(At right, Diocese of Saginaw Seminarian, Jason Payne talks about vocations while visiting Auburn Area Catholic School. CLICK HERE FOR A CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK PHOTO ALBUM. Photos will be added throughout the week.)
Nearly 2 million Catholic school students are celebrating Catholic Schools Week across the United States, including more than 2, 000 Catholic school students in the Diocese of Saginaw.
SAGINAW — Catholic school students in all 13 schools across the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw are participating in the nationwide Catholic Schools Week celebration, January 31-February 6. The theme this year is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” It encompasses several concepts that are at the heart of a Catholic education. First and foremost, schools are communities — small families in their own right, but also members of the larger community of home, church, city and nation. Faith, knowledge and service are foundational pillars of Catholic school education.
“Our Catholic schools are a great blessing,” said the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw. “Our students thrive academically in classrooms where faith and prayer are woven into lessons and activities throughout the day. They are called upon to fully utilize the gifts and talents God has generously given to them and, in turn, to be generous with others.”
During this Year of Mercy, as declared by Pope Francis, Bishop Cistone has encouraged the schools to find even more opportunities to engage in the spiritual works of mercy (counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish the sinner, comfort the sorrowful, forgive injuries, bear wrongs patiently and pray for the living and the dead) as well as the corporal works of mercy (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick, visit the prisoners, bury the dead and give alms to the poor).
Many of the Catholic schools across the diocese are responding to this request in a special way during Catholic Schools Week. They are engaging in service projects which include making cards for residents of Veteran’s Medical Center in Saginaw, raising money for water at Flint schools and Kids Against Hunger, and also collecting items for the William Ellis Brockman Infant Pantry, Aaron’s Gifts From Home and the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission.
The week-long, national observance of Catholic Schools Week serves as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of Catholic schools to the Church, local community and country. In addition to the service projects planned, special Masses and fun school activities will be taking place. There also will be several open houses for families interested in learning more about Catholic school education.
As a group, Catholic school students perform among the top in the country. They have a 99-percent graduation rate and 94 percent go to college. Additionally, Catholic school students are known for the countless hours of service they provide in their local communities. In the Diocese of Saginaw, students help feed the poor, visit the elderly, and raise awareness of important social issues.
Here is a listing of some of the activities taking place across the diocese during Catholic Schools Week. Photos of these events will be available on the diocesan website, Saginaw.org:
Monday, February 1
• Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant will be raising funds during the week for Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee Counties as they respond to the Flint water crisis. The money will be directed to Flint Public Schools.
• 6:15 p.m., OPEN HOUSE at Nouvel Catholic Central High School
• 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Students at St. Brigid of Kildare Catholic School in Midland kick off Catholic Schools Week with an art and talent show.
Tuesday, February 2
• 9:45 a.m., Students at Auburn Area Catholic Schools will learn about vocations during a visit from Diocese of Saginaw seminarian Jason Payne.
• All Saints Central Elementary students will make cards for residents at Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw.
Wednesday, February 3
• 8:30 a.m., Mass will be celebrated at St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Reese. Following Mass, parents and parishioners will visit the school classrooms to read with the children.
• 12:45 p.m., Students will be engaged in interactive story time at Blessed Sacrament in Midland.
Thursday, February 4
•St. Mary Catholic School in Alma will focus on vocations and careers. Religious sisters will be rotating through the classrooms to speak with students.
•Noon, All Saints Central Middle & High School students will participate in a cemetery walk to pray for the souls of the departed.
•1:00 p.m., Students at Auburn Area Catholic Schools will bring donations and take a tour of the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission in Bay City.
•1:00 p.m., The students at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic School in Beal City will entertain parents and guests during a “Celebrate Rock ‘n’ Roll” mock rock/talent show.
•6 p.m., OPEN HOUSE at Nouvel Catholic Central Elementary School
Friday, February 5
• 10:00 a.m., The 8th grade students at Nouvel Catholic Central Elementary School in Saginaw will “take on” the teachers and parents in a popular yearly basketball matchup. On display will be posters depicting each class’s favorite bible verse.
• Noon, The friendly competition of the Catholic Quiz Bowl among the diocese’s three Catholic high schools: All Saints Central (Bay City), Nouvel Catholic Central (Saginaw) and Sacred Heart Academy (Mt. Pleasant) will be held.
The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is home to 13 Catholic schools. School leaders, teachers and staff are committed to excellence in faith formation, academics, athletics, the arts and community service. The legacy of Catholic school education in our diocese began in 1868.