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St. Patrick School Celebrates National Student Leadership Week

April 16, 2021

For the first time, St. Patrick High School will participate in National Student Leadership Week. NSLW is an annual theme-based week dedicated to recognizing and supporting the vital role of student leaders. Since its origin stemming from a U.S. Presidential proclamation in 1972, NSLW has been a national celebration of students sponsored by National Honor […]

For the first time, St. Patrick High School will participate in National Student Leadership Week. NSLW is an annual theme-based week dedicated to recognizing and supporting the vital role of student leaders. Since its origin stemming from a U.S. Presidential proclamation in 1972, NSLW has been a national celebration of students sponsored by National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, and National Student Council.

 

This year, like no other, we have relied on our student leaders. Since August, our staff has committed to having as normal of a school year as possible for the health and well-being of our students. This year, suggestions from our students have made it possible for us to accomplish this.

 

Each day of the week of April 18, St. Patrick School will recognize the contributions our student leaders make in our school community.  Each day this week will feature a different group of student leaders.

 

On Monday, we will recognize our freshman class officers, led by president Izzy Kissane, vice-president Rylee Scheurer, secretary Hannah Weller, and treasurer Tori Sandborn who all do an awesome job leading the class of 2024.

 

On Tuesday, we will recognize our sophomore class officers who are ably led by president Will Chislea, vice-president Samantha Smith, secretary Natalee Teachworth, and treasurer Hayley Fleischer.

 

On Wednesday, we will recognize the class of 2022 who looks to president Carly Scheurer, vice-president Jamelyn Forist, secretary Sarah Davlin, and treasurer Isabella Myers for leadership.  Thank you to the Junior officers for all you do to make the junior class and our school a better place!

 

On Thursday, we recognize our senior class officers who have done an amazing job of coming up with and suggesting many new ideas to make the current school year great! They are president Marlie Bengel, vice-president Aurora Beckhold, secretary Amy Shaw, and treasurer Brice Cook. They have set a really high bar when it comes to demonstrating true student leadership.  The class of 2021 and our school is grateful for their servant leadership!

 

On Friday, we recognize the St. Pat’s chapter of the National Honor Society leadership which is in the capable hands of president Marian Pearson, vice-president Avery Zimmerman, secretary Marlie Bengel, and treasurer Hailee Lay.  Thank you for all you do to lead our NHS chapter as we grow in Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.

 

One of the things that truly makes our school a great place is that we value the input and feedback of all of our students. The leadership of our senior class as well as leaders from other classes are instrumental in helping us ensure that the health and well being of our students is always at the forefront of our decision making. Even though we have faced the challenge of a global  pandemic through this entire school year, student morale has been at an all time high thanks to the great student leaders who help guide our  school.

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St. Patrick School Annual Shamrock Auction Aiming for Online Success

April 10, 2021

The Shamrock Auction started 19 years ago and continues to be one of St. Patrick School’s largest fundraisers. All proceeds are split between the school general fund and the St. Patrick Athletic Association. Since its inception, the auction has raised 1.2 million dollars. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, April 24. Due to the […]

The Shamrock Auction started 19 years ago and continues to be one of St. Patrick School’s largest fundraisers. All proceeds are split between the school general fund and the St. Patrick Athletic Association. Since its inception, the auction has raised 1.2 million dollars.

This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, April 24. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions that are in place, we will be unable to host this as an in-person event. We will instead host our annual auction as a virtual online event that will still take place on the scheduled date, April 24, and will run from 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

One of the positive items about hosting the event online is that there is no entry fee necessary, and everyone is invited to participate. All one needs to do is go online and register for the event at http://bidpal.net/shamrocksauction2021. All bidding for items will be done through our new software straight from your phone or device. Another huge benefit is there will be no waiting in line to bid on items in the silent auction and there will be no line for checking out.

