Maine Catholic Schools Week 2020 (January 26-February 1) celebrates the mission of Catholic schools: to evangelize students by nourishing faith and encouraging academic excellence while accentuating the importance of community and service in a nurturing environment. During the week, each school holds a variety of fun activities, family gatherings, and service projects. Below you will find a list of the events taking place at Catholic schools in Maine for this year's celebration!
All Saints Catholic School, Bangor
All Saints Catholic School in Bangor will kick off Catholic Schools Week by handing out prayer cards to parishioners at the weekend Masses of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, of which the school is a part. Parents and students will speak during the Masses to thank parishioners for their support. On Monday, January 27, students will dress as their favorite literary or movie character and begin their weeklong "Together, We 'CAN' Fight Hunger" food drive, an initiative to collect as many canned goods as possible to be donated to the Bangor Ecumenical Food Cupboard. The organization has served citizens in need since 1975, distributing food on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from its home at the Hammond Street Congregational Church. Letters of thanks will also be written to the volunteers of The Attic, the local thrift store which donates its proceeds to the school. On Tuesday, January 28, the students will wear patriotic colors and write cards and letters to thank active military and veterans. A schoolwide spelling bee is also scheduled. On Wednesday, January 29, students will wear their traditional school attire and visit local retirement communities to spend time with residents. On Thursday, January 30, students will put together mismatched outfits and participate in a curriculum fair from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at both campuses. On Friday, January 31, students will wear the jersey of their favorite team, club, or school and welcome family members to a special lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students will also create cards of thanks for teachers and staff members to hang on their classroom doors.
Cheverus High School, Portland
Cheverus High School will launch its Catholic Schools Week celebration with the Ignatian Family Mass at St. Joseph Church in Portland on Sunday, January 26, at 5 p.m. Cheverus, Our Lady of Hope Parish, and St. Brigid School will come together with parishioners to celebrate the Jesuit works in Portland. Each day, Cheverus will focus on one of the five qualities of an Ignatian Leader (Freedom, Humility, Consolation, Sense of Direction, Discernment). In addition, the money raised during "dress down days" throughout the week will support the Semper Fi Fund, which supports combat wounded, ill, and injured. The Cheverus community was introduced to this organization through Craig Grossi, a combat veteran and Jesuit-educated author of Craig & Fred, which students have read this year. A Concert for a Cause at the school on Tuesday, January 28, at 2:30 p.m. will also support the Semper Fi Fund. This concert will feature Fr. Bob Pecoraro, SJ, and the Ignatian Formation, a band made up of talented musicians from the Cheverus community. Other special events planned for the week are "Donuts for Breakfast Day," a letter writing event for veterans, a volleyball game featuring students and faculty, and the unveiling of a new showcase displaying all of Cheverus' missions.
Holy Cross School, South Portland
During Catholic Schools Week, the Holy Cross community in South Portland will hold a penny challenge with all proceeds benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with a critical illness. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes. Each penny put in a classroom’s money jar is worth a point, but the value of each silver coin or dollar bill is subtracted from the total. The aim, then, is to stuff your own classroom’s jar with pennies, while tossing in nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars in the jars of your competitors. In addition to the penny challenge, Holy Cross School will kick off its celebration of the week with a Mass and reception at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough on Sunday, January 26, at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome! In addition, prayer services will be held throughout the week honoring different parts of the school community: mothers (Monday), teachers (Tuesday), students (Wednesday), vocations (Thursday), and fathers (Friday). Each prayer service will be followed by a reception until 10 a.m. Teams comprised of at least one student from each grade (PK through Grade 8) will wear their team's color all week and compete in different fun "competitions" each day from 1 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. Other Catholic School Week activities include a door decoration contest, trivia, an ice-skating trip, a pizza lunch, and a family dance.
