NW Missouri Catholic Schools celebrate with service

St. Francis Xavier School students invited adults from United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) to play games during Catholic Schools Week January 27-February 1.  Additionally, St. Francis Xavier School raised funds for UCP and Liberian school children. (Photo courtesy of St. Francis Xavier School)

By Sara Kraft

The Catholic elementary schools in Northwest Missouri decided to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, January 27-Feburary 1, by giving back to the greater community. “It is part of our call to discipleship to serve and help others. We raise our students to look up and see what the needs of others are. Additionally, we want to give back to our community for all the good things we have been given. We know it makes the world a better place,” said Pam Brobst, Principal of Bishop Hogan Memorial School in Chillicothe.

Each school chose a service project as unique as their school. In Maryville, St. Gregory School decided to say thanks to soldiers who are currently serving our country, as without their sacrifice we would not be able to enjoy our freedoms. St. Gregory students collected funds to make care packages filled with snacks, personal hygiene items, clothing, and thank you cards. Care packages will go to the 935th Aviation Support Group, a Missouri Army National Guard Unit with soldiers from around the state of Missouri. The unit provides support, including maintenance, communication, and fuel to aviation units within their area of operations. This unit includes Sergeant First Class (SFC) Paul Thompson, from Maryville. The hope is to send five packages to allow SFC Thompson to distribute items throughout his unit. Typically a unit consists of approximately a hundred personnel.

“As a soldier who has deployed twice in his career, I can tell you the reward of sacrifice comes from knowing that those you serve care and appreciate your service,” explained eighth grade teacher Jeremy Cobb, retired military with 29 years of service in the Army. “It does not matter what items we put into boxes, what truly matters is the prayers and love that go into putting the boxes together. We are saying to those soldiers that we care about them and we appreciate what they are doing.”

Bishop Hogan Memorial School in Chillicothe hosted a food drive. Additionally, the kindergartners, first graders, and second graders made cards for volunteers. Third and fourth graders visited a local nursing home and played games and visited with the residents. Fifth graders also made cards. Sixth graders helped serve lunch to the less fortunate at the House of Prayer. Seventh and eighth grade students volunteered at the Community Food Pantry to help organize and cleanup. Additionally, students sent a spiritual bouquet of 108 Our Fathers and Hail Marys to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles located in Gower, Missouri.

St. Francis Xavier School in St. Joseph had penny wars to collect funds for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in St. Joseph and funds for Liberian School children. Last fall, St. Francis Xavier sent six barrels filled with leftover school supplies, books and clothing over 5,600 miles to Liberia. Each barrel cost $600 to ship, and the barrels went to school children in Liberia who have difficulty affording school supplies. They hope to send another shipment this summer. They raised $2088.23 to split between the two charities. Additionally, St. Francis Xavier School hosted adults from United Cerebral Palsy to play games in the parish center on Monday of Catholic Schools Week.

“Being with other people that have disabilities is fun because you can’t control how you are going to be born. People should always be treated fairly with respect and be kind of fun,” explained 3rd grader John Fuson. “I actually had a really lot of fun playing with my friend today.”

St. James School in St. Joseph collected and donated items to the local animal shelter. Items brought in included doggie biscuits, toys, and pet food. “This cause was chosen because many times organizations like this are overlooked but there is still a need there,” explained Principal Gerre Martin. Students also donated board books and wrote letters to families and patients at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Cathedral School in St. Joseph chose to collect items to be donated to the Pregnancy Resource Center such as diapers, wipes, bottles, bibs, blankets and more. “It gives us great joy to give back to a cause that we hold near and dear to our hearts,” explained Principal Rebecca Evans. Students filled the back of an SUV with the items collected.

Cathedral students learned from the project. Third grader Natalie Roetto explained, “It feels good to help other people.”

Seventh grader Grace Pfister exclaimed, “The prices were extremely high. It kind of worried me because not everyone’s family has enough to buy diapers.”

“We need to spread the word (about the needs of the St. Joseph Pregnancy Resource Center),” stated seventh grader Kenzie McGinnis. “It doesn’t just have to be our school. It can also be family members and neighbors.”

Catholic Schools Week showcases the work our Catholic Schools are doing to form our children, and projects like these lie at the heart of what it means to deliver a Catholic education. “We are not only educating our children in the classroom,” explained Principal Evans, “but also forming them into good Christians with the desire to serve others.”

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Tuesday
February 19, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph