PORTLAND---"The purpose of our schools is to educate the whole person grounded in our understanding of who we are. Our schools strive to help our young people to see the ties they have with others, and the responsibility they have for each other.”
The words of Bishop Deeley describe the faith and benevolence on display each day at Catholic schools in Maine, kindness and commitment to service renewed through projects completed over the course of the last month at many of the institutions.
St. Michael School, Augusta
Fresh off assembling and distributing hundreds of Thanksgiving baskets to community members in need, students at St. Michael School held a collection for the Salvation Army Giving Tree that raised nearly $500 for the organization. In addition, one kindergartener made and sold Christmas cards on his own and donated all the proceeds to the Giving Tree, which provides gifts to local children in need at Christmas. The school also spread cheer by singing Christmas carols to the seniors at the Howell House.
All Saints Catholic School, Bangor
Students at All Saints Catholic School in Bangor collected over 1,200 pounds of food over the past few weeks and delivered it to the Bangor Ecumenical Food Cupboard, helping to feed hundreds of local families at the holidays. On December 8, to commemorate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the students held a “baby shower” and collected clothes, medicine, sippy cups, wipes, pull ups, baby grooming kits, thermometers, brooms and dustpans, storage bowls and containers, and many other items for Shepherd’s Godparent, a free, residential shelter in Bangor for young women who are pregnant and in crisis, including homeless women.
St. James School, Biddeford
Students at St. James gathered and donated baskets and baskets of snacks to help over 60 students in Biddeford who are experiencing homelessness. Students, staff, and community members contributed food items like cereal, cookies, chips, granola bars, juice boxes, and fruit snacks that were assembled by the eighth graders into baskets of food for children living in shelters, hotels, and houses of their friends. In addition, the school is currently holding a collection for monetary gifts that will be sent to Catholic Charities in Kentucky to help victims of the recent tornadoes in the area.
St. John’s Catholic School, Brunswick
Students ran a successful food drive at the school, collecting nearly 900 pounds of food that was donated to the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. In addition, students participated in a poinsettia drive that resulted in poinsettia plants being given to nursing homes in Bath, Brunswick, and Freeport. The students also renewed what has quickly become a beloved tradition at St. John’s: posting messages of thanks and gratitude outside the police station, fire station, the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, and many local businesses.
Saint Dominic Academy, Lewiston/Auburn
To commemorate the Feast Day of St. Nicholas on December 6, students at St. Dom’s made Christmas ornaments for both St. Martin de Porres Residence and St. Catherine of Siena Residence, which serve homeless men and women in Lewiston. Both the Auburn and Lewiston campuses got into the spirit of the day, wearing red and even donning Santa hats to celebrate.
St. Brigid School, Portland
Carloads and carloads of outerwear, boots, car seats, toys, and more were delivered to Project Outreach in South Portland to help spread cheer to asylum seekers, refugees, and area homeless. The massive collection was held by St. Brigid students to assist the program which connects vulnerable and homeless populations to resources during the pandemic.
Cheverus High School, Portland
The school hosted a special Wreaths Across America celebration on December 12. Cheverus student volunteers from the Key Club, the swimming and diving team, and the wrestling team welcomed the convoy and special guests. The Key Club also prepared over 100 snack bags for the members of the convoy that took the wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. In addition, the school participated in its annual Thanksgiving drive, preparing hundreds of Thanksgiving meals for delivery and distribution to area families. The event exceeded 10,000 pounds of collected food that went to hundreds in need.
St. Thomas School, Sanford
Students partnered with St. Thérèse Food Closet to assist 40 local families with food this holiday season, fulfilling requests for a variety of food items and other goods. The St. Thérèse Food Closet is located in the St. Ignatius Gym on 25 Riverside Avenue in Sanford and feeds hundreds of local adults and children each week. The collection provided the bulk of the items used for the food closet’s Thanksgiving baskets as well.
Holy Cross School, South Portland
A group of Holy Cross students came up with the idea for “Project New Orleans” to help Catholic schools and students’ homes in New Orleans that were damaged during Hurricane Ida. The Diocese of New Orleans determined that their greatest need was to help families of their schools with tuition assistance, since the school damage was being repaired by their insurance funds. A goal of raising $850 was set, but thanks to the generosity of school families, the total cleared $1,000.