Maine Catholic Schools Week (January 29 - February 4)

Maine Catholic Schools Week 2023 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 special service projects. Below you will find a list of the events taking place at Catholic schools in Maine for this year's celebration. There is no lack of fun, faith, and family on the schedules!

St. Brigid School, Portland

The festivities at St. Brigid will kick off with a family Mass at St. Pius X Church in Portland on Sunday, January 29, at 5 p.m. The students at the school will process into the Mass together. On Monday, January 30, the school community will wear red, white, and blue to honor America and will honor local veterans with a flag ceremony in the Craig and Dolly Foster Gymnasium at 10 a.m. The color guard from VFW Andrews Post and family members of students who serve or have served in the Armed Forces will be in attendance. On Tuesday, January 31, the students will participate in a life-sized Candyland as well as an obstacle course in the gymnasium. At 1 p.m., students will square off against the teachers in a volleyball tournament. On Wednesday, February 1, the Feast Day of St. Brigid, students will wear green in honor of her Irish heritage or colors of the rainbow in hopes of finding a pot of gold. In Ireland, people leave clothing outside of their homes for St. Brigid to bless on the eve of the feast, so St. Brigid will celebrate by collecting clothing donations for Preble Street Resource Center which will be blessed in the school yard at 8 a.m. The items will then be delivered to the center. On Thursday, February 2, students will participate in a dance contest and renew an old school tradition as "Hot Dog Day" returns, with members of the school community receiving a free lunch. On Friday, February 3, students will dress up as their favorite character from a movie or book and participate in a sing-alongs and Uno tournaments.

All Saints Catholic School, Bangor

All Saints' celebration of Maine Catholic Schools Week will begin with a family Mass at St. John Church on Sunday, January 28, at 10:30 a.m. Students will participate in all aspects of the Mass, and a reception will be held in the parish hall immediately following the Mass. On Monday, January 30, Bishop Robert Deeley will visit each classroom at the school's two campuses (St. Mary's from 9 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. and St. John's from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Monday is also Silly Sock Day at the school, which will also launch the week's service project of collecting pairs of adult socks for a local sock garden that will support the local homeless. Middle school students will package the socks and deliver them to the sock garden on York Street on Thursday. On Tuesday, January 31, each student will wear a shirt honoring their favorite superhero and school parents will be offered coffee and a treat at drop off as the staff sees them as "superheroes." On Wednesday, February 1, different grades will dress in clothes from different decades, and DJ Cori will hold a sock hop dance party for students. On Thursday, February 2, Brian Moynihan, a homeless outreach coordinator, will speak to the students about the importance of the sock donations and the school community will participate in a Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. John Church that will be attended by the students of both campuses. The school's prayer partners will also participate in activities with each other in celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord that day. All Saints will hold an open house of both campuses as well at the St. John's Campus on 166 State Street (Grade 4-8) from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and St. Mary's Campus on 768 Ohio Street (Pre-K to Grade 3) from 5:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. All are welcome. On Friday, February 3, students will wear green and blue (school colors) and participate in a pickle ball tournament before enjoying an early dismissal.

St. James School, Biddeford

The Maine Catholic Schools Week celebration at St. James School will begin with a schoolwide Mass on Saturday, January 28, at Most Holy Trinity Church in Saco at 4 p.m. The Mass will be followed by a turkey supper for all students, teachers, staff, and community members who wish to gather. On Monday, January 30, the school will honor our nation with patriotic songs at morning prayer and by dressing in red, white, and blue. Students will also make Valentine's Day cards for local veterans. The school will also be kicking off a special service project as they collect diapers for asylum-seeking families in Saco. On Tuesday, January 31, the theme of the day will be finding God everywhere in everything we do and will feature a number of different activities. On Wednesday, February 1, the school's STEM projects will be Church-centered, and students will discuss and create projects that explain why St. James is special to them. In addition, students will dress like they would for their favorite activity and classmates will try to guess what they are dressed for. On Thursday, February 2, the students will each write a letter thanking their parents, grandparents, and guardians for sending them to the school. St. James will also host an Invention Convention in the school cafeteria at 1 p.m. and square off against their friends from St. Brigid in a basketball game. On Friday, January 3, the students will wear pajamas and participate in a Rock, Paper, Scissors competition. Each classroom will also get to host and enjoy the classroom party with a theme of their choosing.