Although we are disappointed that we won’t be able to gather to celebrate our school, we do believe this is an opportunity to come together online as a faith and school community to make this event a huge success. We do need your support for this event, which is the largest fundraiser and major source of revenue for the school and our athletic programs. We do hope that despite the challenges we are all currently facing, everyone will still donate generously to St. Patrick School. In fact, one of the best ways to help our auction be successful this year is for those attending online to generously purchase the various raffle tickets that are available since we are unable to sell them in-person at the event.

The Shamrock Auction requires a lot of hard work and a huge commitment of time from many people. Its success stems from a great volunteer committee and the dedication of parents, family, friends, alumni, and the support of many local businesses! Please tell your friends, tell your family, and reach out to former classmates and encourage them to log on the night of the auction. Again, the online event is free to participate. One must simply go to http://bidpal.net/shamrocksauction2021 and create your account, purchase your raffle tickets, make a donation, and get ready to bid.

If you have any questions or would like to donate an item to the Shamrock Auction, please contact Mike and Ann Kissane at (517)604-1852 or kissanes@hotmail.com

In the meantime, mark your calendars for April 24 for the big event but also make sure to watch the school website (portlandstpats.com) and Facebook page (St. Patrick School – Portland, Michigan) right after spring break for announcements that will reveal our silent and live auction items. Make sure to plan a great evening of fun with family right from your own home while social distancing. We are excited and looking forward to our virtual Shamrock Auction. We hope to see you “virtually” at the 2022 Shamrock Auction.

 

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Professional Development for Teachers

March 23, 2021

In a typical school year, St. Patrick teachers will participate in five professional development days. These professional development days are crucial to the development of our teaching staff. Catholic education in the 21st century is evolving and becoming even better as it adapts to an ever-changing customer base, while retaining the foundation that was laid […]

In a typical school year, St. Patrick teachers will participate in five professional development days. These professional development days are crucial to the development of our teaching staff. Catholic education in the 21st century is evolving and becoming even better as it adapts to an ever-changing customer base, while retaining the foundation that was laid in place by our predecessors.

On Friday, March 12, St. Patrick teachers participated in their fifth professional development day of the 2020-21 school year. The sessions that were presented are as follows:

  • Rachel Selby, the School Outreach Coordinator for The Right Door For Hope, Recovery, and Wellness spoke to our teachers about mental health in the classroom and self-care. The main focus of this session was to learn how numerous mental health concerns are present in the classroom and tips to help support students with these concerns. Staff also discussed what self-care means and reflected on their own self-care. Rachel provided a self-care assessment, which helped staff reflect on different aspects of their life such as physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, relationship, and workplace. Staff were encouraged to take baby steps in improving their lowest scored area.
  • Our elementary principal, Mrs. Cortney Smith, and elementary teacher, Mrs. Mary Cook, presented information from a conference they attended titled Inclusion In Action Conference, from the FIRE Foundation in Kansas City, MO. This year, the two-day conference took place virtually with experts from across the nation and even the world, coming together to celebrate inclusion in the classroom. Together they focused on a school environment that includes human dignity, gentleness, kindness, and compassion to bring out the best in all of the students and provide opportunities for all. A focus was on all students learning together and from one another. Research has shown the benefits to learning side by side. Socialization, graduation rates, post academic success, and behavior outcomes improve significantly when all are included.
  • All staff watched a virtual presentation from the Sophia Institute, which provides the textbooks for our elementary religion curriculum, titled: “Created in Christ, Combating the Sin of Racism.”

Throughout the professional development day, all participants took part in reflection and discussion of how to apply the development training moving forward.

It is inspiring to see the level of devotion and commitment that exists within our teaching staff. They have been on the front line, providing our students with both in-person and remote learning options throughout the entire 2020-21 school year. Our professional development day provided them an opportunity to continue to develop their skills and abilities with the goal of ensuring that their students are provided with the best education possible.

