FROM THE DESK OF MRS. PAT FARRELL
It has been a busy, faith-filled time at Saint James, especially since the first of the year. We had a great retreat for our 7th grade, which I mentioned previously, and last week, of course, we celebrated Catholic Schools Week. This week has included a talk to the Brownies who are candidates for their “My Faith, My Promise” pin. This is a relatively new pin that the students from grade K-12, of any faith, can receive – every year as they continue their journey in faith, in accordance with the Girl Scout Law. So we will talk about their faith in Jesus and how they live that out. Many of these young ladies will receive their First Communion this year. So this is a special time in their journey of faith and it is good to see that this is supported by an organization such as the Girl Scouts. But it is most important to remember that our Catholic faith begins with our relationship with God through our brother, Jesus. That is what makes us who we are.
During Catholic Schools Week, our students were incredible disciples. They knew this week was not so much about them but about what they could do to serve others. As many of you know, one of our most significant projects this year, involved our “Giving Tree”. In case you did not see the tree, it is pictured below. Essentially, it was a representation of our students’ and families’ care for others. In Jesus name, we “adopted’ a parish and school in Key West, Florida that is still trying to recover from the devastating hurricanes in that area that occurred last fall. If you were in the hallway to the right of the gathering space over the last two weeks you saw this tree, resplendent with “Bulldog Bucks” which served as leaves. These leaves represented prayers that each of our students wrote to the people in that parish, known as St. Mary, Star of the Sea. They also represented donations that our students and families made to these people recover the material goods that they need to continue their ministry. Note, though, that prayer comes first. Prayer, or conversation with Jesus, helps us discern how best to be His disciples. That is one of the things that St. James does best!
So throughout the building that week you saw many reflections of prayer through words and examples of our “kindness campaign”. This is an initiative that helps our students be mindful of all that we can be, if our identity is rooted in God’s love – for love is the basis of kindness, gratitude, and many of the wonderful activities that occurred during Catholic Schools week. Indeed, we found this such a life- giving experience, in terms of our life in Christ, that we will continue this behavior throughout Lent.
Perhaps by doing this, we will fulfill the very first Lenten reading on Ash Wednesday, taken from the Book of Joel, which says:
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent, and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.
The Word of the Lord!