January 27, 2016 // Uncategorized

Schools incorporate Year of Mercy into curriculum

Every morning students and staff at St. Joseph School in Garrett meet for prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and recite the school’s mission, “Children following God in faith, respect, knowledge and service.”

By Tim Johnson

FORT WAYNE — Performing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy has taken even a more prominent role than usual at many of the Catholic schools of the diocese during this Year of Mercy.

At Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, theology chair Thomas Kenny told Today’s Catholic, “We as a school are meditating on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy during this jubilee year. This month we are going to focus on the call to shelter the homeless. In James 1:22 we read: Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.’”

“As well as praying for the displaced, homeless, refugees and migrants, etc., we are called to do something,” Kenny commented.

He spoke of the annual This Point in Time Count, which took place Jan 28. Kenny said, “This occurs when it’s cold and people wouldn’t be on the street if they had anywhere else to go. Volunteers count the number of homeless people throughout the nation and much needed items are given to those in need, like coats, food, toiletries, etc.”

Kenny’s senior classes decided to take a collection of items — toothpaste, toothbrushes, lip balm, soap, body wash, lotion, deodorant, easy open canned food or food pouches, disposable razors, shaving gel and baby wipes — to donate to the area’s homeless population through the Rescue Mission and Charis House. Each grade collected the items.

Bishop Dwenger High School Principal Jason Schiffli reported the corporal works of mercy will be the focus of each month. In addition to the collection, the Project Linus Club will make blankets for the local homeless.

“We will also focus more on educating and encouraging our students to act with social justice towards refugees of war, as we pray for their cause on our daily announcements, and take up collections to donate to CRS, for their help in refugee camps,” Schiffli added.

Principal Mark Kirzeder of Marian High School in Mishawaka said Marian students “are actively participating in the Year of Mercy in several ways. Students listen to a reading and reflection each day given by Pope Francis in his book ‘A Year of Mercy with Pope Francis.’”

He added, “Students are also intentionally and actively participating in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy thematically during each month. In January, for example, Marian students helped to clothe the naked by donating diapers to the Women’s Care Center.”

Maggie Mackowiak, the principal of Corpus Christi School in South Bend, sends a weekly flyer home with information about one of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy. “I try to include some information about each work and include something that they can do as a family,” she said.

“We add something related to the Year of Mercy in our morning announcements and each classroom is incorporating lessons within their religion classes,” Mackowiak added. “We are working on a school bulletin board that will show how we participate in each work of mercy. The fourth-grade class has a bulletin board with pictures from Today’s Catholic identifying what work of mercy is being carried out.”

“Lastly,” she noted, “when disciplining one of our younger students — instead of giving a punishment — I asked the child to do something nice each day this week for the child that he hurt from his actions.”

And during Catholic Schools Week one of Corpus Christi’s service projects will be random acts of kindness relating to the Year of Mercy.

Sacred Heart School in Warsaw has also planned special tie-ins to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Principal James Faroh highlighted a number of activities including “Dress Red for the Heart Fashion Show,” in which students in grades preschool through 6 and staff are going to dress in red on Thursday, Feb. 4, during Catholic Schools Week. The admission charge for the fashion show is $3 for adults and $1 for children with the proceeds going to the American Heart Association.

Also during Catholic Schools Week, the students’ chess team will play checkers with the residents at Millers Merry Manor in Warsaw.

Each month, Faroh said, “we have scheduled a Casual Day for a Cause where students and staff bring in a donation of $1 or more and in turn may dress casually that day, instead of wearing their school uniform.

And coming soon during Lent the students may donate money via their collection envelopes or they may write on the envelope something they are doing to be good stewards. Students and staff also participate in the Rice Bowl during Lent with proceeds given to the Catholic Relief Services.

Sacred Heart School is an active participant in the Missionary Childhood Association, and during Advent of this year, students may donate to the association at the all-school Masses.

The school and church are also coordinating monthly free community meals.

And at St. Joseph School in Garrett, during Catholic Schools Week, “we will be giving back to our community,” reported Jill Hamblin, the family development coordinator. “The school will practice the spiritual works of mercy — comforting the afflicted,” Hamblin said. “Students will write a letter of appreciation or thanks to an overseas service member. In addition, we have invited a local veteran to our school to visit and share his story of faith.”

Principal Mattie Willerton of St. John the Evangelist School in Goshen said that during Lent at their Monday prayer services, “we are going to focus on the corporal works of mercy.”

She said the prayer services tie in nicely to the Lenten Service project, “Penny Wars,” in which, “we collect change for Father Bob McCahill, a missionary priest from Goshen who works in Bangladesh.”







* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.