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St. Patrick School Prepares for Lent

March 3, 2021

Lent, from the Middle English word Lentum, meaning springtime–the time of lengthening days, is a period of 40 days of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and penitence before Easter. Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 17, this year and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 1, when the Paschal Fast begins. Lent offers us all a […]

Lent, from the Middle English word Lentum, meaning springtime–the time of lengthening days, is a period of 40 days of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and penitence before Easter. Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 17, this year and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 1, when the Paschal Fast begins.

Lent offers us all a special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life rooted in our baptism. It is an opportunity to reflect on our lives, pray more deeply, repent of the wrongs we have committed or in what we have failed to do, and be charitable to those in need.

The students and staff at St. Patrick School have begun to spend time preparing for Easter by observing Lent.  Lent kicked off with our students and staff in grades one through 12 attending Ash Wednesday Mass with Fr. Mike in a unique way. The high school students attended Mass in the church, the middle school students attended Mass virtually in the parish hall, and students in grades 1-5 attended virtually in the school gymnasium. The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned and who wished to be readmitted to the Church would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness.  Some of the other activities that our students will be involved with during Lent are as follows:

  • Stations of the Cross: Each Friday during Lent, students will come together and pray the Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross are a Catholic devotion which commemorates the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the fourteen traditional stations represents an event which occurred during Jesus’ passion and death on Good Friday.
  • On Wednesday, March 31, the staff will serve our students lunch, and the students will donate lunch money for Operation Rice Bowl.
  • Preschool students will be talking about and reading age-appropriate books about Lent and Easter. Each day they will have a Lenten activity.
  • Students individually commit to fasting or performing acts of Christian service.
  • High school students will attend reconciliation during the school day. Fr. Mike encourages all students in 2nd grade and older to attend reconciliation with their families during scheduled times.

Lent is a time for all of us to focus on repenting from our sins and consecrating ourselves to God, not trying to earn God’s favor or increase his love for us. It is our goal that our student body and faculty be well prepared for the resurrection on Easter.

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St. Patrick Students Participate in Mental Health Awareness Week

February 4, 2021

Recent studies show that rates of mood disorders, especially anxiety, and suicide-related outcomes have increased significantly over the last decade among adolescents and young adults, and this was before the COVID pandemic struck. Being aware of this increase in mood disorders, St. Patrick School dared to be different this past week and participated in our […]

Recent studies show that rates of mood disorders, especially anxiety, and suicide-related outcomes have increased significantly over the last decade among adolescents and young adults, and this was before the COVID pandemic struck. Being aware of this increase in mood disorders, St. Patrick School dared to be different this past week and participated in our second annual Mental Health Awareness Week.

Each day of the week had a mental health concern associated with a specific color. Students dressed in clothes in the designated colors each day. There were activities to go with each day. Here is a breakdown of each day’s color and activities:

On Monday, our students wore green in recognition of those who struggle with depression. During lunch, students filled jars with positive messages, inspirational quotes, and prayers. These will be available for the rest of the school year for anyone to take when they are feeling down.

On Tuesday, students were scheduled to wear blue in recognition of those who struggle with anxiety. Since we had a snow day on Tuesday, students had the opportunity to wear blue on Friday.

Wednesday, students wore purple in recognition of those who struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Students were provided with a poster full of information about OCD and slime was available. Slime is a good tool for anxiety because it allows your mind to focus on something other than your worries. Students also watched a video from Rachel Selby, the School Outreach Coordinator from The Right Door For Hope, Recovery and Wellness.

On Thursday, students wore orange in recognition of those who struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). During lunch, we played a focused music playlist. Music relies on structure and the use of rhythm and timing. Since ADHD often involves difficulty with tracking timing and duration, listening to music might help improve performance in these areas.

Finally, on Friday, students wore red in recognition of those who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At lunch, students wrote appreciation letters to anyone who has been there for them unconditionally. This could have been to a family member, friend, teacher, or mentor.

