's vision "to strengthen and propagate the Roman Catholic faith by providing grant support for a wide variety of evangelization efforts."
Each week of the Lenten journey at Sacred Heart School, teachers and students will be focusing on an aspect of how we can “Grow in our Faith.” To symbolize this spiritual growth each classroom was given a container with soil and seeds. As the seeds sprout, root, and grow in good soil so will the students grow into faithful followers of Jesus. Students will also focus on weekly themes, including:
- Learning to recognize opportunities to grow towards being faithful followers.
- Opening our eyes, ears, and hearts to the people around us. The students will work at trying to do whatever is asked of them.
- Serving God through the needs of others. Students will work towards treating one another with kindness and respect.
As they journey through Lent, St. Norbert students are collecting money for CRS Rice Bowls, by sacrificing a special treat or meal, and instead, donating the money to Catholic Relief Services, to help those in need around the world. In addition, St. Norbert School hosted a Mission Carnival on April 4, which also benefits the CRS Rice Bowl. Each student learned $10 equaled to two weeks of food for a family in need.
What better day to honor our dads for all they do for us than St. Joseph’s Day. On March 19 at Christ Light of the Nations School, Father Mike Henning spoke about his dad and what he learned about fatherhood from watching his own father as he grew up. The students all took carpenter pencils home to their fathers Wednesday night which were blessed by Father Mike at Mass. He challenged the students to share his homily with those dads who could not join us. Over 100 of our dads joined us for the morning. After Mass while the fathers had coffee and doughnuts in the cafeteria they were entertained by Mr. Budd’s rock band and a video which had been made for them of the students talking about their fathers and pictures of students with their fathers. The dads also visited the classrooms and either watched a class in session or participated in activities with their children. It was a wonderful way to celebrate and thank our fathers for all they do for us.
Students and staff of Our Lady of Guadalupe School welcomed members of the Express Scripts scientific community to the school's annual science fair. The scientists served as judges for the projects completed by fourth, sixth and eighth grade students.
The students were proud to share their work with the "experts" and to hear their feedback. First, second and third place prizes were awarded at each of the three grade levels. The highlight of the experience came on Feb. 25th when Dr. Doug an Dr. Jay returned to the school for a celebration with the future scientists!
Using both their writing and artistic skills, the Middle School Students at Sacred Heart School in Florissant created 402 Messages of Hope to be shared with the patients and their parents at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital. The students' efforts during Lent were joined to their Advent gift of 390 Messages of Hope. Promises of daily prayer were sent along with their messages to hopefully raise the hearts and spirits of those in need of God's blessings.
The St. Angela Merici National Junior Honor Society celebrated life by organizing a collection for Birthright of St. Louis. The students placed baskets in every homeroom for new or gently used baby clothes etc. At the all school Mass on Friday, Feb. 21, the NJHS brought up 14 big bags filled with clothes for Birthright.
St. Angela students are also preparing for "A Celebration of a Musical Journey" on Wednesday, Feb. 26th at 7pm. The students are practicing dancing, singing and playing an instrument.
What started as a casual conversation after mass between a parishioner and his pastor, has blossomed into a program that will enhance the spiritual and physical wellness of students throughout the Northeast Deanery. Dave Reddy, personal fitness trainer and health coach and parishioner at St. Ferdinand Parish in Florissant, created CatholicFIT, a fitness education and wellness program, after sharing his idea with Msgr. Jack Schuler. Father Jack introduced him to the Federation pastors and principals, and together they encouraged Reddy to develop his idea into a program that could be shared among all the schools. This month, CatholicFIT is being piloted with sixth grade students in the eight Federation schools. Funding for the program was provided through grants from the Incarnate Word Foundation and the Catholic Education Center.
Reddy sees a strong connection between faith and fitness, between spiritual and physical health, and notes that elementary school is an ideal time for kids to start noticing and reflecting on this connection. “Being CatholicFIT is not about being super holy and super fit—it is about offering universal, values-based programs for our children so when they struggle in either area throughout life, they look back upon this experience for guidance and support,” says Reddy.
Reddy met with P.E. teachers at Professional Learning Team meetings in January and February to share CatholicFIT concept and provided suggestions and materials for presenting during classes. Each week, P.E. teachers will incorporate lessons and handouts focused on a CatholicFIT principle, connecting the topic with Catholic Catechism and offering suggestions for how to “eat,” “move” and “act” with intention to honor that principle in daily life. For example, week one focused on water as a symbol for renewal and used at baptism. Participants are invited to “Eat with Intention” by setting goals to drink plenty of water and to “Move with Intention” by practicing smooth and fluid movement with stretching. The other principles to be introduced throughout the program include: family/community, food, sleep/rest/recovery, exercise, self-expression, education, working for justice, prayer/reflection, and relationship with Jesus Christ.
CatholicFIT is not only collaborative among the schools, but also encourages family involvement. Parents are invited to opt-in to a weekly e-mail series that covers the same topics their child learns about in class. Families are also encouraged to attend one or more of the five family fitness workshops that are scheduled around the deanery.
As a pilot program, participation and feedback will be tracked to make improvements to the CatholicFIT concept, which Reddy will also share at the Archdiocese Health & Safety Summit in June 2014.
Sacred Heart school hosted its 2014 Student Talent Show during Catholic Schools week, celebrating all the wonderful gifts and talents that God has blessed each student with. Here are a few pictures with highlights from the show: