Joy was found in writing the prayer

Frances Shields

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

GLADSTONE, Mo. — St. Andrew the Apostle School eighth grader Frances Shields has always enjoyed writing, but this time writing brought her joy.

When she and her classmates heard about the Catholic Schools Week prayer writing contest before Christmas break, she thought of a theme she had heard in camp over the summer — JOY. It took her about 10 minutes to write the prayer and turn it in. She never dreamed her prayer would be selected by Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., to be the Catholic Schools Week prayer, and prayed by all Catholic schools in the diocese Jan. 27 – Feb. 2, 2019.

Each school sent their best prayer to the Catholic School Office, where they were narrowed down to five. Bishop Johnston received those five from the Catholic School Office by email. He selected Frances’ prayer, and when St. Andrew’s principal Tony Calcara was informed, he scheduled a surprise assembly on Jan. 14 to announce it. He had secretly told Frances’ mother, Sara Shields, Middle School English Language Arts teacher at St. Andrew’s, so she could take photos at the assembly. He said she was tearful and very proud of Frances, as he was. In fact, the whole school was her fan club that day — the winning prayer gave the entire school a day off, which will occur in April.

Frances said the assembly was “really cool!” She enjoyed the proud text message her father sent, saying he “bought her ‘Pringles,’” one of her favorite snack foods. Her brother Owen, Director of Frassati Academy, a Catholic high school hybrid experience for boys focusing on academic rigor, civic participation, charity and spiritual formation, located at St. Andrew’s, was also proud of his sister, as were all her other siblings.

Frances is a busy young woman, thinking about high school, her activity-filled last-semester-in-grade school: student council, yearbook editor-in-charge, clubs, sports and the spring musical.

Reflecting on her prayer, she said, “It’s not just my prayer. It gives glory to God so it’s everybody’s prayer!”

The prayer can be found on the front page of the January 25, 2019 Catholic Key.

Dear Jesus, There is joy
in praising, joy
in loving, joy in serving,
joy in caring, joy in
sharing. As we reflect
and celebrate our
faith this week, may we come to serve, not
only ourselves, but each other and most
importantly God the Father. Help us to find
the joy that comes through praising,
serving, caring, and giving
as we live our
lives in you, Amen.


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November 29, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph