A Fond Farewell

This time of the year is often a time of farewells…farewell to the past school year, farewell to this year’s teacher, (farewell to cold weather?), farewell to a school for those graduating, etc.

I had the beautiful opportunity to participate in the 8th grade scholarship interviews yesterday in which a panel of four adults heard from 32 applicants about their plans and what they valued from their experience here at St. Peter’s.  Their parents would have been very proud of them (as I’m sure they are) and I was, too!

Here are a few excerpts from some of their written applications:

“Sometimes it’s hard to live a life of faith, but when you are surrounded by good examples, like teachers, doing the right thing becomes more of a habit.”

“Being able to receive Christ at Mass every day has impacted me the most at St. Peter’s School.  Receiving the Eucharist daily has helped me to know how much God loves me.”WIN_20190515_07_52_01_Pro

“The love here has impacted me the most.  I know that’s one of the corniest things I could have written down, but it’s true.  Every day when I walk in , someone gives me a smile, and makes me glad to be here.”

“The entire staff does everything based on Jesus and I am honored to attend a school where I can pray in freedom and talk about God in the open.”WIN_20190515_07_52_53_Pro

“I would like to win this [scholarship] to save my parents a little bit of money because I would like to help them because they have helped me so much.”

“A couple years ago, I got the idea that if I expressed my faith, or showed that I had a relationship with God, I was ‘weird.’  My relationship with Christ started to become weak.  I need to give some credit to the encouragement I had from my school peers.  I saw their strong faith, so I wanted to strive to be like them.”WIN_20190515_07_52_37_Pro

“I pray to continue to grow in my faith and education at Pius even without a scholarship.”

“I am lucky to have Catholic school as an option and I’m very thankful for the decision my parents made.  The students and staff at St. Peter’s care about you and your future as a Catholic and I’m happy to be able to continue that at Pius.”WIN_20190515_07_56_23_Pro

In addition, many of the students answered the question about their future goals by comments similar to, “Well, first I want to go to heaven…”  It was obvious that this was genuine and not just stated to put on a good show.  I also delighted to hear from the students about the teacher or staff member who made the biggest impact on their lives here.

I would have to second many of the statements and sentiments of these students.  As I move on to St. Joseph’s next year, which I also look forward to, I will miss the family atmosphere I experience here at St. Peter’s and these beautiful children who are striving to grow in their relationship with Jesus.  The great thing is that all of our Catholic schools have the same goal – heaven and union with God!  With that in mind, this fond farewell is made a little easier.

May God bless you and your families and grant you a grace-filled and safe summer!

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Alumni Visit

Typically there are a few seniors from Pius from the advanced science classes who are invited by faculty there to come help us judge the science fair projects.  Mrs. Kelly asked the students from her class to send a note on their experience.  It takes good kids with fire in their soul to recognize the same in others.  I loved their comments and with their permission wanted to share them with you.

Comments from St. Peter Alumni who came back to help judge the Science Fair:

It was so amazing! The kids were all so passionate about their topics, it was really neat to see! Gennie and I couldn’t stay for the final vote due to track practice but we got to judge for our own category.

 For 1st place in the psych category we chose a little girl who’s project was about sleep. More specifically if you could learn in your slumber. She would actually have her test subjects keep a sleep schedule and listen to the Greek alphabet that was set on a timer during time periods of deep sleep or REM sleep for about two hours a night. The next day she would quiz them to see how many letter of the Greek alphabet they knew and would tally their responses. It was a cool experiment but she disproved her hypothesis because she came to conclude that you cannot actually learn in your sleep. Of course other kids had cool experiments as well like this one boy’s experiment on age affecting perception and memory. He made a video of 12+ different people preforming certain activities and afterwards he would ask his test subjects questions from the video about tiny details that occurred. Then he would chart how many adults and kids got the questions right, it was also pretty fascinating! 

Anyway sorry for the long email, I’m usually not one to type up long paragraphs but all these kids did such an amazing job I wanted to explain at least a few of them! Overall it was really fun to be apart of, thanks for the opportunity!! 