Mount Merici Academy, Waterville
The Catholic Schools Week fun at Mount Merici Academy in Waterville will begin on Saturday, January 25, with a "Celebrating Our Families" Italian dinner at the school from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The dinner is in celebration of the feast day of St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline Order. Throughout the week, students at Mount Merici Academy will collect items to be donated to the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter as part of the “Together, We Can” Homeless Shelter Drive. Students in each grade, from pre-K through grade eight, have been given a different item to donate, including tissues, toilet paper, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, and socks. The items will be used to assemble personal care kits for shelter residents. In addition to the homeless shelter drive, Mount Merici students will also write thank you notes to women religious in the area and parishioners at Corpus Christi Parish, Christ the King Parish, and St. Joseph Maronite Parish for their support of Catholic education. Fun activities are also planned for the week, including a massive book fair, a bracelet contest, a door decorating competition, student vs. faculty/staff contests, a schoolwide prayer service, student presentations on St. Angela Merici, creation stations, a bowling field trip, bingo, a school spirit day, and clothing theme days like crazy hat and sock day.
St. Brigid School, Portland
St. Brigid School in Portland will join forces with Cheverus High School, also in Portland, to host an Ignatian Family Mass on Sunday, January 26, at 5 p.m. at St. Joseph Church on 673 Stevens Avenue to celebrate the Ignatian heritage of both schools and to launch their Catholic Schools Week celebration. All students will attend in uniform. On Monday, January 27, St. Brigid students will make cards for homebound individuals and nursing home residents and the school’s penny competition will begin with all proceeds from the contest going towards winter boots for refugees served by Catholic Charities Maine. Catholic Charities Maine’s Refugee and Immigration Services helps refugees and immigrants become independent, productive members of our communities. From cultural orientation and referrals to case management and ongoing support, RIS provides the highest quality professional resettlement and cultural adjustment services to the refugees assigned to its care. Each day at St. Brigid will also have a different clothing theme like silly sock day, patriotic day, and favorite sports team day. Schoolwide games and “competitions” are also slated throughout the week. A coffee and donut social will be held for all faculty and staff on Wednesday, January 29, and students will prepare thank you cards for local clergy and religious on Thursday, January 30. The entire school will head to the Maine Red Claws game on Friday, January 31!
Saint Dominic Academy, Auburn/Lewiston
The celebration of Catholic Schools Week at Saint Dominic Academy has become something that students look forward to each year. Students from the elementary campus in Lewiston (PK-Grade 5) will participate in service and celebratory activities over the course of the week, including writing letters of appreciation to those in their lives who have made their Catholic education a reality, creating and presenting gifts to local charitable organizations, a teacher swap, and “minute-to-win-it” activities. At the Auburn campus (Grade 6-12). students will be spending an afternoon working on projects that help the efforts of a variety of local charitable organizations. In recent years, students have constructed bookcases to be distributed to those in need by Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston. This year, students plan to construct and paint 12 units, although they are tweaking the design since they have heard that the shelves, they made in recent years have been used more for clothing storage than books. In addition, students will be assembling dozens of toiletry bags that have been requested by area homeless shelters, who find that residents often lack necessities. Students and staff also plan to make cookies and breads and to deliver them to local first responders in gratitude for their service. In addition to the service projects during the week, students also take time to write thank you notes to teachers and staff. One of the highlights of the week is the annual Catholic trivia competition, when the entire 6th through 12th grade gathers to watch class representatives battle it out to see which class knows the most about the Catholic faith. The winning grade receives a pizza lunch or ice cream social depending on what they prefer. New this year, elementary students will hold their own trivia competition and join in the spirit of competition. Concluding the week of festivities, both campuses of Saint Dominic Academy will gather together for a morning of activities followed by Mass together with at the Holy Cross Church. Students carry out all of the various roles during the Mass, reading, singing, altar serving, and distributing Holy Communion to their peers.
