Service is big and important part of passionately living as a Catholic everyday, and so carrying out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy is one of the focuses of PLACE. Our inspiration comes from Paul Shane Spear, who once observed:
"As one person, I cannot change the world, but
I can change the world of one person."
This year, due to various restrictions, especially those for large-group gatherings, the service component will be different but nonetheless significant in the lives of the people whom you are helping. Students will work together with their class and catechist to determine a service project that is meaningful and relevant to them. Catechists will communicate with their class regarding possible extra class time, meetings, etc.
Thank you students and catechists for enriching the lives of so many individuals,
especially during this time of isolation and restriction.
Jesus instructed his disciples, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” As Catholics, we too are called to serve others. During this time of quarantine and uncertainty, our Confirmation PLACE students and their catechists have found creative ways to model Jesus and spread his love and compassion through charitable acts. Here are the contributions that they have made to brighten the lives of those in our community.
Dr. Wira's and Mrs. Holt's 2nd-year students showed their appreciation to the essential workers whose professions put them in daily contact with the public and at greater risk of illness. Workers at Yale-New Haven Hospital on Goose Lane, Madison firefighters, teachers, and janitors were treated to individually wrapped baked goods made and delivered by students in the days before Christmas.
Holiday cheer provided by Dr. Wira's and Mrs. Holt's students.
Mr. Sicignano’s 2nd-year students put their writing talents to work and wrote heartfelt letters of gratitude to healthcare workers at Madison House and to 8 retired clergy of the Archdiocese of Hartford, thanking them for their life work and sharing stories of their lives with them. As John remarked, “The letters were really amazing [and] made me cry too many times.”
Those receiving letters were very appreciative:
"How kind of you to write and to have your students send retired priests a letter of support and thanks." ~ Bishop Peter A. Rosazza
"I thank you for the affirmation of my priesthood! It is something so necessary, this affirmation of others, and something that is done so rarely. Who of us does not like to be affirmed, we look for it and thrive on it? " ~ Fr. Francis Fador
Fr. Fador also gave students some words of encouragement for Confirmation:
"In the sacrament of Confirmation, the Archbishop or his delegate confirms in us our Faith. He uses the words, “Be sealed in the Holy Spirit,” as he anoints our foreheads with the Sacred Chrism. To seal is a powerful word, we seal something to preserver it, to keep contamination from entering, to protect that which is within. All the cans of vegetables in a store are sealed, soda is sealed to be sure the food within will be protected. So, ask yourself what will the Archbishop be sealing in me? What is there within me that needs to be protected so it will last? This does not mean that what is within cannot come out, it means it is so precious we draw special attention to it by this anointing."
Miss Dolan’s and Miss Matkin’s 1st-year students cleaned up the gardens at the Mercy Center in Madison and prepared them for the long, cold winter months—a job normally undertaken by elderly volunteers who were not up to the task given the restrictions in place.
Mrs. D’Urso’s 2nd-year students showed their gratitude to our former military veterans in need, identified by two physicians and former soldiers themselves. Students purchased and prepared individual care packages of basic essentials that included toothpaste, shaving cream, socks, hats, and the like. Care packages were mailed out just in time for the holidays to 5 service members in El Paso, TX.
Mrs. Dowler’s 1st-year students thought about all the children in our local communities who not only were affected by the quarantine and restrictions of COVID-19, but whose families may be struggling financially. They strategically placed bins in several locations to collect toys for the Toys for Tots program in hopes of bringing smiles to the faces of those children less fortunate than them.
Poinsettias, with their stunning red and green foliage, provide a colorful reminder of Christmas and the brightness that Jesus brings to our lives at the end of the darkness of Advent. Mrs. Connelly’s and Mrs. Rathe’s 2nd-year students delivered poinsettias and uplifting notes to their neighbors or family remembers to brighten their holiday in the midst of quarantine and social distancing.
Mrs. Tucker's 2nd-year students went to work writing Valentine's Day greetings for the residents at Chesterfields Rehab in Chester. Their Act of Loving Kindness was successful in showing God’s love to those in need during this difficult time.
Ms. Carrigan' 1st-year students conducted a Parish-wide Snack Drive for Columbus House. Boxes and boxes of snacks completely filled Ms. Carrigan's vehicle thanks to the generosity other students in the program, their parents, and many parishioners. What a treat to the 255+ clients of Columbus House, who are now staying in various hotels in New Haven, Middletown, and New London due to the pandemic.
Thank you students and catechists!