 

It was super fun! There were a lot of projects on optical illusions and some on the relationship between the brain and eyes. It was fun to see the different levels of understanding the kids had of the scientific method. Some did a really great job of finding a large sample size and avoiding bias, others struggled more. It was a good experience!

Thanks for your help, it is good to see those who walked our halls a few years ago maturing so beautifully.  God be praised.

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Second Place

“It kind of doesn’t seem fair that St. Joseph should have to let his wife get all the attention on his feast day!”  At Mass this morning, Fr. La Rue made a comment in similar words, indicating that the beautiful procession of First Communicants and Eighth Graders dressed in their finest, everyone in the school bringing forward a flower for Mary, and Marian hymns being sung seemed just a little out of place on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which we celebrate today.  It’s like putting him in second place.

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However, he went on to remind us that Mary and Joseph are saints in heaven – there is no competition or rivalry there – where everyone rejoices in the good of one another.  With God’s grace we are called to do the same here on earth.

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Healthy competition is still a good thing for us, and for our children.  To try your hardest, do your best, tests your limits, it can be helpful to have others there to challenge you.  But in the end, the glory goes to God for His gifts and the abilities that He gives to us and to others.  The key – and this is the hard part – is not to find our identity in what we can do, but rather in who we are as God’s beloved sons and daughters.  When that is solidly in place, we can actually rejoice when others “win” or are acknowledged for something that they have accomplished.

Yesterday, we had the Science Fair for students in grades 6-8.  There were many categories and many ribbons for first and second place, along with overall winners of the whole competition.  We rejoice with those students!  At the same time, we acknowledge the fun, the learning and the beauty that made up each project and the gifts of each student.

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The virtue of humility recognizes the truth of who we are before God.  Like Mary, may we each proclaim in our own way, “The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name!”  And like St. Joseph, may we also rejoice in how the Almighty has done great things for others.

God bless you in this beautiful month of Our Lady!

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The Guard Has Changed

Join me in welcoming and praying for Mother Margaret Mary, our new Mother General.  We also thank Mother Joan Paul, who after 25 years of service as Superior General of our congregation will step down from her office, and continue to bless the community and the Church with her service and consecration as a CK sister.

2019 council

Mother is here in the center of the picture with her new council.  (Left to right:  Sister Mary Gabriel, Sister Anne Joelle, Mother Margaret Mary, Sister Mary Angela and Sister Mary Alma)  Hey, I just realized all these Sisters have significant roots here at St. Peters.  Sister Anne Joelle (as principal) and Sister Margaret Mary (as 2nd teacher) opened our school here in 1991!

Sister Mary Gabriel and Sister Mary Angela both taught 5th grade here.  Now Sister Mary Angela is our Assistant Principal.  Sister Mary Alma was here for nine years between my first and second nine year stint.  Pray they and we as CKs can continue to serve the Lord, His Church and your families well.  That is our deepest desire along with belonging totally to Him.

May Jesus who brings the fullness of life to us find open hearts.

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Local Rock Stars!

Hearing of Charlie Easley’s escapades in basketball this year, made me proud of one of our own!  To make a long story shorter, Charlie Easley, Hayden Higgins, son of our former teacher Jodi Higgins, and Austin Jablonski came by to talk to our older students today.  I felt like a proud mom, grandma.

BB Charlie and company.The boys met with me earlier and we reviewed a few questions we planned to use and figured out a few things that would be really good to bring out in the assembly.  The young men shone, and the students attended well to voices that spoke with the authority of a peer only a few years ahead of them.

Highlights from the content (paraphrased as best I could to their words):

Charlie:  “Treat everyone well.  You never want to look back and need to be sorry for not being kind to someone. If you just get to know people, it’s easy to treat them well.”  Also, “Every class matters, you will like some better than others, but they all matter

Austin:  “Be sure and learn, not just get good grades.  There’s this test called the ACT, you need to have learned, it doesn’t care what your grades were.”

Hayden:  When asked about being Homecoming King and his recent Hero award at Pius.  “I don’t really know why, you just try to be positive and kind…”  The other fellows describe Hayden as giving “soul” to the basketball team and helping sharpen them.  When asked about that, they said, “You see him being kind to others, it makes you want to do the same.”