This year, we had a contest called “Change for Change.” Middle and high school students competed to see who could bring in the most change to raise money for The Right Door’s “Drab to Fab” event which helps adults in need obtain haircuts and new clothing.  The high school brought in the most money and won the event day this year. They will receive an out of dress code day and ice cream.

A very big thank you to senior Emma Scheurer, the Mind Over Matter Committee, and our school counselor Mrs. Jenny Garcia for planning and leading our Mental Health Awareness Week activities. It was a fun, exciting, and educational week and helped bring awareness to mental health and informed our students of ways to cope and get help when one is struggling, and how to help and support others who are struggling with mental health issues.

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St. Patrick Celebrates Catholic Schools Week 2021

February 1, 2021

This year, there are many reasons to celebrate our own Catholic school here in Portland, as well as Catholic schools around the nation, as we continue to work through the pandemic. Catholic schools offer academic excellence and faith-filled education where God is embraced and not marginalized. While some Catholic schools are challenged by declining enrollments […]

This year, there are many reasons to celebrate our own Catholic school here in Portland, as well as Catholic schools around the nation, as we continue to work through the pandemic. Catholic schools offer academic excellence and faith-filled education where God is embraced and not marginalized. While some Catholic schools are challenged by declining enrollments and school closures, St. Patrick School continues to have a steady enrollment, and Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids also remain steady in their enrollments.

National test scores, high graduation, and college attendance rates and other data show that Catholic school students outperform other students in both the public and private sectors. In addition, research from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) shows that 34% of millennials who attended a Catholic primary school are likely to attend Mass weekly. This number increases to 39% for Millenials if they attended a Catholic secondary school, but the number drops significantly to only 5% if they never attended a Catholic school. Not only are Catholic school students more likely to attend Mass weekly, they are also more likely to contribute generously to charitable organizations and to the communities in which they live.
We are excited to celebrate our Catholic school here in Portland. The success of our school is dependent on the support we receive from the greater Portland community and beyond.

We have a fun and exciting week planned despite the challenges we face at this time to ensure we continue to keep our students safe and learning in-person. Below is a calendar of the daily themes and celebrations that will take place at St. Patrick School throughout Catholic Schools Week (CSW):

Monday, February 1, 2021:
❖ Preschool-12th grade students will be treated to donuts and juice as we kick off CSW.
❖ All students will pray a candlelight rosary for our country.
❖ Student dress-up day: Students can dress in Red, White, and Blue (jeans allowed).

Tuesday, February 2, 2021:
❖ All-school virtual Mass from St. Andrew Cathedral in Grand Rapids at 10:00 a.m.
❖ Elementary students will celebrate the 100th day of school.
❖ Students will not be assigned any homework assignments or review.
❖ Student dress-up day: Comfy Day (no jeans).

Wednesday, February 3, 2021:
❖ All students celebrate the “Souper Bowl” by bringing a donation of canned/boxed food items.
❖ Grades 9-12 will celebrate Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Patrick Church.
❖ Students will make blankets to be donated to various organizations.
❖ Student dress-up day: K-8 Jersey Day (students wear their favorite jersey with school uniform bottoms) / high school Sunday Best (school appropriate).

Thursday, February 4, 2021:
❖ Ice cream will be served to all students at lunch.
❖ Grades 5-8 will celebrate Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Patrick Church.
❖ Student dress-up day: K-8 Sunday Best (school appropriate) / high school Jersey Day (students wear their favorite jersey with school uniform bottoms).

Friday, February 5, 2021:
❖ Big Rock/Little Rock snowman building (snow and weather permitting).
❖ High school students will celebrate with a pep assembly.
❖ Student dress-up day: Shamrock Spirit Day – this will be a jean/spirit wear day for all students.

We thank all of you for your generous support of St. Patrick School and ask that you keep our school in your thoughts and prayers as we celebrate Catholic Schools Week. We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!

