National Catholic Schools Week logoCatholic school communities throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are marking the national observance of Catholic Schools Week through Feb. 6.

The week, with the theme “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,” celebrates the Christ-centered education that students receive in the 121 elementary, 17 secondary and 4 special education schools in the archdiocese.

Following Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in September, schools in the archdiocese have been inspired by his call to witness the example of Christ by serving others. Among the many activities to be held during Catholic Schools Week, several schools in the archdiocese are highlighting the Year of Mercy that the pope called for last year. Schools will put mercy into action by supporting their local communities, the poor, the sick and others in need through service projects and fundraisers.

Selected Catholic Schools Week events in the archdiocese include:

Monday, Feb. 1

Holy Trinity School201 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Morrisville (Bucks County)

10:15 a.m. — Holy Trinity will hold a special assembly on the topic, “What are the Special Olympics?” Students will receive a real-world connection to this global sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The assembly will include guest speakers who have taken part in the Special Olympics program.

Keith and April Hallaran and their daughter and Holy Trinity Pre-K student, Sarah Maddie, who herself is a child with Down syndrome will give a presentation to the entire school on the Special Olympics.

In addition, throughout the week students will have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets on donated prizes for the school’s third annual Carnival of Prizes. All proceeds from this school-wide fundraiser, sponsored by the faculty and staff of Holy Trinity School, will benefit the Special Olympics.

St. Maximilian Kolbe School300 Daly Drive, West Chester (Chester County)

7:50 a.m. — Students at St. Maximilian will celebrate service in their community through a “Penny Wars” collection competition in support of the Kolbe Fund. Named for St. Maximilian Kolbe, the fund is a charity unaffiliated with the parish or school and founded by a Chester County family. It that helps defray the costs of travel and lodging for families whose children need extensive medical care locally or anywhere in the country.

Every class has a large penny jar. All the jars are displayed on tables in the cafeteria. Each morning, as children enter the building, they will add pennies to their own class’ jar but put the silver coins in other classes’ jars. When the jars are tallied, the total amount of silver coins is subtracted from the total amount of pennies.

St. Pius X School204 South Lawrence Road, Broomall (Delaware County)

8:45 a.m. — In honor of “Mission Awareness” day at St. Pius X School, students, faculty and staff will spend the day focusing on mercy and its mission by offering prayers for the needy, making monetary donations and holding various service projects including, a collection by the Student Ministry school club for Mothers’ Home in Darby. The residence provides a safe haven for vulnerable pregnant women in crisis who choose life for their baby.

The Student Ministry will coordinate the collection of all donation items including diapers, baby-safe laundry detergent, gift cards and monetary donations with each of the grades. Next week parents will be asked to help the children transport the donations to Mother’s Home.

Corpus Christi Catholic School: 920 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale (Montgomery County)

9-11:30 a.m. — For Corpus Christi School’s continuing 50th anniversary celebration, students, faculty and staff will spend a day doing outreach work within the community. The day will consist of service projects including preparing breakfast bags for Aid for Friends, a non-profit organization that serves those in need in the five-county Philadelphia region with home-cooked meals, delivered by volunteers; assembling “baby bundles” for The Baby Bureau, an organization that helps to assist new mothers by clothing babies in the Philadelphia region; and writing cards for the retired religious sisters and lay people who devoted their lives to service of the church at St. Joseph Villa Nursing Home in Flourtown.

St. Monica School2500 South 16th Street, Philadelphia

10-10:45 a.m. – St. Monica School in South Philadelphia will celebrate its community through several activities throughout the day including students in grades K through eight assembling breakfast bags to be donated to archdiocesan Catholic Social Services agencies, Nutritional Development Services and St. Monica Center.

In addition students in the seventh grade class have also coordinated a school-wide bake sale, from which all proceeds will benefit a local Syrian refugee family, as well as other refugee families in the community.

