Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic Schools Aid Soldiers, Tsunami Survivors

By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published February 10, 2005

During national Catholic Schools Week, which was celebrated Jan. 30-Feb. 5, many of the schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta chose to focus on service to others and appreciation within their communities.

Catholic Schools Week at St. Jude the Apostle School found students celebrating their many blessings, while reaching out to those serving the country in Iraq.

Students in all grades participated in St. Jude’s CSW project, “Faith in Our Troops,” by bringing in requested items such as candy, chewing gum, baby wipes, powder and sunscreen. The items were packaged, along with cards and letters and handmade rosaries from the students, to send to soldiers in Iraq.

The school has “adopted” Brad Kenan, a soldier who is serving the country with the U.S. Army. Kenan is the grandson of the school’s registrar, Rita Foley. Principal Patty Childs said that having a personal connection to the soldiers has made the war a reality for the students.

“This touches their lives. These young children are living in a very different time, and this is going to affect their lives,” she said. “We wanted to make it real without making it scary.”

Childs said that the students were “so proud” to put together their care packages and cheered when the school’s stage was filled with 550 boxes to send to the troops.

“What better time than during Catholic Schools Week to do this?” Childs said. “Last year we really celebrated with fun days…, but this year we decided that Catholic Schools Week is really the time to say, ‘We have so much. It’s time to give back.’”

Other schools also made CSW a time to serve. The theme for this year’s Catholic Schools Week, as designated by the National Catholic Educational Association, was “Faith in Every Student.” And for many schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, developing that faith means developing the students’ desire to give to others.

At Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Atlanta, students participated in Operation Iraqi Children by collecting and packaging school supplies to send to Iraqi children.

Other schools used CSW as a chance to help those recently affected by the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia. At St. John Neumann School in Lilburn, a used book sale raised over $800 to be sent to Catholic Relief Services.

St. John the Evangelist School in Hapeville has a personal connection those affected by the tsunami. One of the school families is from Sri Lanka, one of the areas hardest hit in the disaster. Students spent each day of Catholic Schools Week praying for the victims, and a fund-raising effort raised over $5,000 for those in Sri Lanka affected by the disaster.

Students at St. Joseph’s School in Marietta made rosaries and cards for a Catholic church in southern India which was devastated by the tsunami. In addition to rosary making, students donated school supplies to the Calvary Children’s Center, a home for foster children, and delivered easy reader and chapter books to a neighborhood elementary school for their English as a Second Language (ESOL) program.

Students from Christ the King School in Atlanta spent all of Catholic Schools Week collecting paper and cleaning supplies as well as food that was delivered to the Ronald McDonald House.

During “Pastor Appreciation Day,” held Thursday of Catholic Schools Week, students at St. Peter Claver School in Decatur made get-well cards and collected canned goods to give to the pastors of their respective churches to give to the shut-ins they visit.

On Wednesday during CSW, Our Lady of Victory School in Tyrone hosted the annual eighth-grade Mass. Eighth-grade students from all the schools in the archdiocese attended the Mass, which was held at St. Matthew Church, the parish that shares its property with OLV.

For many of the schools, Catholic Schools Week was a time to celebrate their love for Catholic education and excitement for their faith. Most of the schools held teacher, parent and student appreciation days, some of which included athletic activities.

At Holy Redeemer School in Alpharetta, student appreciation day included a mini-Olympics, which culminated with a faculty vs. the eighth-grade students volleyball match.

At Queen of Angels School in Roswell, the school’s spiritual life committee presented the community with a special Elijah Cup. The cup was blessed by Father Frank McNamee, pastor of St. Peter Chanel Church, at an all-school Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament for vocations to the priesthood and Religious life. The Elijah Cup will travel to each classroom so that every student is reminded of the importance of vocations and has the opportunity to lift them up in prayer.

At St. Catherine of Siena School in Kennesaw, students celebrated their first Catholic Schools Week with their new leaders, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. For their Catholic Schools Week kick-off, the school had “Dominican Black and White Day,” where students were able to dress out of uniform and in black and white clothes to celebrate the three Dominican sisters who joined their school faculty last year.

For student appreciation day at St. Joseph School in Athens, students were treated to ice-cream sandwiches and a show from professional BMX bikers.

Almost 700 people attended a special Valentine picnic in honor of grandparents during Catholic Schools Week at St. Mary’s School in Rome. Students and their grandparents were treated to Chick-Fil-A lunches from the school.

At St. Thomas More School in Decatur, students participated in Sunday Mass at St. Thomas More Parish. The school also hosted the archdiocesan art show.

Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta encouraged students to learn more about their faith by hosting the Monsignor (Edward J.) Dillon Trivia Bowl. Lower School Principal Jamie Arthur quizzed the children on their knowledge of the Catholic faith. Judging the answers were Msgr. Dillon, pastor of Holy Spirit Church, Father Brian Higgins, archdiocesan vocations director, and Father Paul Moreau, LC, chaplain of Holy Spirit Prep.

In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, there are 18 archdiocesan Catholic schools and five private Catholic schools.