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Shamrock Fall Sports Wrap Up

January 23, 2021

There have been many unique and unusual things thus far about the 2020-21 school year. One of these unusual items is that I am writing the fall sports wrap up column in the middle of January when we should be approximately halfway through our winter sports season. I could lament this fact, but instead, I […]

There have been many unique and unusual things thus far about the 2020-21 school year. One of these unusual items is that I am writing the fall sports wrap up column in the middle of January when we should be approximately halfway through our winter sports season. I could lament this fact, but instead, I choose to do what we have been doing at St. Patrick School this school year and that is to count our blessings at every opportunity we are given to have as much of a normal school year as possible.

Our fall season was successful in the fact that we were able to host all our sports as we have in the past and be able to complete our cross country, volleyball, and football seasons. Sometimes new challenges give us new opportunities. This year, for the first time in a number of years, we fielded a full cheerleading squad. This was not just any cheerleading squad as we had a school record 36 cheerleaders go out and cheer for our football team. This fall season has definitely been one for the ages and truly without comparison.

The cross-country program set the stage for a successful season by coming out of the gate strong. Freshman Laynie Meredith and sophomore Cozette Brown qualified for states. This is the first time our program had two state qualifiers in the same season. The football team followed that up with their third trip to the state finals in four seasons finishing as the 8-Player Division II runner up with a record of 10-1.

We would like to congratulate all our teams and student athletes for their efforts throughout this fall sports season! A lot of time and hard work was put forth in the gym, on the field, and of course in the classroom by our student athletes.

Our cross-country program was unable to field a girls’ or boys’ team, but as previously mentioned, we did have a solid group of runners representing our school’s cross-country program. Individual honors include the following:

  • Laynie Meredith: 2nd team CMAC, school record holder, LSJ All DIV Area, and state qualifier
  • Cozette (Cozie) Brown: Honorable Mention CMAC, LSJ DIV All Area, and state qualifier

As previously mentioned, the Shamrock football team had a strong season winning a regional championship trophy and advancing to the state finals where they played in a fun and exciting game.  Our football coach, Mr. Patrick Russman, was the 8-player Division 2, Region 2, Coach of the Year.  Individual honors include the following:

  • Connor Cross: All-County, All-Region, and All-State
  • Chase Fitzsimmons: All-County, All-Region, All-State Honorable Mention, and Academic All-State
  • Brice Cook: Academic All-State
  • Brian Kwiecinski: Academic All-State
  • Jacobe Hayes-Dunning: Lansing State Journal Student Athlete of the Week
  • Derec Fedewa: All-County, All-Region, All-State, and Portland Beacon Athlete of the Month for November
  • Shane Cook: All-County and All-Region
  • Braxton Teachworth: All-State Honorable Mention

The varsity volleyball team had another solid season finishing in 4th place in the league in a very strong Central Michigan Athletic Conference (CMAC) and received team Academic All-State recognition. Individual awards include the following:

  • Karley Beachnau: 2nd team CMAC, Ionia All-County Volleyball Team, Academic All-State
  • Aurora Beckhold: Honorable Mention CMAC, All-Region, Academic All-State
  • Natalee Teachworth: 2nd team CMAC
  • Marlie Bengel: Academic All-State
  • Avery Zimmerman: Academic All-State

 

Our freshman and JV volleyball team also had a successful season showing much growth and improvement throughout the season.

We would like to thank Portland Public Schools and the City of Portland, including the Portland Police Department, Fire Department, and Ambulance Department. Our fall sports season would not have been nearly as successful without their assistance and support.

As a Catholic School, we expect our student athletes to represent our school in a positive manner, bringing Christ to everything they do, and making us proud with their sportsmanship. Without a doubt, they have done so in what turned out to be an extremely successful fall sports season despite all the challenges we faced. Our high school student athletes did an excellent job representing our school mission statement: We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!

