January 25, 2015

Catholic Schools Week 2015

The last week of January each year is Catholic Schools Week, a week set apart to celebrate Catholic schools.  As always, we have a series of events and class activities scheduled for Catholic Schools Week at Trinity High School.  They are:

Monday: Passing out coffee and donuts to parents as they drop off their children as a small way to thank them for sending their children to our school

Tuesday: Trinity Trivia Crack - a Trinity version of Trivia Crack, a game all the students are playing

Wednesday: Student dress down day and make your own ice cream sundaes during lunch

Thursday: Staff dress down day and lunch for staff

Friday: Mass with special guest choir from Saint Michael's College

In addition, each of the four classes is taking part in a special activity that connect us to our wider community and history:

Seniors: Tour of St. Joseph Cathedral on Monday and Tuesday

Juniors: Making sandwiches for New Horizons

Sophomores: Writing notes to all men and women religious in the diocese

Freshmen: Composing our daily morning prayers for the week

January 23, 2015

March for Life 2015

Another amazing March for Life is in the books.

The Trinity Pilgrims for Life
On Wednesday morning at 5am, 44 Trinity High School students, parents, and teachers headed off to Washington, DC to stand up for life.  We stopped along the way at a rest stop in Milford, CT and also for about 3 hours in New York City.  Once in New York, the kids broke off into groups and got to spend a few hours touring and eating.  My group, as most groups of teenagers do, wanted to go to Times Square.  We visited the M&M store, the Disney store, a make-up store, and soaked in the sights, sounds, and lights of Time Square.  I always say that when in New York, you should never eat at a fastfood place or chain restaurant but given the time constraints we had, we ate at a food court type place.  They did have a Tim Horton's which makes amazing donuts so I did indulge in those.

We were back on the bus around 2pm and then headed off to our host schools.  Our trip almost got interesting when a truck in front of us on the New Jersey Turnpike blew a tire and somehow his gas tank ripped open and gas started pouring out.  Our amazing bus driver Dominic avoided the truck and got us around it.  If we were five minutes behind that truck, we would have been stuck for hours as I am sure they had to shut down the road with all that gas.

After a brief stop at a rest area in Delaware, we arrived at our host schools at 6:30pm.  For years, we have been staying at Elizabeth Seton High School (girls) and DeMatha Catholic High School (boys).  The schools never charge us a penny (although I send them a donation) and will often provide some breakfast food.  We dropped the girls off first (along with some pizza) and then the boys headed over to DeMatha.  The boys stayed in DeMatha's new athletic building which is breathtaking.  We usually stay in their main building but this year they had us stay in the new building which was a little more "open" for the kids to walk around and burn off their energy.

We were all up early on Thursday morning and on the bus by 6:30am.  We went to the DC Armory for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life, the highlight of the trip really.  The DC Armory is the secondary site as the main Youth Rally is held at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington.  The Armory is about 2 miles from downtown and is next to RFK Stadium.  The rally is a combination of music, prayer, witness talks, etc. with a Mass following at 9:30am.  They also had confessions available and I took advantage of the opportunity.  The group from Ste. Marie's Parish in Manchester (over 100 kids and adults) was also there and many former Trinity parents were there.

The procession of bishops, priests, and deacons is always impressive at this Mass and our seats were right in front of it so the kids got a close-up view.  There were over 100 priests, dozens of deacons, and about 10 bishops.  The celebrant of the Mass was Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston.  The Mass always begins with an introduction of all the bishops in attendance and the youth from their dioceses always go crazy.  The homily was preached by a local priest and the music was provided by Josh Blakesley Band.  You can watch a video I made of the procession at this link.

After the Mass, we headed into downtown Washington for the March for Life.  There was a metro stop right next to the Armory but given the large crowd of people going into the station, we decided to walk instead.  It was a mild day weather wise so the walk was very pleasant.  We walked past the U.S. Capitol and towards the National Mall.  I am not sure where the march actually begins, we just usually jump into the crowd at some point along the route.  We saw a huge crowd at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and another street (I forget which one) so we joined there.  It turned out to be the front of the march so we jumped in there and were done relatively early.  We are usually stuck towards the back and it takes forever to get started but this time we were one of the first groups done.  The crowd was huge and the best part is when you get to Capitol Hill and turn around and see the massive throng of people behind you witnessing for life.

