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Catholic Schools: Nourishing the seeds of faith

Posted By February 16, 2017 | 7:06 pm | Featured Article #2
Dressed to represent what they’d like to be someday, students at St. Aloysius Catholic School in Gilbertville examine their new calculators during Catholic Schools Week career day Feb. 2. Clockwise from front are Mackayla St. George (singer), Hannah LaRochelle (nurse), Anthony Adams (military police) and Annika Mason (professional soccer player).
Tanya Connor | CFP
Dressed to represent what they’d like to be someday, students at St. Aloysius Catholic School in Gilbertville examine their new calculators during Catholic Schools Week career day Feb. 2. Clockwise from front are Mackayla St. George (singer), Hannah LaRochelle (nurse), Anthony Adams (military police) and Annika Mason (professional soccer player). Tanya Connor | CFP

St. Aloysius students hear about careers ranging from moms to farmers

By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press

GILBERTVILLE – A farmer struck a familiar chord with students at St. Aloysius Catholic School when she talked about raising chickens.
Kristin Bohan was one of several people who shared information about their jobs during the Feb. 2 career day for Catholic Schools Week at the new elementary school.
Father Richard A. Lembo, pastor of St. Aloysius Parish, talked about his priestly vocation Feb. 3 at Mass, said school director Roberta McQuaid.
On career day most students dressed up to show what they’d like to do when they grow up, she said. Among choices were dirt bike rider, game warden, gymnist, real estate broker, “forever students,” and yes, teacher: “I think kindergarten.”
Angela Mason, a school parent who works in the office, sat on the floor with the younger students and tried to involve everyone in learning about one of her other jobs – early intervention with children from birth to age 3.
“I go into people’s houses and I evaluate them,” she said. “I test them to make sure they are developing as they should. We bring this really cool tool kit and we play with children.”
To demonstrate, she had Hannah LaRochelle, who was wearing “nurse in training” scrubs for career day, stack blocks.
Mrs. Mason also had the students hold hands, assuring the bigger kids they could do so too. After all, she does, and she’s a “grown-up.” Then she sang with them songs she uses in early intervention.
The students asked her questions.
“Is it, like, interesting to work with little kids?”
Mrs. Mason said she works more with parents, which is interesting since they come from different countries, speak different languages and have different values.
Why did she choose this job?
“I knew right from the beginning of my life that I wanted to work with children.”
Did anyone inspire her to do this?
No, she went to college to become a child psychologist, and learned about early intervention, which was new then.
Students pursued the topic, asking where she went to college, whether she got a good education and what degree she got “up to.”
Next up was her husband, Derrick Mason, who used remote control vehicles to demonstrate parallel parking. (The couple owns Meadows Driving School in Palmer.)
He gave students a written test which he said was similar to what 16-year-olds have to pass to get their permit.
Responding to a student’s observation about drivers swerving, Mr. Mason said, “I’ve seen people shaving when driving.” And even eating a bowl of cereal.
His conclusion?
It’s definitely important to drive while you’re driving.
Mrs. Bohan, of Grass Roots Farm in New Braintree, had her sixth-grade son, Caleb, help demonstrate how they section off pastures with electric fences. That way their cows can’t eat all the grass at once, since “they can be pigs instead of cows.” ”
Some of the free-range chickens like to lay their eggs with the donkey or the pigs, but most use the nest boxes, Mrs. Bohan said. If she cleans the “poop” from the boxes, she doesn’t need to scrub the eggs much, which helps keep them from going bad.
She sells 45 dozen in a couple hours at a farmers market “so I need more birds and that means more work and cleaning out nest boxes,” she said.
They don’t have a rooster; they get their chicks through the mail, she said. When the post office calls to say they’re there, she hears “cheep, cheep, cheep” through the phone.
“We used to have chickens,” said a student. “We kept them in a cage in our garage” at first. Other students also talked about having chickens.
Before the day was over the students got a gift (not a chicken), thanks to another speaker’s childhood interest.
Sara Hunter, whose daughter Kara is a sixth-grader at St. Aloysius, talked about being treasurer for the town of Hardwick.
“Do you have any other jobs?” a student asked, reading one of  the questions the class had prepared.
“My favorite job is I’m a mom,” replied Mrs. Hunter.
“Just write ‘mom,’” prompted a teacher who was helping the students record Mrs. Hunter’s answers.
“Who is your boss?”
“I am an elected official … so my boss is everybody in the town.”
Personal questions included Mrs. Hunter’s favorite color (green and yellow) and whether she has any pets (the ever-popular chickens, as well as cats, a dog and puppies to come).
Mrs. Hunter said when she was about 4-years-old she loved math. Her grandmother kept her busy playing with an adding machine.
She gave the students colorful calculators.
Kathy Knight, one of the teachers, told them Mrs. Hunter had given them a big present, which she expects them to use.
“This is going to be your job,” Mrs. Knight said. “But not on your tests.”

Eighth-grader scores  1,000 points in basketball

By William T. Clew
The Catholic Free Press
WEBSTER – Scoring 1,000 or more points in a basketball career is something many players strive for, but not many accomplish.
Lillian Krysinski, 14, the daughter of Susan and Bernard “Buzz” Krysinski of Thompson, Conn., has done it and she is still in eighth grade.
IMG_0454Lilly plays on the All Saints Academy girl’s team, which plays in both the Route 395 League and the Venerini Academy League in Worcester.
The 395 League is made up of teams from schools in Webster, Southbridge and Northeast Connecticut near that highway, Interstate 395. That’s where Lilly played at first.
Her father, who coaches the All Saints team, said the league had seven teams when she started and now has six. When she first started in the 395 League, she was in about 10 games a season.
But two years ago All Saints joined the Venerini League.  Now, in the two leagues, with regular-season games and playoffs, she has the opportunity to play in 30 or more games a season, her father said.
She started to play basketball in the third grade, he said, but he didn’t start keeping track of the number of points she was scoring until she was in fourth grade.
Her father/coach said she plays the small forward position but is comfortable playing on the perimeter of inside near the basket. She averages 12 to 14 points a game, but has scored more on occasion. He said she scored 350 points last season.
Lilly said her best shot is a jumper from the “elbow.” That is an area on either side of the foul circle 12 to 15 feet from the basket.
She also plays soccer, but basketball is her favorite sport. She has her sights set on attending Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Worcester.
Mary Sivo, athletic director at Venerini Academy, has seen Lilly play in league games. She said Lilly is intense and focused when she plays.
“Her heart is in the game,” Mrs. Sivo said. “She’s a team player and she’s a good sport. She’s a good kid on and off the court.”

Our Lady of the Angels School hosts Bishop McManus

By Tanya Connor
The Catholic Free Press
WORCESTER – Catholic Schools are like soil, Bishop McManus pointed out at a Mass for Our Lady of the Angels IMG_7723School Friday. He was celebrating Catholic Schools Week, observed Jan. 29-Feb. 4.
The bishop said Jesus told a story about a sower just scattering seeds, unlike today, when people plant their backyard gardens one seed at a time. In order to grow, scattered seeds needed good, deep, rich soil, he said.
That’s why our Catholic schools exist – to give God’s word a place to grow in your lives – the bishop told students.
He asked them how many sacraments there are, which one is first and what its main symbol is. We believe that when water is poured and a person is baptized, God plants the seed of faith in that person’s soul, he said. But the seed needs to be nourished, and that’s the purpose of a Catholic School.
The bishop marveled at PowerPoint presentations about penguins that students in another Catholic school made. He said he doesn’t know how to do such things; students today grow up in a world of information.
But, he said, there is a difference between being knowledgeable and being wise; people are not necessarily wise just because they have advanced degrees. Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. One needs to be humble, care for others and listen to the words of Jesus, who said he is the way, truth and life.
Catholic schools carry on Jesus’ mission – to teach the truth, the bishop said. In knowing that truth, people become free.
For Catholic schools to do this, many people make great sacrifices, Bishop McManus noted. He had parents, teachers and other school staff stand, and asked the congregation to join him in thanking them.


By Tanya Connor  | The Catholic Free Press

Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School got a jump start on Catholic Schools Week – last Friday the senior class sponsored a Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus.
Lynette White, liturgical director and head of the theology department, helped organize the Mass. Father James B. Flynn, school chaplain and pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Southborough, concelebrated. Deacon Colin M. J. Novick, of St. Paul Cathedral, was master of ceremonies.
The bishop spoke of Holy Name as a gift to the diocese and the Church. In his homily he talked about the Church starting when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him and they left fishing and father to do so. The founding of the Church changed human history, he said.

