By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published December 23, 2010
A cardboard city was built outside St Michael Church, Gainesville, recently as the parish’s Life Teen and Edge youth groups slept outside to better understand poverty and how to help those in the parish and community suffering economic hardship.
More than 40 teenagers gave up their beds with overnight temperatures in the 30s for the project, said Andy McRoberts, the parish youth director.
St. Vincent de Paul volunteers opened a soup kitchen and supplied hot drinks for the cold youth. The teens were set up in three teams and rotated around three bases—the soup kitchen, the cardboard city and an all-night prayer service with teens praying for those in need.
Meanwhile, parishioners arrived to donate food for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, warm winter clothes for the John Paul 2 Centre and a lot of warm wishes for the teens.
The event concluded with a Benediction service at noon on Saturday. The teens, many of whom stayed awake the whole night, were happy at the sight of the clothes and food donated by the parishioners.
“It was an eye-opening experience for the youth, and also the adult core team, on how difficult living in those conditions actually were, even if it was only for one night,” said McRoberts. “One teen remarked as we were dismantling the cardboard city, ‘I will never look at a homeless person in the same way again. That was tough.’”
A Facebook post by Atlanta seminarian Rev. Mr. Joshua Allen, studying in Rome:
“I received some fun and interesting news today: I will be singing the Gospel at midnight Mass for the Pope. It’s an intimate affair: me, the Pope, and a billion people on TV. I am very excited.”
Receiving a new outfit of clothes, shoes and other needed items, students and their families at Dresden Elementary School and the St. Pius X High School community shared in a celebration of Christmas.
It’s the fourth year in a row for the partnership, which is coordinated by the St. Pius X Mothers’ Club.
This year, St. Pius X helped 150 students from 42 families. All of the children in the family receive gifts. Each child, on average, receives two outfits, a coat, shoes, blanket, a hygiene kit and several toys. Also, the families typically receive gift cards for groceries.
“This project exemplifies the community of St. Pius X. It is not just giving of money and gifts, the SPX community comes together and gives from their hearts to help their less fortunate neighbors to brighten their holiday,” said Debra Coheley, Mothers’ Club member and Dresden Partnership co-chairperson.
St. Pius X students and parents purchase all of the gifts, sort and wrap gifts and staff the pick-up station or deliver the gifts to the parents. Twenty-nine St. Pius X sports teams, clubs and fine arts groups are participating, in addition to the numerous SPX families, groups of students and corporate offices of SPX parents.
St. Pius X and Dresden Elementary have partnered in a variety of ways for several years, including having teacher luncheons and coffees, a school supply drive, and a used coat drive. St. Pius X students also tutor two days a week, serve as Spanish translators for various events, and offer a movement and dance program for the students.
As students at Notre Dame Academy in Duluth celebrated the Advent season, the week of Dec. 6 took on special meaning.
“Having our school named after the Blessed Mother, our students feel a strong connection to Mary,” observed Debra Orr, head of Notre Dame Academy.
The week began with a school-wide rosary, led by eighth-graders.
“We know that through intercession with Mary, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to,” said eighth-grader Clara Gastaldi.
On Wednesday, Dec. 8, Bishop Luis R. Zarama celebrated Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, his first visit with the Marist-sponsored, Gwinnett County independent Catholic school. Through the school’s religion coordinator, Joan Janoszewski, students also learned about the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrated at the end of the same week.
“Celebrating Mary is so important to our school, especially as we prepare for the birth of Jesus,” said Orr.
Students at St. Mary School in Rome did their part to help the annual Toys for Tots Drive, sponsored by the U.S. Marines with help from Floyd County emergency workers.
Becky Motes, the development associate at the school, said the students brought new, unwrapped toys to be donated to children from families in need and loaded them into the back of a Floyd Medical Center ambulance.
Ken Futch, coordinator of the Floyd County Toys for Tots program, said, “Our goal is to collect at least 5,000 toys for distribution on Dec. 18. … We appreciate the students of St. Mary’s and all the people in Floyd County who have helped thus far to make Christmas brighter for the children.”
There are now two Eagle scouts in the Jameson family.
Tim Jameson, a senior at Marist School, Atlanta, is following in his father’s footsteps as he received the highest honor in the Boy Scouts. Tim and his father, Kevin, are the first father and son to receive their Eagle Award in Our Lady of the Assumption’s Troop 21.
It’s been 26 years since Kevin earned his award by building a bridge over the creek next to Our Lady of the Assumption School. The bridge linked the church to the Cambridge Park neighborhood.
Tim built six picnic tables for the Chattahoochee Nature Center to be used for outdoor education.
Both have long histories with Scouting. Tim joined as a third-grader. Kevin has remained active in Troop 21 as an assistant Scoutmaster and committee leader.
Other similarities include Tim and Kevin attending the same schools, first OLA and then Marist, where Kevin is a member of the Class of 1985.
At the award ceremony on Dec. 19, Alvin Townley, author of “Legacy of Honor” and “Spirit of Adventure,” books about Eagle Scouts, was the featured speaker. Alvin has been a mentor to Tim since he was his track coach at Marist School.
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