After we finished, most of us then headed to Union Station for lunch and then a group of us went down to the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights are on display.  Most of the kids have seen these but I never had so I was very excited.  We were back on our bus at 6pm and after a stop at a rest stop in New Jersey and another in Massachusetts so the driver could get coffee, we were back at Trinity at 3am.  I live 40 minutes away from Trinity so I just stayed at school and slept in my office.  Luckily I was woken by students in the hallway as I slept through my alarm!

This was a great trip and I was helped by Mr. Sheehan '79 and many parents.  The students were wonderful witnesses for life and made the trip very enjoyable.  I am grateful for them for giving up comfort and sleep for 46 hours and for being a part of the biggest annual rally in Washington, DC.  Here's to next year's trip!

January 19, 2015

Morning at the movies

Today as our nation marks Martin Luther King Day, our entire school community went to the Hooksett Cinemagic theatre to see the film "Selma."  The movie chronicles the efforts for a Voting Rights Act and the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

We began our day with homeroom and once the buses arrived, we all piled in and went to the theatre. We were all able to fit in one theatre and once the lights went off, the kids didn't make a peep, they were very, very attentive and didn't talk at all.  The movie is very powerful, especially the scenes where police brutally (and in some cases fatally) beat marchers.  The actor who played Dr. King was brilliant and seemed to truly capture the man.

We headed back to the school around 11am and now have an abridged schedule for the rest of the day.  This was the first time we've tried something like this and it went off without a hitch.  My biggest hope, of course, is that the students have a deeper appreciation for this moment in American history and truly understand the power they have.  Many of the people who led the civil rights movement were college students, young people who didn't wait until they were older to try and change the world.  There is, as Dr. King said, a fierce urgency of now that we must confront.

January 18, 2015

Art contest

Each year, the Diocese of Manchester sponsors a multimedia contest for students in our Catholic schools.  The theme of the contest revolves around the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a social justice and anti-poverty program of the United States Catholic Bishops.  Students are invited to create projects that raise awareness of poverty.  Mrs. Krassowski of our art department does a fine job having her students create projects, one of which this year was a huge yellow line that had "POVERTY" written on it.  It was placed in the hallways last week for students to ponder.

You can see all of the wonderful submissions here.

January 13, 2015

Off they go

Last Saturday, the seven students from Saint Anselm College who were staying at Trinity High School departed our campus.  The students were taking part in the college's Winter Break Alternative program and spent a week working at the International Institute of New England, an organization that helps immigrants and refugees.  The students slept in our Alumni Hall conference room and used our other facilities for meals, showers, etc.

I am grateful to the Bourque, Dufour, and Murphy families for providing the students with homemade treats each day.  I am hoping we can host students again next year, we always enjoy having them with us and it's opportunity for me, in a way, to return the favor as so many other schools have hosted our students on the March for Life and other trips.

January 10, 2015

To the movies

Each year on Martin Luther King Day, we have a special assembly for Peace and Justice.  We also use the opportunity to bless our students going on the March for Life.  This year, however, we are doing something a little different.  First, we are having a one-day used clothing drive to benefit the McDonough Elementary School which is just around the corner from Trinity High School.  McDonough is the former Immaculata High School which merged with Bishop Bradley and Saint Anthony's High Schools in 1970 to form Trinity High School.  For a few years, the former Immaculta building was used for Trinity students before being sold to the city in the mid-1970's.  McDonough has a number of low income students and they have a room where they keep clothing for the students and their families called the Kid's Closet.  We wanted to help them out so students are invited to bring used clothing to the school on that day.  You can read more about the Kid's Closet here.

Secondly, the entire school community will be going to the movies to see the new film "Selma."  The film, as you may know, chronicles the March on Selma and the efforts for passage of the Voting Rights Act.  We've never done something like this in my time at Trinity so I am excited to so something different - and to expose our students to that period of history.  Just yesterday Cardinal Sean O'Malley wrote about the film on his blog and encouraged people to see it.

You can watch the film's trailer below:

Another job

Congratulations to our chaplain, Father Richard Dion, who was named the Dean of the Amoskeag Deanery by Bishop Libasci.  The Diocese of Manchester is broken down into nine deaneries and the dean provides oversight and assistance to the parishes and priests of that deanery.  The Amoskeag Deanery is made up of the parishes in Auburn, Bedford, Goffstown, Litchfield, and Manchester.

Don't despair, Father Richard is still pastor of St. Anthony's and the chaplain of Trinity High School!  With this new position, Father Richard's new title is Very Rev. Richard Dion, V.F. (V.F. stands for vicar forane, another title for dean).

Congratulations to him and the other eight new deans.