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Celebrating the Successes of 2020

December 31, 2020

While many people would like to forget the year 2020, St. Patrick School would like to look at many of the major accomplishments we had despite the major challenge of educating our students during a pandemic. So, before we ring in 2021, let us look back at the top events for St. Patrick School during […]

While many people would like to forget the year 2020, St. Patrick School would like to look at many of the major accomplishments we had despite the major challenge of educating our students during a pandemic. So, before we ring in 2021, let us look back at the top events for St. Patrick School during 2020.

It would be impossible to rank them in order of importance, so I have placed them in chronological order instead:

  1. On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Governor Whitmer ordered all schools closed. St. Patrick School was ready. Our students only missed one day of school as our teachers continued to teach remotely through packets that were sent home and by teaching virtual lessons using Google Classroom.
  2. On Sunday, June 14, the St. Patrick High School Class of 2020 became one of the first senior classes in the State of Michigan to host an in-person commencement. They are the only senior class in St. Patrick history to have commencement in June, outside, and in a tent.
  3. At the end of August, St. Patrick School students returned safely to in-person education for the 2020-2021 school year. Our return to school plan was created over the summer months in conjunction with the State of Michigan Return to School Roadmap, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the Kent and Ionia County Health Departments.
  4. In September, Mr. Luis Arturo Araujo joined our teaching faculty as the K-12 Art/Technology instructor.  Mr. Art brought a great resume to the position, and his positivity and energy is contagious!
  5. Our school counselor, Mrs. Jenny Garcia, and senior Emma Scheurer, as a part of her senior Capstone Project, created the Mind Over Matter group to work on boosting student morale, to problem-solve any challenges our students face, and to promote mental health awareness, and a positive school culture.
  6. St. Patrick Elementary School ordered 150 Chromebooks in case elementary students are forced to learn remotely again. Once they arrive in December and are available for use, our schoolwide 1:1 Chromebook initiative will officially be complete. We also purchased the GoGuardian program to monitor student use of Chromebooks to help ensure our students are safe while working online.
  7. At the beginning of November, Laynie Meredith and Cozette Brown both qualified for the state meet in girls cross country. This is the first time our cross country program has had two runners qualify for the state meet in the same year.
  8. The varsity football team is currently 9-0 and has advanced to the state semifinal game for the third time in five years. They are awaiting information from the governor and the MHSAA to see if they will be able to finish the season.
  9. Senior Brice Cook kicked off the giving season by offering to have his head shaved if we raised $500 for Positive Solutions Informed Choices (PSIC). Brice allowed the top donors to shave his head after we raised $987. Not to be outdone, our K-8 students filled 91 shoeboxes as a part of the Shoebox Initiative. Finally, despite having the high school learning remotely, we collected boxes and boxes of canned goods, 219 toys for Toys for Tots, and many diapers and pull ups for PSIC.
  10. The St. Patrick School Advancement and Development team began The Former Pastors’ Shamrock Endowment Fund with $76,000 from a previous St. Patrick Parish pastor as well as $8,000 in donations from other various benefactors. This endowment will be used for tuition assistance for future generations of Shamrocks.

“We Achieve!” is the third and final part of our mission statement and it is evidenced by this list. Many hours of work by a great number of individuals were completed to make all these events happen throughout 2020. Our students and staff, with great support from our parents and donors have made this year a huge success. We are excited about these accomplishments and are even more excited for the prospect of bigger and better things to come in 2021. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at St. Patrick School!

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It’s Time to Recognize the Need of Those Around You

December 4, 2020

This past weekend at Mass, our pastor, Reverend Michael Alber, spoke about how we frequently defer to organizations to help those around us who have some type of need. How often do we donate our money to some charity and never give it another thought about those in need? We donate money; therefore, we have […]

This past weekend at Mass, our pastor, Reverend Michael Alber, spoke about how we frequently defer to organizations to help those around us who have some type of need. How often do we donate our money to some charity and never give it another thought about those in need? We donate money; therefore, we have done our part. The thing that most resonated with me was the idea that maybe it’s time for us to stop passing the buck to organizations and to start looking around our own community and helping those who have some need.

