November 24, 2015

Power Breakfast

Each year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, New Horizons for New Hampshire has a fundraising breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester.  The event features a who's-who of New Hampshire political, business, and religious leaders and there are over 700 people in attendance.  Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and Mayor Ted Gatsas were at the head table and Bishop Libasci attends each year as well.  We are invited to attend every year to assist with the sales of raffle tickets and collecting pledge cards.  Two of our students also helped out last night for two hours helping to set the room up.

The breakfast features a variety of speakers, including the governor, senator, and mayor, a person who has benefited from New Horizons, a business leader, and a clergy member.  Charlie Sherman, the executive director, MC's the breakfast and leads the pledge drive and raffle.  Charlie publicly acknowledged the Trinity students and also talked about our Cardboard City event which of course benefits New Horizons.  He told the crowd that Trinity holds a special place in his heart!  Our kids were full of smiles!

Charlie also announced that New Horizons will be partnering with Families in Transition and will staff their brand new kitchen and meal center when it opens next year.  Our National Honor Society has a nice relationship with Families in Transition and we look forward to seeing if we can assist with them with the meal center.

The breakfast concludes with an award ceremony and we usually sneak out at the very end of that part so as to beat the crowd and traffic.  We are always so honored to play a very small tole in this event and I personally look forward to attending each year, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it for me.

November 23, 2015

Best day of the year

The line-up of Thanksgiving Baskets
The Monday before Thanksgiving has always been a special day at Trinity High School.  It is on this day each year that our school community donates hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Thanksgiving baskets to the good people of Blessed Sacrament Parish and the Parish of the Transfiguration, both in Manchester.  A few weeks back, we distributed laundry baskets to the entire school community and asked them to bring them back today filled with items for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Bishop Libasci blessing the baskets

Our goal this year was 500 baskets - 120 for Transfiguration and the rest for Blessed Sacrament.  Transfiguration requests a set amount each year and we like to give about 350 to Blessed Sacrament.  Unfortunately, we didn't meet our goal but our students and the students of St. Joseph Regional Junior High School did bring in over 400.  The baskets were dropped off in the morning and lined our front lawn throughout the day.  At 9:30am, we all went outside and Mr. Mailloux '72 offered a few words of thanks and said that moments like this are reminders of our Catholic mission.  He then introduced Bishop Libasci who was kind enough to join us.  He too extended his thanks and then blessed the baskets and all those present.  His blessing was a variation of the traditional Prayer before Meals but changed it a bit at the end saying, "...from the bounty of the Pioneers..."
At Blessed Sacrament Parish 

After school, tons of teachers, students, parents, former parents, and one alum helped load the baskets into cars, minivans, and trucks and we brought the baskets to the two parishes.  I joined in on the caravan to Blessed Sacrament where we were greeted by the pastor, Fr. John Bucchino, OFM and many volunteers.  After we brought all the baskets in, we took a group picture and Fr. John offered his thanks and a blessing to everyone.  Fr. John said how impressed he was with the energy everyone had bringing in the baskets but said what matters the most is the energy of their work to feed the hungry.

The Thanksgiving traditions continue tomorrow and Wednesday as a number of students will help out at the New Horizons Thanksgiving Breakfast tomorrow morning with we will celebrate our annual Thanksgiving Mass on Wednesday.  This is truly the best week of the year!


November 20, 2015

Makes this old government teacher cry (well, not literally)

In addition to my work in Campus Ministry, I have the pleasure of also teaching in our social studies department teaching AP Government and Politics and AP US History.  This has been a very satisfying week for this old government teacher:

1. We had our kick-off meeting for our Youth and Government program on Tuesday and had 30 students show-up

2. One of my students turned 18 this week and went straight to Manchester City Hall that morning to register to vote.

3. Two of our students were at Dunkin Donuts yesterday in Manchester during their senior privilege and ran into someone you might know (who then put the picture on his Twitter feed!):

Campus Minister Gathering

Three times a year, the campus ministers at the four Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Manchester get together at our various schools.  We began these gatherings last year at Bishop Brady High School in Concord and last Friday we got together at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover.  Unfortunately, Linda Fairbanks from Bishop Brady could not be with us this time so it was a meeting with me, Mollie Kerrigan from Bishop Guertin High School and Shawn Gregory from St. Thomas.

It was only my second time at St. Thomas, the first time being a few years back when our entire faculty went there for a guest speaker.  The school is located just off of Rt. 16 and is a sprawling campus.  They have their old sports fields and the school building is very big (I am a tad jealous!).   They also have another building that used to be the residence for the sisters that worked there that is now administrative offices and classroom space.

We began our morning together with prayer in the school chapel followed by coffee and fellowship.  We then just really sat around and shared ideas, talked about what our schools are doing, bounced ideas off each other, etc.  It was very informal but a nice opportunity to just be together, share our successes and struggles, and get new ideas.  I always look forward to these opportunities.

November 19, 2015

Where there are religious there is joy

As you may know, Pope Francis declared a Year of Consecrated Life from November 2014-February 2016.  This year was set apart to celebrate the work of women and men religious and to thank them for their vocations.  Last spring, as part of this Year, we sent notes to every woman religious in the Diocese of Manchester.  The students thanked them for saying yes to God's call and for serving our local Church.  This week we sent out similar notes to all of the men religious in the diocese.  Sadly, there are less than 60 of them and many of them are the monks from Saint Anselm Abbey.  But, it was a chance for us to let them all know how grateful we are to them and for their many years of service.  

We are going to conclude the Year of Consecrated Life by inviting the local religious communities, especially the ones from orders who taught in our Catholic schools, to our Catholic Schools Week Mass in February.  

We of course also formally launched our 3-year discernment period with the Christian Brothers this fall, a very fortuitous time.  Speaking of which, the order is holding its annual Huether Conference in Chicago this weekend.  The conference is an opportunity for educators from Lasallian schools from around the country to come together to discuss and learn about innovations in education.  Mr. Maurier '72 of our science department and Mr. Nunnally of our theology department are attending the conference on behalf of Trinity. Ironically, Mr. Maurier is the most senior teacher on our staff and Mr. Nunnally is the most junior.  We look forward to hearing about the conference at our next faculty meeting in December.

November 18, 2015

One of ours

This past Sunday, Nicholas Capobianco '15 organized a prayer vigil at the University of Scranton for the victims of all the recent terror attacks.  Nick was one of the finest people to come through Trinity High School in recent years so this was certainly no surprise.  The local news in Scranton covered the vigil and interviewed Nick.  You can watch it below:

Thanksgiving Baskets 2015

I was just speaking with Mr. Sheehan '79 of our math department who said that the proudest moment of the year for him is on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  That is the day that our school community brings in laundry baskets filled with food for Thanksgiving dinner.  For over 10 years now we have collected the baskets for the good people of Blessed Sacrament Parish and the Parish of the Transfiguration, both in Manchester.  After school is over, we have a caravan of students, parents, and alumni who help bring the baskets to the parishes.  It is indeed one of my favorite days of the year.

If anyone is interested in helping out with the Thanksgiving Basket Drive, here is what we are collecting: