October 22, 2014

Vocation Day 2014

For the past 24 years, St. Christopher's School in Nashua has been holding a Vocation Day.  This is a day dedicated to introducing the various vocations in the Church to the students and to encourage them to consider God's call in their lives.  The day begins with Mass, followed by a lovely breakfast for the presenters, and then the students hear from 3 speakers in 20 minute intervals.

I was privileged to be invited to speak again this year.  This was the fourth time I have spoken at Vocation Day and it's always one of my favorite days of the year.  The Mass was celebrated by our superintendent, Fr. John Fortin, OSB, who stressed his his homily that he wanted to be something different every year in school - a fireman one year, a pilot the next, a lawyer, etc.  It wasn't until much later, he said, that he discovered that God was calling him to be a monk and a priest.  He encouraged the students to listen to God's voice and whatever they do in life, do it well.

Following Mass, we were treated to a great breakfast and the presenters had an opportunity to spend time together.  We were then taken to our classrooms.  I first went to a pre-K class along with the president of Bishop Guertin High School and a Sacred Heart brother, also from Bishop Guertin.  We had fun talking to them and at one point I was attacked as I went to high five them!  I told them I was used to it as I have 3 kids of my own who do the same thing to me everyday!  I then spoke to one fifth grade class and two sixth grade classes.  I spoke of my marriage and my job and how money will never, ever make them happy.  Follow your passions, I told them, and God will always provide.

St. Christopher's is one of the premier schools in the diocese and I believe is the biggest Catholic elementary school in the diocese.  Mrs. Clarke the principal does amazing work with such an amazing faculty and staff and supportive parents.  Kudos to them for all they do.

SAINT John Paul II

When our campus ministry office was dedicated in October of 2005 it was named after Pope John Paul II who died in April of that year.  Now that he is Saint John Paul II, we rededicated Campus Ministry today and officially renamed it the Saint John Paul II Campus Ministry Office.  We did it today because today is the first feast of Saint John Paul II.

I ordered a new sign for our front door and put it up today and served cake and soda to the students.  I announced the free cake and soda around 9:20am, the cake was long gone by 9:45am!

Wishing everyone a blessed feast day for our patron saint!

October 20, 2014

The Trinity difference

Each year on the Friday before Homecoming, we have a pep rally in our gym.  The students are dressed in their class colors and they decorate their section of the gym.  At the conclusion, we will gather as one school on the gym floor, hold hands, and together pray the Our Father.  I usually have the honor of leading the prayer but our former colleague Mr. Bielik made a guest appearance and he graciously led us in the prayer.  Mr. Bielik and his wife are heading off to Ecuador in January as part of the Peace Corps.

Mrs. Henning took this great picture of the school in prayer.

This is what it's all about, folks.

"To whom much is given…"

Today we added group photos of all the major mercy trips we sponsor - Browning, MT, Guatemala City, and Philadelphia - to the Campus Ministry office.  I wish I took group photos of our March for Life trips over the years but alas.  I also added a Blackfeet Nation flag (the people we serve in Montana) and pictures given to our Guatemala mission groups by a local artist there.

My next goal is a mural of a number of holy men and women!

From left to right, the groups are Montana, Guatemala, and Philadelphia.

October 19, 2014

Cardboard City - 0100 hours

When I entered education in 2006, I never thought I would be sitting in the school gym at 1am on a Saturday night!  But, it's nights like these when I remember why I do what I do.  Tonight is Cardboard City IV, our annual fundraiser for New Horizons for New Hampshire.  Over 75 students are on the front lawn of our school (none are sleeping though it seems!) experiencing homeless for a night.  They also raised funds from families and friends and all of the proceeds will go to New Horizons.  
Students began arriving around 6pm to set-up their cardboard homes for the night.  We then went into the gym at 8pm for Sunday Vigil Mass celebrated by our chaplain, Father Richard Dion.  He spoke of his own experiences as a seminarian serving homeless people in Baltimore, bringing them sandwiches and soup.  One woman said to him, "You really care about us, why?"  One of the seminarians said, "Because we are bringing God's mercy" (or something to that effect, I can't recall the precise quote but it was very moving).  He also said another homeless woman told a fellow seminarian that she was going to commit suicide that night but the fact that the guys brought them food gave her hope.  

Following Mass, the students were treated to pizza by my friend Dan Puopolo.  Dan bought them pizza last year too and graciously offered to do it again this year.  We then all watched the movie "Rudy."  Fun fact - Mr. Sheehan '79 of our math department was at the Notre Dame game when they filmed the final scene in the stadium.

Now the students are outside talking, throwing balls around, and some are playing basketball in the gym.  We will wrap up in about 5 1/2 hours at sunrise.  Please pray for these amazing young people and the generous adults who are staying up with me tonight.

October 18, 2014

Perfect timing

Tonight is Cardboard City IV and today's tweet from Pope Francis could not be more timely:

October 17, 2014

Prayer of the day

Dear Lord,

I want to thank You for everything that You've blessed me with in my life.  I am very fortunate for my family.  Please pray for all the people and their families that homeless.

by a student