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Archive for the ‘March’ Category

What makes a Catholic school any different from a public school?  For myself, all I know is working in a Catholic school so I do not have the experience to compare the two.  Over the years, I have had conversations with people who have had experiences in both systems and have told me that the biggest difference is the atmosphere you feel when you walk into a Catholic School.  Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel (114) says that the Church “must be a place of mercy, freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” The school, as an extension of the Church, so too must be this. Archbishop J. Michael Miller presented and identified Five Marks that make a school Catholic. They are as follows:

  1. Grounded in Christian Anthropology – Driven by a mission which views all men and women with an inherent dignity as sons and daughters of God.
  2. Imbued with a Catholic World View – A Catholic vision is evident in its physical space, liturgical celebrations and prayer life.
  3. Animated by a Faith Infused Curriculum – Faith is integrated within the learner outcomes and teaching strategies.
  4. Sustained by Gospel Witness – Hires and nurtures staff that are living witnesses to the Gospel and are intentional disciples of Jesus Christ.
  5. Shaped by a Spirituality of Communion – Recognizes that all stakeholders are responsible for the common good.

As we are approaching the Lenten season Mark 2 will be at the forefront of our activities.  We will gather for our weekly liturgical celebrations which will focus on the three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  While it is good to give up things during Lent it is also a time to Share our Bounty and be generous. As a result, we will be taking part in the 40 Acts School Challenge. It is a Lenten generosity challenge organized by the UK charity group Stewardship. There is a reflection every day and the students will also complete challenges to make a difference and be generous in the following categories: gratitude, care for the environment, giving, school community, kindness, new friends and doing the right thing.  Students will be given a challenge card summary where they will track which Acts they have done over the 40 days of Lent.

I would recommend this as an individual challenge as I myself have grown spiritually the past two years while completing the challenges and am excited for us to be doing it as a school community. As an individual, you receive an email every morning with a reflection and three different prompts as to how you could choose to act because 40 Acts believes that generosity is about the size of your heart not your wallet. If you are interested in learning more or signing up for the 40 Acts Challenge you can find them on the Web, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You may even want to sign up as a family as they have a 40Acts Family Wallchart and guide.  40 Acts. 40 Days. 40 Ways to Share your Bounty.  Join us in the challenge!

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A Lenten Wave of Kindness

To be beacons of light, love, and happiness during Lent we focus on the three pillars of Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. Our Lenten project this year will focus on almsgiving for Streets Alive Mission. We will be focusing on bringing in different food items throughout the course of Lent, such as, canned fruit, vegetables, or soup. The second pillar, fasting is a topic we discuss in class and practice in our canteen on Fridays. Kayla does not sell items containing meat on Fridays. Friday items range from egg or tuna salad to cheese pizza, and as always, smoothies are available.

We started our prayer journey by going to Mass at St. Martha’s Church on Ash Wednesday. We will gather weekly as a community to pray and reflect on our theme “Rooted in Christ”. Please come join us in prayer each week. Every morning, to start our day, we pray together as a community. We also pray together every morning as a staff and this year we are using the resource Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor.

Our Van Tighem Virtue focus for Lent is Kindness. The focus is to treat people with dignity and to respect all rights and property. We have made a Lenten calendar which contains acts of kindness that staff, students, and families can do each day. Jesus did not perform random acts of kindness but treated everyone with dignity and respect. As a result, we are trying to focus on intentional acts of kindness as opposed to random as we want to teach students that kindness is integral to how we should treat one another by following Jesus’ example. Research is showing that kindness has a positive effect on not only the giver, but also on the receiver. The Dalai Lama says that “when we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” We are hoping to start a wave of kindness through our Lenten calendar. Our wave will branch outside of our school community when staff will be performing acts of kindness around the city on our professional development day on Friday March 24. Join us in spreading happiness and love around our community.

pope-francis-kindness-1

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Lent: A Time of Gratitude

To be beacons of light during Lent we focus on the three pillars of Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. Our Lenten project this year will focus on almsgiving for Cancer Research. Our Me to We Club will be holding a fundraising activity and all the proceeds will go towards our Lenten project. The second pillar, fasting is a topic we discuss in class and practice in our canteen on Fridays. Kayla does not sell items containing meat on Fridays and comes up with “meatless” Friday specials. Friday items range from egg or tuna salad to cheese pizza, and as always, smoothies are available.
We started our prayer journey by going to Mass at St. Martha’s Church on Ash Wednesday. We will gather weekly as a community to pray and reflect on our theme “A Horizon of Hope”. Please come join us in celebrating each week as the schedule is on the calendar. Every morning we pray together as a community. As a staff, we also pray every morning with reflections of Gratitude The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer. Being thankful for our lives and the ways that God has blessed us, gives us a new perspective and fills us with joy. Practicing gratitude can also improve health and reduce stress. Even a simple smile and hello to start the day can make a difference in someone’s life. There are five weeks left of Lent and here are five ways you can focus on gratitude:
  • As you are eating supper together, go around and express what you are grateful for that day. We did this as a family last year during Lent and it is a practice that we still continue to this day. It is a great family activity.
  • Give your colleagues or classmates genuine compliments. Better yet, compliment a stranger!
  • Wait a few extra seconds and hold the door for the person behind you.
  • Get in touch with an old friend or a relative and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life.
  • Do something nice for the person behind you in line – buy a coffee, pay for the order, or strike up a conversation

Gratitud and gods blessings


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