Read the weekly newsletter from the Principal, Mrs. Judy Pappas.
Happy New Year! Advent begins this Sunday opening a new liturgical year. The USCCB website provides a good assortment of activities for families including prayers of blessing for family Advent wreaths, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes.
In school, students have signs and symbols of Advent all around them. They will learn about this important liturgical season and practice rituals and traditions that are a part of Advent. As we are reminded in this Sunday’s bulletin, the time for red bows, gold stars, and presents is coming…but not yet.
Be sure to read Mrs. Farrell’s Households of Faith for other suggestions for celebrating Advent at home.
Thank you for heeding the requests regarding parking and use of neighbors’ driveways on Pine and Evergreens Streets.
There is also concern about parents parking on Willow at pick up. There is neither a yield nor stop sign on Willow at the Willow/Evergreen intersection. Therefore there is great concerned that a child may be injured. There is a yield sign on Evergreen at that intersection. So once again, all are asked to follow school dismissal procedures. A need for a quick getaway is not worth a child’s injury—or worse!
~In error, Kyli Ziebka’s name was omitted from the Merit Roll. Congratulations, Kyli!
~Good luck to the SJS Lego Club in their competition this Saturday! Our team members are: Billy Beck, Ben Sheldon, Abby Sheldon, Alina Michelini, Aidan McLeod, Finn McLeod, and PJ McLeod. The students designed solutions to decrease water and energy waste. Bravo, Robotics Team! https://www.facebook.com/sjearthshepherds/posts/2004198099827359
~Today our PreK 4 students had a taste of SJS Kindergarten while their parents enjoyed a chat with the administration during our first Kindergarten for a Day this academic year! The PKs had fun completing a craft and learned a new song from current kindergartners.They’re looking forward to being a big kid in the SJS Kindergarten next year!
Friday, December 8 – the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and a Holy Day of Obligation
Mass times are as follows: 6:30am, 7:30am, 9:00am (St. James School Mass),
12:00 Noon, 5:00pm, 7:00pm
All Masses are in the CHURCH.
Sunday, December 10 – Advent Lessons & Carols, 2pm in church
Wednesday, December 20 –, 7:30pm in church. See the bulletin for alternative dates for Reconciliation services at neighboring parishes.
Households of Faith – Pat Farrell, Director Spiritual Formation
Advent begins this Sunday, December 3. While we are bombarded by a culture that tries to turn this time into a commercial extravaganza, we know that Advent is a much “richer” experience than anything of material value. The word “Advent” literally means “moving toward” and that movement takes us into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Advent has four spiritual characteristics that direct our movement. They are hope, peace, joy and love. We should reflect on these themes as gifts from the Holy Spirit that come alive in Christ at Christmas- and we should act on them as they will inspire our Advent movement toward Christ.
So what do these characteristics mean in terms our spirituality? Hope is more than wishing because when we “wish” we abandon the possibility that our deep spiritual desire for a relationship with Christ is out of our control. To be in relationship with Christ we must want that relationship and we must be willing to work at it! So hope is not looking for something outside ourselves, expecting it to fill the desire deep within. Hope comes from within, somewhere deep down, and we must be alert to it. Hope keeps our souls attentive and present. Hope moves us into action when needed. Hope is alive in us.
So we need to think of Advent as an “adventure” in terms of our relationship with God. This calls us to activities that encourage deepening our relationship with Christ and these activities can help each person in our family in with his or her relationship with Christ – whether it is one of our children or we, as parents.
In this column you will find a family activity for the first week of Advent. Make or purchase a simple wreath –and four candles – three should be purple and one pink. Arrange the candles around the wreath in this order- purple, purple, pink, purple. Why does the order of the colors matter? Investigate that as part of assembling the Advent wreath!
- Place the wreath in a prominent place in your home – on a dining table or table in your family room where you family is often together.
- Have a simple prayer activity to begin the season of Advent
- Before lighting any candles on the wreath you should bless the wreath on the first Sunday of Advent.
- Make the Sign of the Cross
- One person should say “Our help is in the name of the Lord.” The family then responds “Who made heaven and Earth.”
- Then read Isaiah 9:1-2, 5-6. These verses, and indeed the wreath itself, remind us that Christ is our light and his Birth brought us salvation.
- Talk about the meaning of these verses. Make sure each person participates in this discussion.
- Each evening re-light the candle and continue your discussion of the meaning of Christ- our light!
- Make certain that the wreath is in a safe place and that the candle is extinguished by an adult after each prayer session.
In the coming weeks we will share some thoughts about Peace, Joy and Love. Advent really is an adventure!
