Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will commemorate the first anniversary of the visit of Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015 with a celebration of the Year of Mercy called for by the Holy Father. The various components of this celebration are a positive response to the challenge Pope Francis issued in his homily at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul during his visit last fall. “What About You?” In sharing those words, the Holy Father was referencing the plight of the poor and marginalized in our society and asking how the people of Philadelphia would care for them.
To respond to the Pope’s call students and faculty throughout the 119 elementary schools, 17 high schools and 4 schools of special education will carry out the seven Corporal Works of Mercy, found in the Gospel: Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Shelter the Homeless, Visit the Sick, Visit the Prisoners, Bury the Dead, and Give Alms to the Poor. Activities will also focus on our responsibility to care for the environment as underscored by Pope Francis in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si.
Mercy Week Highlight:
Additional Mercy Week Items: **UPDATED BELOW**
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Lansdale Catholic High School (Montgomery County):
Students from the Lansdale Catholic Dance Company will meet at the school at approximately noon on Sunday, September 18. They will then walk as a group 7 blocks to the corner of Lansdale Avenue and Main Street (Route 63/Welsh Road). At that location, they will join with volunteers from all over Lansdale in a human chain, handing down food items from the former “Manna On Main Street” house to its new location at North Penn Commons (northpenncommons.org). “Manna on Main Street” is an organization serving the North Penn community in Montgomery County, which provides a food pantry and soup kitchen among other services to the community.
Monday, September 19, 2016
The high school in South Philadelphia has organized a clothing drive that will take place September 18-23. Once the drive has concluded, all collected clothing will be sorted and delivered to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Philadelphia for the organization to identify where the donations made by students, faculty, and staff may be best used. Operating within, but independent of, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, through local parish groups called Conferences, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society helps those in need with material, moral, and spiritual support. Currently, more than 500 volunteers are involved throughout the Delaware Valley.
Saint Hubert Catholic High School will be starting a nine week novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots. In addition to the nine weeks of prayer, a “knot” display similar to the display from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul during World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015 will be set-up at the school. Students will have the opportunity to leave “knots” or pieces of cloth with prayer requests on them and will be encouraged to take a knot and pray for a fellow student’s requested intention.
Additionally, on Sunday, October 2nd approximately 80 young ladies from Saint Hubert have volunteered to take part in the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome through a newly established program at the school called, “Athletes Helping Athletes.”
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Archbishop Wood High School (Bucks County):
Approximately 115 students from Archbishop Wood High School, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Elementary School, and Our Lady of Confidence Day School, a school of Special Education, along with Mr. Christopher Mominey, Secretary for Catholic Education, Sister Maureen McDermott, IHM, Ph.D., Superintendent of Secondary Schools, and Mrs. Debra Brillante, Superintendent of Elementary Schools, will participate in “Helping Hands,” sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Partnership with Stop Hunger Now. Additionally, Ms. Maureen McCullough, Regional Director for the Northeast/Mid Atlantic and Ms. Rachael Holmes, Program Officer II, Helping Hands, from CRS will be present. During the “Helping Hands” activity, volunteers come together to learn about the people of Burkina Faso and the hunger they face, to reflect on our Catholic call to address hunger by packaging thousands of meals that will help save lives.
Close to 50 students in the 6th grade class at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Elementary School in Warminster are making preparations to receive the Sacrament of confirmation during the 2016-2017 academic year. Participating in the “Helping Hands” program will go toward the required hours of community service as part of their preparations for this important Sacrament in the Church.
Additionally, approximately 8 students from Our Lady of Confidence Day School’s Bishop McDevitt Site, which is a Special Education school for children ages 16 through 21 year of age, with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays will also take part in the “Helping Hands” program.
Thursday, September 22, 2016 **NEW ITEM ADDED**
Saint Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare (Delaware County):
Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast’s Campus Minister, Mr. Dave Barr, and school President, Dr. John Cooke, Ed.D. will be visiting Saint Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare with 20-25 of students to lead planned activities with the residents. The school has an established relationship with Saint Francis’ staff and residents. Students facilitate activities on a monthly basis throughout the school year.
In addition, Bonner/Prendie administrators have taken steps to challenging all students to participate in intentional and meaningful community service activities. Starting this year, all students will be required to conduct 10 hours of community service: Five hours will be conducted on campus and five hours off campus. Each grade has two staff/faculty mentors who will assist the students in finding approved service projects and logging time. The students will have the entire school year to complete the 10 hours and will be encouraged to go above and beyond the mandatory hours.
In Little Flower’s cafeteria, on Tuesday and Thursday, Community Service Corps will have collection baskets, for four different causes in the area and as far away as Louisiana. Donations will be sent to Sacred Heart Cancer Home, Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, Aid for Friends, and Catholic Charities USA for Louisiana flood victims.
In addition, Thursday, after school, the Community Service Club (CSC) at Little Flower will sponsor a “Back To School, Back to Service” event, which will include writing cards to residents of Sacred Heart Cancer Home, as well as elderly members of the local community who receive Aid for Friends.
Little Flower has created a grotto in its lobby, similar to the one to Mary, Undoer of Knots, at the Cathedral during WMOF last year. Students, faculty and staff will write prayer intentions on strips of yellow and white paper, and they will hang in the lobby as a reminder of their commitment to that intention or a chosen social justice issue.
Friday, September 23, 2016
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery:
Bishop McDevitt High School (Montgomery County) students as part of a week long program commemorating the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia 1-year ago, will pray for the deceased in 3 small groups of approximately 35 students and 2 teachers each for 1 hour each at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Saturday, September 24, 2016 **NEW ITEM ADDED**
Bishop Shanahan High School (Chester County):
During the Week of Mercy the students of Bishop Shanahan High School will focus their efforts on assisting the Missionaries of Charity, the religious community founded by the Catholic Church’s newest saint, Saint Teresa of Calcutta. The Missionaries of Charity, who provide shelter to the homeless, operate two missions within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (Norristown and Chester). Students will participate in “Mercy Starts at Home,” a themed collection drive to provide both shelters with items most needed, including toiletries and socks. These collected items will be delivered to the shelters by students and their families on the weekend of September 24-25.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Saint Hubert Catholic High School for Girls will hold a panel discussion reflecting on the meaning and impact of the World Meeting of Families—Philadelphia2015 and the visit of Pope Francis to mark the one year anniversary of those historic events.
Panelists will include: Ada Tremonte, Associate Professor at Westphal College of Arts and Design, Drexel University, Father Carl Pieber, Director General of the Association of the Miraculous Medal, and Kenneth A. Gavin, Director of Communications of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The program will be moderated by Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review and Founding Director of “Catholic Voices USA.” A brief introduction to the program will be offered by Lizanne Magarity Pando, President of Saint Hubert Catholic High School for Girls. Father Pieber will lead a Holy Hour of Prayer in Thanksgiving for the Holy Father’s visit and for the renewal of the Church in America, prior to the start of the panel, at 5:00 p.m. The Holy Hour and panel are open to all students, parents, and community members.
# # #
Editor’s Note: For information about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit www.catholicschools-phl.org. For more information on Faith in the Future please visit: http://faithinthefuture.com/