 

For most individuals, 2020 has been a year with many challenges, which makes it even more important for us to be aware of the needs of those around us. Take a moment to think of those living right in your neighborhood, or right here in your own community who may have some special need at this time. I am sure it is not too hard to find any of the following:

 

  • A widow, widower, or an elderly couple who is feeling isolated and alone. Find a way to reach out and let them know you are there, whether it is a nice chat on the phone, sending a card or letter, or if they are tech savvy, help them set up a Zoom meeting.
  • The single parent who has been working long hours trying to make ends meet. Go shopping and purchase things that help meet their most basic needs such as cleaning supplies, groceries, and laundry detergent; and a little extra cash would be most welcome.
  • Medical personnel who may not have a financial need but may be exhausted from working long hours dealing with COVID Make and deliver a meal with all the fixings.
  • Police, fire, and ambulance personnel who can never be thanked enough for all that they do for their communities. Send a thank you note and let them know they are appreciated for their service.
  • Teachers and school support staff who have been working under extreme stress since last March. A note of thanks with any little gift of appreciation goes a long

 

We, as individuals, or in small local groups, can go out of our way to say “thank you” to those who have been under a lot of stress throughout 2020. Shop locally keeping in mind that many small business owners are struggling as well, and then use those purchased items to build up and show appreciation to those living around us. Who doesn’t appreciate a gift certificate to eat at a local restaurant, a cup of coffee or hot tea, a bottle of wine, some type of service, or other treat?

 

By taking the time to go out of the way to recognize those who may be struggling in some way, you give the greatest gift you can possibly give this holiday season, and that is the gift of hope. We all can be that person; we do not need others to do it for us. May God bless your holiday season and go make a difference.

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Advent is a Time to Prepare

November 27, 2020

While the secular world has already started counting down the days and basically celebrating Christmas, decorating their houses, putting up Christmas trees and doing their Christmas shopping, the Christian world will celebrate its new year with the beginning of Advent on Sunday, November 29. The word Advent derives from Latin, meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ Jesus […]

While the secular world has already started counting down the days and basically celebrating Christmas, decorating their houses, putting up Christmas trees and doing their Christmas shopping, the Christian world will celebrate its new year with the beginning of Advent on Sunday, November 29.

The word Advent derives from Latin, meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ Jesus is coming, and Advent is intended to be a season of preparation for His arrival. The Catholic Church’s liturgical season of Advent is a sacred time for prayer and quiet reflection as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth.

However, Advent is much more than recalling the humble beginning and birth of our Lord and Savior. We are also preparing for His future coming as we anticipate and look toward Christ’s second coming as judge of the world at the end of time.

During a normal school year, each Monday we would gather around the Advent wreath in our school gymnasium. We would light the candle for the week and take time to sing, pray, and remember exactly what it is we are preparing for on Christmas Day, when the church begins the season of Christmas.

The Advent wreath serves as a powerful visual reminder of the holiness of the season. It is shaped in a perfect circle to represent the eternity of God. The four candles used, three purple and one pink, mark the Sundays of Advent before Christmas. The purple candles are reminders that this should be a time of prayer and sacrifice to prepare us for the second coming of Christ. On the third Sunday, the pink candle is lit to announce Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday of rejoicing for Christ is coming near.

As you prepare for the coming of Christ on Christmas morning, remember to put time aside to participate in Advent. It is a time for charity and generosity for those in need. Make sure to reserve and put aside special time for extra prayer and reflection. Advent is also a time to fast, focus on one’s own spirituality, and reflect on how we can make ourselves and those around us better, especially during these challenging times. Finally, Advent is a time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and take a renewed interest in and a focus on the beauty of the Liturgy.

When the final candle is lit on the wreath and Advent comes to a successful completion, it will be time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the beginning of the Christmas season.

 

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