SS. Simon and Jude School: 6 Cavanaugh Court, West Chester (Chester County)

9 a.m. — It is a week of events in appreciation of everyone related to Catholic education at SS. Simon and Jude. Events on Sunday during and after Masses helped the parish show their appreciation by joining a book fair, as well as presentations and an Open House at the school. Monday, Feb. 1 is a day for parent appreciation and Career Day presentations. The week wraps up with a day for teachers and staff, including breakfast served by students, on Friday, Feb. 6, along with an Open House and early dismissal.

Tuesday, Feb. 2

St. Michael the Archangel School: 130 Levittown Parkway, Levittown (Bucks County)

11 a.m. – St. Michael the Archangel will hold a “Salute to Our Military” appreciation assembly. Local veterans as well as current servicemen and servicewomen from the Levittown area have been invited to attend. Students will celebrate the dedication of military service members through songs and entertainment.

In addition to the assembly, students, faculty and staff will also hold a collection drive. All items collected will support local servicemen and servicewomen and veterans. The sixth grade students will then deliver the items as part of their community service hours in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation.

Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School: 401 North Easton Road, Willow Grove (Montgomery County)

10-11 a.m. and 7-8 p.m. — New student registration is open at Queen of Angels for parents with children entering Pre-K through eighth grade in September.

Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls: 1000 West Lycoming Avenue, Philadelphia

9-11 a.m. — Students, faculty and staff at Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls will honor and show their appreciation for first responders in the community including members of the Philadelphia Police, Fire and EMT departments with an informal welcome and reception in the school lobby. Invited guests include alumnae who now serve as first responders.

Administrators, teachers, Student Government, National Honor Society and other student leaders who are available will greet, thank and socialize with guests.

St. Laurentius Catholic School1612 East Berks Street, Philadelphia

9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. – Eleven graduates of St. Laurentius Catholic School who are currently attending archdiocesan high schools including Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls, John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, Roman Catholic High School for Boys, Father Judge High School for Boys, and Mercy Vocational High School will spend the day at St. Laurentius.

The students’ duties vary throughout the day, but include speaking with the upper grades about their various elementary and high school experiences, acting as aides in the classrooms, reading to the children in lower grades and generally interacting with students throughout the day.

Holy Family Home, Little Sisters of the Poor: 5300 Chester Ave, Philadelphia

9:30 a.m. —  John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School has recently been collecting coffee for Holy Family Home, a residential facility for elderly poor in the City of Philadelphia, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. On Tuesday, a group of students will deliver the coffee and spend time with the residents. The students will also perform a small variety show with dancing and singing for the residents.

Wednesday, Feb. 3

Nativity of Our Lord School: 585 West Street Road, Warminster (Bucks County)

1:25 p.m. — Nativity of Our Lord School will showcase its students, faculty and staff as a Community of Service during Catholic Schools Week. All students from Pre-K (3 and 4 years old) through eighth grade will take part in a service project to provide bagged lunches to the men of St. John’s Hospice, the Catholic Social Services shelter for men located in center city Philadelphia.

Prior to assembly and delivery of the lunches, students in grades one through eight will hear from a Ted Wahl, Nativity of Our Lord parishioner and regular volunteer at St. John’s Hospice.

Assumption Academy: 135 Fairfield Lane, Strafford (Chester County)

10-11 a.m. — Preschool and Kindergarten students at Assumption Academy are holding a week-long service project during Catholic Schools Week called Pennies for Patients. Each day students, faculty and staff will collect and bring in a different coin denomination.

On Feb. 3 students and their teachers will collect and sort dimes. All proceeds from the coin collection will be donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Eastern Pennsylvania.

St. Aloysius Catholic School: 220 North Hanover Street, Pottstown (Montgomery County)

1:30 p.m. — A special Living Rosary assembly will be held at St. Aloysius School for children in grades one through eight. The students will form the decades of a rosary by holding a lit candle to represent each prayer.

St. Mary Interparochial School: Fifth and Locust Streets, Philadelphia

1 p.m. — Students in grades K through eight will work together in small “prayer family” groups to complete a service project for the Veterans Multi-Services Center (VMC), a comprehensive resource center available to all military veterans in need. The students will create snack bags for the VMC to distribute to the veterans it serves.