I pray it was a moment of grace for all involved. 

BB guest group shotThanks, Charlie, Austin and Hayden for taking the time to come here and speak to our kids. 

May the Good Lord bring to fulfillment the good He has begun in you!

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Family Spirit

Family spirit is very evident here at St. Peter School!  Family spirit comes from shared experiences and looking out for one another because we care for each other.  Monday mornings can be tough to get back into routine after the weekend, but right away some beautiful interactions jumped out at me.

First, the Junior High musical, Annie, was a huge success last weekend!  With only five weeks of rehearsals (albeit intense ones) these young people really came alive to portray the plight of a little orphan girl as well as the scoundrels who wanted to take advantage of her.  Enjoy a few highlights below.

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But behind the scenes is the love and dedication of our school family, including the parents and parishioners who generously put together the 2,000-piece puzzle called the stage, provided the artistic backdrops, the snacks at the rehearsals, the post-program cast party, etc.  To top it all off, Monday morning found many of our 5th-8th grade students eagerly donning gloves to carry off the stage parts and get the gym back in order so classes could have PE.

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Secondly, as a way to celebrate April Fool’s Day, the teachers and staff enjoyed “Maui Monday.”  Although there was no obligation, people got into the festivities by dressing in Hawaiian shirts, providing pina colada’s (non-alcoholic, of course) in the faculty room and the lunch crew even decorated the cafeteria tables with streamers and real pineapples!  What a fun day!

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IMG_7377.jpgFinally, a beautiful connection happened between a first grader and a seventh grader.  The first grader, Pria, just got a back brace to help correct her scoliosis of the spine.  (This is no small matter since she needs to wear it 22 hours each day for about the next 9 years!)  To help her with the transition, Ava, a 7th grader, came by to talk with her about her own back brace and how it works (Ava will only have to wear hers for about another 3 years).  It was powerful to see how this young junior high student was willing to be a support and mentor for this first grader in facing a tough life challenge.ava-and-pria-4-2019-e1554215741883.jpg

It is just this kind of family spirit that makes our Catholic school such a blessing for everyone involved.  Here, children and adults, faculty and staff, parents and parishioners all support one another on our journey “through this life to the Kingdom of Heaven.”  It brings tears to my eyes to witness this love in action.  It also reminds me of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, “This is how all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)  As we continue on our Lenten journey, may our eyes and hearts be open to see, to give and to experience this love.  God bless you!

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Changing of the Guard

April 23rd will be a unique day in the life of our Sisters.  For the past 25 years, Mother Joan Paul has been our Superior General.

mjp final vowsMother professed perpetual vows in 1984 (pictured here with Bishop Flavin) and was initially appointed as Mother General by Bishop Flavin, our founder, in 1994.  We were founded in 1976, and for the first 19 years were under the leadership of Bishop Flavin who delegated much of the daily governance to the IHM (Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) Sisters from Immaculata, PA.  In 1994 the last of the IHM Sisters who helped us get started, returned to PA, and Mother Joan Paul was appointed.  We then elected Mother in our first Chapter of Elections in 2001, we re-elected her in 2007 and did the same in 2013.  After 25 years of service to our community as Superior General, she will be handing off the reins on April 23, when we have our Chapter of Elections and choose a new Mother General from among our Sisters.   (I wonder if that’s what she is thinking about in this recent picture below.)

The mjp outdoors dk blueword I heard from the junior high children was that a new community of Sisters was coming next year.  It seems a good time to write for four reasons:

  1. To dispel the falsities. A new community is not coming, we CKs will be back!
  2. To collect a few prayers. The Holy Spirit is in charge, and we are working at listening.  Prayer should accompany the process.
  3. To inspire confidence in the process. We CKs have a strong founding charism and are striving to be faithful daughters of the Church, so you don’t need to wonder about crazy changes after the elections.
  4. To thank Mother Joan Paul for her many years of faithful service! If you’d like to send her a note, please do!

Mother Joan Paul

Villa Regina Motherhouse

4100 SW 56th Street

Lincoln, NE  68522

God bless us all and thanks for adding a prayer for us when you think of it.

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