The seventh grade students orchestrated our Thanksgiving Liturgy on Friday, November 17. The entire school community took time to offer thanks for our many blessings. Included during the liturgy was also the commissioning of two new Eucharistic Ministers for our school, Mrs. Lerch and Mrs. Salomone, and a blessing for all of those who serve in this capacity at our liturgies. Finally, during the month of November, the Student Council sponsored a food drive so that we could share our bounty with the less fortunate. Father Brian blessed the food that was delivered to a local community food pantry later in the day.
The Worship Commission, under the direction of Mrs. Bruno, consistently creates wonderful backdrops for our liturgies. Their transformative efforts for the annual Mass of Remembrance are especially meaningful for our school community. In keeping with our school theme this year, We Are One Body, small images of loved ones who have passed were represented on figures that were joined hand in hand. The figures were decorated by family members and contained symbols to celebrate the lives of those represented. Names were read and candles were lit to honor those loved ones who have died. The first grade students did a fine job orchestrating the liturgy celebration with some help from their 7th grade buddies. It was a lovely way to remember special people who are no longer with us on earth.
On Friday, October 27, the gymnasium underwent a miraculous transformation and became a reverent worship space --- just as it does for our all school liturgies. This time, however, it became a hallowed hall of holy saints.
Under the direction of Mrs. Bruno, the eighth grade teacher, each eighth grader dressed up to represent their chosen Confirmation Saint and posed beside a stained glass window backdrop that they had created. The “stained glass windows” were filled with rich symbolism important to their Saint’s story. Complete with candle light and hushed voices, the setting became a very holy place and a spectacular way to honor All Saints Day. The younger grades and other visitors were welcomed in and, after an introductory Litany of the Saints, they gathered in small groups at each Saint to hear the story of their life. Young children and visiting adults alike listened with rapt attention as the 8th grade Saints revealed details about the faith and life of the inspiring person they represented. As the young students left the tableau, they were able to choose an artifact or holy card that the eighth graders had made to remind others of their Saint.
This experience really helped make the Saints come alive not only for the eighth grade Confirmandi, but for our whole school community. We are so fortunate to be able to provide these experiences both for those creating them and for those praying with them. When our faith life is woven in such a beautiful way with our other learning, we recognize and feel our Catholic identity deeply. Great job eighth grade leaders!
This year, October is the 100-year anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s apparitions to the people of Fatima. On October 13, 1917, the miracle of the sun took place to the amazement of tens of thousands of people who came to witness the phenomenon. At Fatima, our Blessed Mother identified herself as the Lady of the Rosary and instructed the child seers to continue to say the rosary every day. Through Fatima, we see the role of Our Lady in world salvation and the importance of entrusting and consecrating our lives to her.
A very special gift of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima was made to our school by the St. Alphonsus community. At Mass on October 14, the statue was presented to the school community, blessed and adorned with flowers by the children. Our school community cherishes this reminder that we should constantly pray for peace in our world.
A new dimension has been added to our liturgy choir! Under the direction of Mr. Joe Martorano, several students have learned to play the hand bells. The participants give up their recess time to practice. Their efforts lend a special resonance to the beautiful voices of our liturgical choir. We are very proud of all of the students who enhance our worship with music and song.
We can tell that we are officially back to school when our eighth grade class accepts the mantle of leadership during our traditional Leadership Mass.
All week, the eighth grade students developed and led our morning prayers---helping to prove that they are ready to be the leaders of the school.
During the Liturgy on Friday, September 8, the eighth grade class pledged to use their gifts and talents to lead and to carry out the Celtic Mission. They prepared for this commitment by reading and listening to speeches by prominent Americans and leaders of our Church; they examined the characteristics of effective leaders. Although they know that they are still learning, they pledged to do their best to be leaders for the school and for their younger classmates.
Throughout the year our eighth grade leaders will help us understand the gifts we have been given by God and how He expects us to use them to actualize our theme, We Are One Body. They will help us work together to make our school community and our world a better place.
No matter how many days of school have already gone by, it is our opening Mass that really starts the year. This special liturgy actualizes our theme for the year, We Are One Body, in an artistic and creative way thanks to the work of all of the children and the school community. This year, each class created a silhouette of a child that symbolized the gifts and talents each individual brings to the whole community. Special mention must be made about the extraordinary contributions of time and talent from Mr. and Mrs. Bruno for the original conception and woodworking.
On Friday, September 1, the entire school community gathered for our opening celebration liturgy. The unique silhouettes created by each class will serve as a constant reminder this year of our theme. We are Celtics...Living Our Mission....and We Are One Body. Father Brian's homily spoke to the fact that we are all called to contribute our gifts and talents to the whole community, and that if one part of the whole is missing the community is diminished. He told a story of a teacher who illustrated this concept with a puzzle. Finally, the entire school community stood and recited and recommitted to our Celtic Mission statement.