Bishop McManus preaches at a Catholic Schools Week Mass last Friday at Holy Name.  Photo by Tanya Connor | CFP

Bishop McManus preaches at a Catholic Schools Week Mass last Friday at Holy Name.
Photo by Tanya Connor | CFP

The Church’s purpose is to change the world with the message of Jesus.
Jesus was called “Rabbi,” or “Teacher,” Bishop McManus said, noting that teachers give students examples. Jesus came to proclaim the dawning of the kingdom of God. To illustrate this abstract concept, he used the example of a small mustard seed. When planted and properly taken care of it grows into a plant big enough for birds to find shade in its branches.



The kingdom of God is alive in the Church today, the bishop said. He noted that Holy Name was beginning Catholic Schools Week, officially observed Jan. 29-Feb. 4 this year, by celebrating the Eucharist, which makes the Church alive. Receiving Christ’s Body and Blood helps people grow, he said. He mentioned a posted sign which says Christ is the reason for the school.
There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom, the bishop said. One cannot be wise without knowing the answers to these questions: “Where did we come from?” (God), “Where are we going?” (to God) and “How do we get there?” (Jesus is the way.)
He told students the school is to help them be knowledgable and wise, and that will help them live life. He spoke of their parents and guardians sacrificing, and the school administration and staff working hard, so they can have the privilege of attending Holy Name.
“I’ll pray for you during this week and I simply ask you to pray for me,” he concluded his homily.
At the end of Mass he thanked Edward Reynolds, headmaster, and the musicians and choir, directed by music teacher Sarah Callinan. He announced that he would give the traditional “Bishop’s Day Off,” which elicited applause.

 St. Anthony teacher: ‘People in many countries don’t have the kind of freedom we have’

By William T. Clew  | The Catholic Free Press

“It was a pleasure and an honor to serve my country so that all of you can grow up in a free country.”
Robert Murchie, eighth-grade teacher at St. Anthony Elementary School, told an assembly of students Tuesday at the school about his service in the United States Army. The program was part of the school’s observance of Catholic Schools Week.
American flags were passed out to all the students as they entered the school auditorium.
Mr. Murchie said each class has made greeting cards for servicemen and women, with an American flag on the front and a message inside thanking them for their service. He said he will deliver the cards to a recruiting station in Norwood, where they will be sent out to the service men and women.13-14 CSW_Logo_Circle_CMYK
Mr. Murchie said he served 13 years in the U.S. Army.  At various times he was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Devens, Mass., and Fort Dix, N.J. In 1985 and 1986, he said, he was stationed in Iceland, where the Army worked with U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force monitoring the North Atlantic. He held the rank of first lieutenant.
He told the students that, during part of the winter in Iceland the sun never rose and during part of the summer it never set. His living space, he said, was just half a tent. One student asked about the food he and the troops ate.
“C-rations,” he said, “food that comes in a can.” That was before the Army started MRGs, meals ready to eat, which are dehydrated meals.
One student asked who the military fights against.
“We fight against people who want to hurt the way we live,” he said.
He said people in the military service all take an oath. He asked if the youngsters knew what an oath was. One said, “a promise.”
“That’s right,” he said, “we all made a promise to protect our country.”
He said that in many countries people don’t have the kind of freedom we have. He talked about the freedom to practice religion and that in Catholic schools in this country “we can learn about God.”
“You can grow up to be anything you want, even president,” he said.

Holding their American flags, students at St. Anthony School  listen to one of their teachers talk about his service to his country and what it means to them. Photo by William T. Clew | CFP

Holding their American flags, students at St. Anthony School listen to one of their teachers talk about his service to his country and what it means to them.
Photo by William T. Clew | CFP

He asked whether any of them wants to be president. Many hands went up and many, especially those in the younger grades, said “yes!” He went through other lines of work – doctor, lawyer, teacher – and hands were raised for each one, though not as many for lawyer and for the other two professions. One youngster said he wanted to be a hockey player. Another said he already is a soccer player.
“We can be anything we want because of the sacrifices of the people in the Armed Forces,” he said. “You can grow up in a free country where we are allowed to make choices. We can disagree with each other and voice our opinions. It is important for us to share ideas.”
He told the students that they should thank people in the military and veterans for their service.
The assembly ended with Mr. Murchie leading students and teachers in the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer for our service men and women and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.