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:
Recently, Christ Light of the Nations School was visited by Jennifer Brinker, reporter for the St. Louis review & Lisa Johnston, New Media Journalist. They were writing an article on Catholic Identity for this week’s issue of the St. Louis Review. They arrived in time to attend our morning prayer in the cafeteria, which was focused on St. Louis, the saint our city was named after. This week St. Louis celebrates its 250th anniversary. Each week the class planning prayer chooses a person who has made a difference. The 7th grade chose St. Louis, as a saint that made a difference.
While the reporters were here they also took part in our weekly birthday blessing for the students whose birthdays
Sixth grade families are invited to join any/all of the 5 scheduled CatholicFIT family workshops.
Wednesday, Feb. 19
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Gymnasium
150 N. Elizabeth, Ferguson, MO 63135
Thursday, Mar. 6
St. Angela Merici Gymnasium
3860 N. Hwy 67, Florissant, MO 63034
Thursday, Mar. 20
Our Lady of Guadalupe School
1115 South Florissant Road, Cool Valley, MO 63121
Wednesday, Apr. 2
St. Norbert Gymnasium
16475 New Halls Ferry Road, Florissant, MO 63031
Wednesday, Apr. 9
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Gymnasium
3500 St. Catherine Street, Florissant, MO 63033
As a service project during Catholic Schools Week, students at St. Norbert School collected personal hygiene products and stuffed them into pairs of socks to be distributed to clients of St. Patrick Center.
Students at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School spent time during Catholic Schools Week creating valentine cards, placemats and decorations to help brighten the hospital rooms of children who are fighting cancer. Junior high students personalized their cards and included their return address at school so the recipient can write back if they would like. Mrs. Hisler, a preschool aide at St. Rose, visited the Friends of Kids with Cancer office to deliver the students' creations. The organization delivered these to treatment centers so that kids there can decorate their hospital rooms and know that they have friends at St. Rose praying for them to get well soon! The school also held a penny drive during Catholic Schools Week and raised over $530 to benefit Friends of Kids with Cancer.
Our celebration of Catholic Schools Week is winding down, but we never have to stop sharing the good news about Catholic education and how it benefits our families and community!
Bishop Edward Rice celebrated Mass on Thursday, Jan. 30th at St. Ferdinand with hundreds of 8th grade students present. He reminded them what makes Catholic schools, as communities of knowledge, faith and service, different from other education options.
- Our schools instill not only practical knowledge, but also spiritual knowledge, helping each student develop their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and striving to imitate Him in their thoughts, words and actions.
- Catholic schools are communities of faith, where students learn that all the good things in their lives come from our loving God, and also that our sadness and suffering are part of the cross of Christ. Our faith tells us that each and every human life has purpose and meaning and is in the hands of God.
- Our Catholic teaching of service goes beyond simply helping others, with an understanding that when we encounter the poor and lonely, we encounter Christ himself.
As we move beyond our week-long celebration, why not reflect for a few minutes on what you value about Catholic education for your family? Whether you're a parent, teacher, principal, parishioner or member of the community, please take a minute and share your favorite memory, event, value, or comment about your Catholic school - past or present! We hope to use many of these in future newsletters and on the Federation web site.
P.E. Teachers from the 8 Federation schools are working with Health and Performance Coach Dave Reddy to prepare for the CatholicFIT pilot program for 6th grade students and families. The program will begin February 10 through April 9th and will focus on the connection between faith, health and fitness. During the nine weeks, 6th grade students will participate in CatholicFIT lesson plans during gym class and their families will be invited to subscribe to a parent newsletter and attend family fitness workshops.
"I created the CatholicFIT idea after a decade of witnessing the strong association between one’s personal journey of faith and that of fitness," says Reddy. "I believe that lifetime challenges in health, fitness and spirituality are not only related, but also strongly effected by one’s childhood experiences. I hope to develop education and youth coaching programs that will foster a stronger foundational knowledge of faith, family and fitness." Reddy is a health and performance coach and a member of St. Ferdinand Parish along with his wife, Tara, and their three children. Reddy also serves on the Heath & Safety Advisory Committee for the Archdiocese of St. Louis Catholic Education Center.
The 2nd graders at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta made their first Sacrament of Reconciliation on Tuesday, November 26th.