Campus Ministry News
By: Geri Pitti
Thank you for your prayers for the Faculty/Staff Reflection Day. The faculty and staff worked at the St. Louis Area Foodbank in Earth City in the morning inspecting and packing products into supplemental food boxes. Then after enjoying lunch together, Sr. Mary Pezold, CCVI, alumnae of ‘54 and former principal of IWA, presented a reflection on how we can continue to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We ended the day with a Prayer Service focusing on our call to serve others and live the mission of Incarnate Word Academy.
Thank you for your prayers for the Junior Retreat. As part of their day, the Juniors listened to speaker, Michael James Mette, as he led the girls in song and talked about the importance of service and giving of oneself in the service of others. Then the Juniors reflected on their special gifts and talents as well as on their upcoming service project in May. After working in small groups to prioritize things that they value in life, the class together decided on five values that represent their class. The girls then created sand bottles to symbolize these five chosen values, including one large glass piece that will be used at their Ring Day Ceremony and all through their Senior year at IWA.
On Wednesday, March 9 we will celebrate Ash Wednesday as we begin our journey towards Easter with an all school liturgy. Father Tim Cook, from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, will be our celebrant. With prayer and music, we will mark the beginning of the Lenten Season as we are called to fast, pray and perform service. In addition, as part of Fine Arts Week, some of the girls are making two Lenten banners, some will lead the singing, and some of the girls in dance class will perform a Liturgical Dance as part of the entrance procession. Everyone will have the opportunity to receive ashes during the liturgy. The ashes that we will receive remind us that we should change our old selfish habits and attitudes, do penance, and put on a new spirit as we renew ourselves to God.
Lent is a time to look at ourselves, do penance, and self-discipline. A good penance would be anything that helps us to become a better person. During the Season of Lent we are called to pray, fast, and perform some personal sacrifice as we journey with Christ through his passion and death to resurrection and new life. It is a wonderful time of solidarity within the Catholic community. It is a period of forty days that begins on Ash Wednesday. The forty days help us prepare for the great feast of the resurrection on Easter Sunday, a very important feast for us Christians.
Jesus went into the desert for forty days to prepare for his mission. Many centuries before that, the Hebrew people journeyed through the desert for forty years before reaching the Promised Land. When people are in the desert, they think about what is most important. So it is easier to pray and think about God. Our Lent is like a desert. During these days we reflect on our faults and try to become more like Jesus. How? First by praying, whether by ourselves or with others. Second by sharing what we have with others, perhaps by giving away something that is ours and by trying to put others first. It's like clearing a space in our hearts and lives so the Holy Spirit can act in us. In short, Lent is a special time of year for growing closer to God and to our sisters and brothers.
Seniors are reminded that their Community Service Cards are due in to the Campus Ministry Office by Friday, March 11, 2011.
On Friday, March 11, the Marian Middle School Committee is hosting a dress down day to help the girls who attend Marian Middle School. This is part of the Girls' High Schools Together Program. All girls are encouraged to participate in this fundraiser and help support Marian Middle School.
On Saturday, March 12 several members of the faculty and staff along with some IWA members of the Board are volunteering at the St. Louis Area Foodbank. It is such a wonderful witness of serving others just as Jesus did!
The Seniors will be taking the NCEA Assessment of Religious Education ACREtest on March 14 during mods 3-4. The ACRE survey was developed by NCEA and provides a means for us to objectively look at our religious education programs to assess strengths and the areas in need of improvement. As a theology department, we look at the test results to assess our religion program and evaluate strengths and weaknesses to continually improve our curriculum.
On March 15, we will celebrate Incarnate Word Day. On that day we remember the Feast of the Annunciation, the day when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was being called to be the Mother of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, and Mary said YES! During our special assembly, five special awards will be given out. The winners of these awards will be announced in next month's newsletter.
The Sister Peter Nolasco Keenan Award is presented to a senior who has clearly lived out the mission as expressed in the IWA mission statement: The mission of Incarnate Word Academy is to challenge young women of faith to achieve their God-given potential as academically successful Women of the Word, following the example of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, by promoting human dignity, thereby empowering themselves and others to make a positive impact on our world.
The Sister Pat Kelley Award is presented to a senior who has contributed to society and school, as Sister Pat Kelley did. She is one who contributes to Incarnate Word Academy through thoughts, deeds and actions, shows commitment to family and community, and demonstrates a passion for assisting those who are marginalized and has been able to speak for those who are voiceless.
The Mary Reilly Award is given in honor of the years of service that Mary Reilly gave to IWA as a secretary. All members of the IWA community are eligible for this annual award: students, faculty, staff and administration. The qualities of spirit, support and service demonstrated throughout the year are key qualifications for the recipient.
The Archbishop May Service Award is given to a senior who is recognized for her extraordinary achievement in service above and beyond that required by the school. All seniors that submit a two–three page essay describing their service experiences for the past four years are eligible for this award. The person selected for this award must be an outstanding example of someone who has demonstrated on and off campus her sincere and never ending desire to assist and serve others.
The Lisa Orlet Leadership Award is given to a senior who has shown strong leadership qualities throughout her four years at Incarnate Word Academy.
The Juniors are looking forward to their time in the community when they will be volunteering and performing their nine days of community service in the month of May. The Juniors will be serving at more than 60 sites in the St. Louis area.
The Freshmen and Sophomores are reminded that their community service hours are due in to the Campus Ministry Office in April – (April 8 for the Sophomores and April 15 for the Freshmen).
This year IWA is focusing on different virtues each week in our Journey of Faith as we follow in Jesus' footsteps. The past few weeks we have focused on the virtues of peace, perseverance, honesty, and trust. We are called to be people of peace living in harmony and agreement with one another. We are called to practice the virtue of perseverance knowing that Jesus, the Incarnate Word will always be by our side helping us to face the challenges of life. We are called to practice the virtue of honesty so that others will believe what we say and who we are as people of God. We are called to trust in the Lord and he will always take care of us and answer our pleas.
Here are some service opportunities for interested students:
- Beyond Housing Progress in Bloom is happening on Saturday, May 14, 2011. Volunteers are needed to help plant flowers in the Wellston and Normandy areas. IWA has participated in the Beyond Housing project for the past two years. So I am looking for girls to participate in this service project with me again this year. Just come to the Campus Ministry office to sign up or to get more information.
- Walk for Wishes is moving to Queeny Park this year. The money collected for this walk benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, 2011. So please let me know if you would like to join IWA's team and make a difference in someone's life.
- Marygrove Child Center is looking for students to volunteer and be a Faith Partner to one of the children at Marygrove. Please see me for more details or call Mary Klevorn @ 314-830-6225.
Meditation: We continue to reflect on our theme: Following in His Footsteps! "Decisions, decisions, decisions. It sometimes seems that all we do is make decisions. Some decisions may be simple; others may be complex. Yet sometimes the right choice may be obscure. We need someone to help tell us what to do. When we face decisions of all kinds, we should make sure to predicate our choices on our decision to follow the Lord. He will show us how to follow in his steps. Following the Lord means living your life the way he wants you to, yielding to his control in every situation. When we consistently walk with the Lord, we will find clear direction, joyful hearts, and the assurance of God's presence in every circumstance.”
(selection taken from Footprints by Margaret Fishback Powers)
Praised Be the Incarnate Word. Forever. Amen.