Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


St. Jude Students Prepare for Easter Throughout Lent

Published April 15, 2004

Students at St. Jude the Apostle School participated in many Lenten activities as they prepared for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

Fifth-graders were responsible for the school’s Ash Wednesday Mass, leading the procession and serving as gift bearers, lectors and altar servers. Food collected for their service project for the Community Action Center was presented during the offertory. As a Communion meditation, the class sang “Down to the River to Pray.”

Each week, all classes took part in the Stations of the Cross either in the church or outdoors. The outdoor “Way of the Cross” was constructed by a student several years ago as an Eagle Scout Project.

Shaun Gerblick, first-grade teacher, took her class outside each week. “In preparation for this event,” she said, “we talked about each Station and learned more about that particular moment in Jesus’ Passion. We tried to picture ourselves there with Jesus, Mary, Veronica and Simon. The children are beginning to appreciate Jesus’ amazing sacrifice. Questions have ranged form ‘Why were the Romans so mean?’ to the practical ,‘How heavy was the cross?’”

Second-graders had the opportunity to write prayers emphasizing patience and Lent that were read during morning announcements. This writing was a meaningful experience for them as they just received first reconciliation and are preparing to receive first Communion on April 24.

As part of their sacrifice for their Lenten journey, middle-school students voted to have soup lunches, which they prepared and served on Fridays during Lent. Students contributed money that they would normally spend on their lunches to Operation Rice Bowl, a project sponsored by Catholic Relief Services to raise money for the poor. Judy Guebert challenged her seventh-grade homeroom with a hefty goal of $400. She encouraged students to earn extra money by doing chores, baby-sitting and other activities. They accepted her challenge and actually exceeded their goal. The total amount raised by the soup lunches was $1,000. In addition all St. Jude’s families were given an opportunity to participate in Operation Rice Bowl.

In order to deepen their understanding of the Mass as well as learn about Jewish traditions, fourth-graders participated in a Seder meal on Tuesday, March 30. Students had an opportunity to partake of the traditional foods prepared by parent volunteers. Patty Childs, principal, presided, assisted by Father Marty Kopchik, Ira Lande, several teachers and numerous students. It was a great learning experience for all, bringing the ancient tradition to life.

“Lent, a season for fasting, a season for feasting” was the challenge given to the eighth-grade students in Abby Addison’s religion class. Instead of giving up candy, soda and other sweets, they reflected on ways to experience God in their lives by following the Gospels. One student fasted on jealousy and feasted on gratitude. Another promised to fast from worrying while feasting on respecting and following God’s plan for his life. Even though the students acknowledged that it was a struggle to sacrifice, the reward of inner peace made this Lenten challenge far more significant.

The Living Stations is a long-standing tradition as well as a moving experience for all the students at St. Jude’s. Eighth-graders, dressed in traditional clothing, take on the roles of Pilate, Simon, Veronica, Mary and the Roman soldiers. On Wednesday, March 31, the Passion of Christ was re-enacted in the gym for students in kindergarten through grade three. These meditations were guided and geared toward primary students. A solemn portrayal of the Way of the Cross was presented outdoors on Thursday, April 1, for grades four through seven using the Life Teen script. Jesus carried a large cross representing the burdens of today’s youth and the meditation for each Station was a self-reflection relevant to adolescent issues.