Counselor’s Corner- Mrs. McGowan, School Counselor
I found this post from a school counselor in Texas named Barbara Gruener. In this article she talks about how to help our children handle a bad day. I have condensed the information, but you can find the entire article at www.FREESPIRITPUBLISHINGBLOG.COM. We have all had one, but sometimes it is more difficult for our littles to work through the intense feelings when things do not go their way. I hope you enjoy…
It’s hard to think about rebounding from one of those days during which nothing seems to go your way without remembering Judith Viorst’s fictional narrator Alexander in her 1987 picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In this treasure, Alexander went to sleep chewing gum and wakes up with gum in his hair. From there, his day goes downhill fast, and he can tell that it’s going to be one of those days.
I remember being struck by his somewhat silly problem-solving solution: moving to Australia. And while that may not be a viable option, it appeals to the counselor and the mom in me because, at one time or another, we may all need an escape—our very own Australia. So my number one suggestion for regrouping from a tough day is going physically or mentally—or both!—to a safe place to retreat, restore, and renew.
Ask your students where their Australia would be. Maybe there’s a tree house in their backyard. Perhaps it’s a special chair in a cozy corner. It could even be a bathtub filled with warm water and some bubbles. Encourage them to select a spot and write out a plan to use it proactively so that when they need it, they’ll know right where to go.
While in their safe spot, students can practice some deep breathing. If they prefer to sit up, encourage them to practice “square breathing.” Breathe in slowly for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale slowly for four counts, and hold for four counts
Pets can also help children process and resolve unsettled feelings after a troubling day. Suggest that your students play with and cuddle a dog, cat, or hamster. If they don’t have a pet, maybe they know a neighbor or relative who would let them walk or wrestle with theirs. There’s a lot of therapeutic power in a little playtime with our furry friends.
Another activity that students can do to de-stress from a daunting day is good old-fashioned physical exercise. Encourage children to enjoy some fresh air at home by going outside to jump rope, ride bikes, play tag, swim, swing, or run laps. Empowering them with choices as to where they play will help them regain the sense of control an out-of-control day can leave them lacking. Suggest that their parents take them to a park or nearby nature center to soak up vitamin D from the sunshine.
Before bedtime on one of those horrible days, students can use meditation to help them shake off any lingering uncomfortable feelings. The short, guided imagery stories in the book Starbright: Meditations for Children by Maureen Garth work really well to help children unwind and relax as a parent or caregiver reads the stories aloud.
Finally, I suggest using Turn Yourself Around Self-Portrait reflection sheets. Encourage students to draw and color portraits of themselves having a good day on one side and having a bad day on the other. While they’re working, ask questions like: How do you regroup when the tide turns and your day goes from good to bad? What can turn a bad day around for you? How do you express yourself if you’re having a bad day? What happens if you decide to quit? What happens when you decide to persevere? Who can you go to for help when the bad days get too big or overwhelming?
Make sure your students know they always have a choice about what they think, what they believe, and how they react to hard feelings and tough times. They have the power to decide which side of that self-portrait page they prefer. They can choose, and they can stay on that side. Everywhere. All the time. Even in Australia.
Get your envelopes ready! Wednesday, December 6th during morning drop off times is the annual Parents’ Club sponsored Christmas Collection for St. James staff. (PreK-3 only families will collect on Tues, Dec 5.) A staff list and letter with additional information about the collection is available here AND a printed copy was sent home with your child on Monday, November 27th. Please look for this letter and staff list in your child’s backpack or print a copy from the link above.
Save the DATE!
Our first Daddy Daughter Dance is just around the corner! Dads, be sure to mark your calendars for Friday, January 26! Join other SJS dads and daughters for a memorable night of dancing and fun! We’ve lined up two Eat and Earn opportunities to help you plan your evening. Panera and California Pizza Kitchen will donate a portion of your bill right back to SJS Parents’ Club. SAVE THE DATE, DADS!!
Angels in the Classroom
Thank you for such generous gifts from the “Angels” list to our teachers! Want to find out how you can be an Angel? Parents’ Club chairperson, Julie Delaney (firstname.lastname@example.org), can help you make selections and organize your Angels gift. Check out details of our Angels program here: Angels In the Classroom. If you need a year-end tax letter from your donation, please contact Julie.
Year-End Tax Deductible Donation Time!
Consider St. James School Parents’ Club for your year-end tax deductible donation. Families who donated to the Parents’ Club Family Fundraising program with a suggested $200 donation will receive their tax letter after the New Year from St. James School. Thank you for your generosity and your consideration!
November Raffle Winners Our weekly $25 cash prizes are awarded to:
Mary Reddin sold by Deijah Reddin
The Long Family sold by Hannah Long
Barb Walczak sold by Luke Carlson
Chuck Wiesneth sold by Nick Wiesneth
Our monthly $100 cash prize is awarded to:
Chris Salituro sold by Francesco Salituro
Congratulations to all of our November winners! Thank you for supporting the Parents’ Club through the Bulldog Raffle!
SJS spirit wear makes a great Christmas gift! Visit our Spirit Shoppe website and purchase by Dec 8. for delivery before Christmas!
An addendum to the school directory noting additions/corrections is available. You’ll find it HERE. Please print this page and add it to your school directory.
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