St. Joseph/St. Robert Catholic School: 850 Euclid Avenue, Warrington (Bucks County)

9 a.m.-12 noon — Interested families and the community are invited to an Open House to explore St. Joseph/St. Robert School, which offers Catholic education from Pre-K to eighth grade. The school has an option for five half-day or full-day Pre-K and Kindergarten.

Thursday, Feb. 4

Archbishop Ryan High School: 11201 Academy Road, Philadelphia

10 a.m. — Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will join senior leadership from Faith in the Future and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education, as well as students, faculty and staff of Archbishop Ryan High School for a special public announcement related to the contract with Faith in the Future, the organizations that oversees operation of the 17 high schools and four schools of special education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.   

Friday, Feb. 5

Cardinal O’Hara High School1701 South Sproul Road, Springfield (Delaware County)

2:30 p.m. — Cardinal O’Hara High School will close out its collection drive in support of the “Souper Bowl of Caring,” which is a national collection drive that uses the excitement surrounding the NFL’s Super Bowl to mobilize youth in a united effort to care for people in their local communities who are hungry and in need.

The cans collected throughout the week from students, faculty and staff will be weighed and the results will decide the winner of this year’s “Delco Cup” between Cardinal O’Hara and Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill. Results will be announced on Monday, Feb. 8.

Cardinal O’Hara’s collection will be donated to the Hibernian’s Hunger Project in Philadelphia, which is sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), the oldest Irish-Catholic lay organization in America. Its aids worthy projects on a state, county, and local basis. Last year, Cardinal O’Hara and Bonner-Prendergast collected a combined 2,200 cans of food.

St. Francis of Assisi Church: 136 Saxer Avenue, Springfield (Delaware County)

9:30 a.m. — At the closing Mass for Catholic Schools Week and the Week of Mercy at St. Francis of Assisi School, students, faculty and staff will bring a can of food to the church and fill boxes in the sanctuary to fulfill the work of mercy, “feed the hungry.” These cans will then become a part of the “Souper Bowl of Caring,” a food drive taking place in parishes and schools throughout Delaware County. St. Francis School’s collection will go to the Bernadine Center in Chester, which provides a helping hand to low-income residents in the Chester area by distributing emergency and supplemental food and supplies.

Throughout the week students were asked to bring in donations and perform community service to carry out the theme of mercy.

Our Lady of Mercy Regional School: 29 Conwell Drive, Maple Glen (Montgomery County)

9-11 a.m. — The fifth grade students from Our Lady of Mercy will sponsor the school’s fourth annual THON. Modeled after Penn State University’s annual dance marathon, this “mini-thon” is a student led, fun-filled event that will raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, which assists families battling pediatric cancer at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. During the mini-thon the Phillie Phanatic will visit students and there will be a faculty vs. eighth grade volleyball game.

St. Matthew Church: 3000 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia

9:30 a.m. — Throughout Catholic Schools Week St. Matthew School students will collect donations for Mother of Mercy House in Philadelphia, one of the newest ministries in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which serves the poor and marginalized in the Kensington area.

During a prayer service being held at the conclusion of the week, students will present Father Joseph Devlin, co-coordinator and Sister Ann Raymond, I.H.M., of Mother of Mercy House, with their donations. Father Devlin and Sister Ann will then speak to students, faculty and staff about the work of Mother of Mercy House.

Visitation B.V.M. School300 East Lehigh Avenue, Philadelphia

12:15 p.m. — In honor of Catholic Schools Week, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Nutritional Development Services (NDS) will honor Rose Siegle, school meals manager at Visitation B.V.M. School in the cafeteria during the lunch period. Siegle has been serving the children of Visitation School for 23 years. A presentation and token of appreciation will be made to her by NDS administrators. For 40 years, NDS’ mission has been to serve children and those in need with food and food-related resources.