We are Celtics:
Carrying out the mission of Christ,
Excelling in academics,
Leading by promoting respect, integrity, discipline, and citizenship,
Teaching a foundation of right judgment, values, and confidence needed for a life of success and purpose,
Instilling a commitment to serving others according to Gospel values,
Celebrating our varied cultures, heritage, learning styles, and social backgrounds, and
Sharing the Word of God through prayer, worship, and example.
The month of May calls for special dedication to Mary, the mother of Jesus and inspiration to us all for her willingness to say Yes to God’s plan for her. As part of the celebration of Mary, St. Alphonsus / St. Patrick students crowned Mary during Mass on Friday, May 12. Eighth grader Gabriela S., had the honor of crowning Mary. She was supported and assisted by other 8th grade classmates as well as the second grade students who recently celebrated their First Holy Communion. The May Crowning Mass on May 12 marked the first time that the second graders had the privilege of receiving Holy Communion with their school community! To honor the occasion and Mary, they dressed in their First Communion finery and honored Mary with flowers. This beautiful ceremony helps to keep the faithfulness of Mary alive in our minds and hearts so that we might draw upon her strength and bring it to life for each other.
On Saturday, April 29, the second grade students from St. Alphonsus Parish received their First Holy Communion during a beautiful ceremony at St. Alphonsus Church. Then on May 6, our second graders from St. Patrick Parish received the Holy Eucharist for the first time also! Having been well prepared for the sacrament by their second grade teacher, Mrs. Teri Lerch, by their parents, and by their participation at our school and parish liturgies, the students approached the table of the Lord with both anticipation and reverence. The children helped to orchestrate the Mass and sang a special song with joy. The prayerful expressions you will see in the photographs here give witness to how special this day was for our second grade students and their families. It is our prayer as a school community that their faith will continue to grow.
Each year, the eighth grade class relives the Passion of Christ for the school community by presenting a special reenactment of the Stations of the Cross. Directed by their homeroom teacher, Mrs. Eileen Bruno, and using a scrim, shadow, song and script, the eighth graders present a moving rendition of the Stations of the Cross. This year, the meditations on the scriptural Stations of the Cross were based upon those celebrated by Saint Pope John Paul II on Good Friday in 1991. The meditations gave the audience so much to think about and reflect upon, and the pictures painted with shadows give life to this story that is so central to our faith. Relive the performance as you view the videos and pictures.
On Friday, February 24, our eighth grade students received their class ribbons during a special Mass and ceremony that was a celebration of friendship, accomplishment, and call to further service. Witnessed by the entire school community as well as their families and friends, the members of the class of 2017 proudly accepted the green and white class ribbons from the faculty members that have been their Confirmation mentors this year. They accepted the ribbons as a symbol of honor, fellowship and leadership. To paraphrase Mrs. Bruno, their homeroom teacher,
" …we give each member of the Class of 2017 a special ribbon to …to adorn them, to signify their giftedness, to tie them to memories of loved ones that have helped them reach this point in their lives, to symbolize their courage as disciples of Christ, to show their solidarity with our school, and to honor them for their academic victories….."
Keenly aware of the example that they provide to our younger students, the eighth graders will wear the ribbons with pride as they continue to demonstrate the character, kindness and courage that distinguish our St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School graduates.
Mrs. Jenkins’ Kindergarten students orchestrated our school Liturgy service for the first time on Friday, November 18. They sent the tone for the Mass with a beautiful handmade banner proclaiming the need for us to be thankful for our many blessings. Our youngest students led the readings and prayers with just a bit of support from their eighth grade buddies! The children then worked with the choir to sing and sign and beautiful hymn after Holy Communion. Included during the liturgy was a blessing over the food we collected for the community open pantry during the month of November.
The Worship Commission, under the direction of Mrs. Eileen Bruno, consistently creates wonderful backdrops for our liturgies. Their transformation efforts for the annual Mass of Remembrance are always especially meaningful for our school community. This year, the names of loved ones who have passed were represented on butterflies colored and decorated by family members. They were meant to demonstrate that upon death, life is changed but not ended. The first grade students did a beautiful job orchestrating the liturgy celebration with just a little help from their seventh grade buddies. It was a lovely way to remember special people who are no longer with us on earth.
One of our most inspiring and touching back-to-school events is the eighth grade Leadership Mass. We have watched our eighth graders grow from little children to mature students willing to accept the mantle of leadership. During the Mass on Friday, September 9, the eighth grade class pledged to use their gifts and talents to lead the school this year and to help all of our students and our entire school community live our theme, We Are the Work of God’s Hands. Throughout the year these young leaders will demonstrate with their service and leadership some of the ways that God expects us to also be His hands to help make our world a better place. The school community promised to help our fledgling leaders along the way and to champion their successful leadership accomplishments as well.