St. James School, Biddeford
While enjoying the gift of a week featuring fun, games, and community, students at St. James School in Biddeford will also take time to team up with Catholic Charities Maine in helping fellow children develop a love for reading. St. James will collect and donate books to the St. Louis Child Development Center in Biddeford as part of a Mustard Seed Project. The book collection is one of many Mustard Seed Projects conducted by Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program. The projects engage and educate people of all ages in learning the importance of serving one another. The St. Louis Child Development Center offers quality care to infants, toddlers, pre-school, and school-age children, regardless of income. The center delivers early learning programs focused on imparting communication, literacy, and math skills, as well as safe indoor and outdoor activities. During the week, students will also hold a major socks and supply drive for area shelters. As part of the school’s celebration, students will also honor parishioners by hosting a turkey supper following the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Joseph Church on Saturday, January 25. On Tuesday, January 28, veterans will be invited to join students at a schoolwide Mass. On Thursday, January 30, a refugee served by Catholic Charities Maine's Refugee and Immigration Services will speak to the fifth through eighth graders at the school. St. James will also host a variety of special events like Dress like a Mainer Day, Tacky Tourist Day, an academic fair, and a Snowflake Dance on Saturday, February 1.
St. John's Catholic School, Brunswick
During Maine Catholic Schools Week, St. John's students will hold a religion fair featuring projects on display throughout the school. On Wednesday, January 29, thank you and appreciation cards will be prepared by all of the students for the priests who serve in All Saints Parish, of which St. John's Catholic School is a part. The offering of gratitude will extend to parents on Tuesday, January 28, when students will write letters to their parents/guardians to thank them for their Catholic education. St. John's will also lend a helping hand to those who seek assistance at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP) in Brunswick. The MCHPP provides food for hundreds of local families through a food bank, food pantry, and soup kitchen. St. John’s students will fill large donation boxes, each labeled with a specific grade, as part of a weeklong competition that will produce two groups of winners: the grade with the largest amount of donations and the recipients of the food collected. The school will be broken up into teams for fun competitions throughout the week. Each team has a signature color, a representative from each grade (PK through eighth) and a “coach,” who is a teacher from the school. All week, near the end of the day, the coaches square off in “Minute to Win It” challenges, small tasks that need to be completed in a minute or less. The schedule at St. John’s also includes schoolwide bingo, a door decorating competition, basketball, and other special events.
St. Michael School, Augusta
St. Michael School in Augusta will begin its celebration of Catholic Schools Week with an opening Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, also in Augusta, on Sunday, January 26, at 9 a.m. On Monday, January 27, author and illustrator Mary Preble will visit the school and meet with students to complete writing and art projects. Preble is the author and illustrator of such books as Let's Go to the Zoo and Let's Go on a Hike. A bowling field trip is set for Tuesday, January 28, and on Wednesday, January 29, the school community will hold an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The younger students will also take a field trip to a museum on Wednesday. On Friday, January 31, the entire school will receive dance lessons. Students will also engage in a new hobby during the week: hunting for aluminum can tabs. Students will pull off aluminum tabs from soda cans, tennis ball containers, and food cans and place them in boxes around the school. Maine Metal Recycling in Auburn will weigh the tabs, pay the current rate for aluminum, and send the money to the Ronald McDonald Houses located in Bangor and Portland. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine provide housing for families who have a child being treated at a local hospital. Since 1983, the Ronald McDonald Houses in Maine have comforted and cared for thousands of sick children and their families. The proceeds will be presented to representatives from the Ronald McDonald Houses at a schoolwide assembly on Friday afternoon.
St. Thomas School, Sanford
Students at St. Thomas School in Sanford will participate in a number of special and memorable activities each day, but it’s the weeklong collections they will lead that faculty hope will make an indelible impact. The students will collect food donations for the St. Thomas Backpack Program, which fills backpacks full of items for students in need who attend area schools. The items include snacks, cereal, soups, and other food. In addition, the students will collect change for Camp Waban to support its work. Located in Sanford, Camp Waban offers programs that allow people of all abilities to boat, swim, hike, and enjoy other outdoor activities. Students will also make Valentine's Day cards for residents at local nursing homes and veterans and will send cards to those preparing for the priesthood and other vocations in the church. St. Thomas School will also take time to thank parishioners with a community breakfast on Sunday, January 26, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The students will hand out bookmarks to parishioners at weekend Masses as well. Different clothing theme days are scheduled for the school, including a clash day, comfy clothes day, best dress uniform day, blue and white day, and relax and glow day. Field trips, like a trip to the bowling alley, and fun "competitions" fill the schedule, which also features a silent auction at the Town Club on Saturday, February 1, to celebrate St. Thomas alumni and raise money for the school.