Mount Merici Academy, Waterville

Mount Merici Academy will start their commemoration of Maine Catholic Schools Week a bit early to celebrate the feast day of St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursuline Order, on Friday, January 27. The day's highlights include student presentations to the school, prayer services, and a special dessert to celebrate St. Angela at lunch. On Saturday, January 28, the academy will host a "Celebrating Our Families" Italian dinner. Throughout the week, students at Mount Merici Academy will compete in "penny wars" to raise money for the Waterville Soup Kitchen, decorate all of the doors at the academy, and even participate in a contest featuring the baby pictures of staff members. On Monday January 30, the academy will hold a teddy bear relay and dress in blue and white (school colors). On Tuesday, January 31, a Catholic Schools Week Mass will be held for the academy community at 12:15 p.m. in the outdoor Merici Woods Chapel. The week will also include classroom competitions and game days as well as clothing theme days like Crazy Sock Day, Crazy Hat, Day and others. The academy will host a Bingo night on Thursday, February 2, and the staff will square off against the students in a volleyball match on Friday, February 3, prior to a popcorn and dance party. Friday will also be the culmination of a special heating fuel raffle at the academy as all were invited to purchase raffle tickets to receive $500 in heating fuel. To purchase tickets leading up the drawing, call 207-873-3773.

Saint Dominic Academy, Auburn and Lewiston

St. Dom’s has a slew of activities, events, and service projects set for Maine Catholic Schools Week at both the Auburn campus (Grade 6-12) and Lewiston campus (PK-Grade 5). Thanks to the generosity of the St. Dom's community, last year the academy raised nearly $3,000 during Catholic Schools Week to support local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, nursing homes, and hospitals. A fundraiser allowing the students to dress down for the week will cover the costs of the service project supplies for nursing home Valentines, cards, and decorations, as well as support the needs of the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Sabattus and St. Martin de Porres Residence and St. Catherine of Siena Residence, both in Lewiston. The St. Catherine of Siena Residence offers both shelter and hope for homeless women, while St. Martin de Porres Residence does the same for men. On Sunday, January 29, the academy community will gather for a family Mass at Holy Family Church in Lewiston at 5 p.m. The school choir will sing, and students will serve in various capacities during the celebration. On Monday, January 30, the students will complete service projects in theology classes for local nursing home residents, including St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion, Montello Manor, Schooner’s, and others. English classes will write thank you cards to faculty/staff/volunteers. A Winter Carnival and a visit from Mr. Drew and His Animals, Too, takes center stage on the Lewiston campus on Tuesday, January 31, while the older students at the Auburn campus will enjoy ice skating. On Wednesday, February 1, Bishop Robert Deeley will visit the classrooms on the Lewiston campus. Students at both campuses will pray for and recognize local veterans through a special prayer service and other and other activities. On Thursday, February 2, priests and women religious will visit both campuses for a special vocations-themed day that will also include a Price is Right game featuring faculty and students. All students will also wear white in honor of St. Dominic and the Dominicans who founded the academy. On Friday, February 3, students will participate in Mass, a Catholic trivia game, and honor faculty, staff, and volunteers. On Saturday, February 4, the academy will celebrate a “Family Faith Day” with Sister Christianna Hamman, FSE, and Sister Francesca Silver, FSE, in the hall of Holy Family Church from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The theme of the event is “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

St. John's Catholic School, Brunswick 

St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick will welcome Bishop Robert Deeley for the opening Mass of Maine Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 29, at 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church on 39 Pleasant Street. All are welcome. On Monday, January 30, students will dress in Maine apparel; play in a Maine trivia game featuring Fr. Phil Tracy, pastor of All Saints Parish in Brunswick, and many others; display projects for the school’s Religion Fair, and participate in the school’s Variety Show at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, January 31, following a schoolwide Mass, students will welcome different members of the clergy and religious life to discuss vocations with them, including Fr. Tracy, Fr. Peter Shaba of All Saints Parish, and Sister Christianna Hamann, FSE, who is on the staff at St. Dom’s in Auburn and Lewiston. On Wednesday, February 1, the school will welcome WMTW in Portland for a presentation on weather and host a career day for local professionals to come and talk about their careers with the students. On Thursday, February 2, the students and staff will dress in appropriate attire for Hawaiian Day, write thank you letters to their parents and guardians for sending them to receive a Catholic education, and take part in a Winter Carnival.  The school community will dress in neon colors for “Our Future is Bright Day” and participate in the longstanding tradition of “Minute to Win It” at the school, during which students and staff try to complete different tasks in less than a minute. On Saturday, February 4, the school will host a father-daughter dance at the St. John’s Community Center at 5:30 p.m.

Holy Cross School, South Portland 

The fun at Holy Cross School in South Portland begins on the weekend of January 28-29 as students will attend Masses at St. John Paul II Parish in their uniforms and serve in a variety of capacities, including handing out bulletins, speaking about the school during the Mass, bringing up the gifts at the Mass, and more. On Monday, January 30, the doors of the school will be decorated to honor saints, establish their service project beneficiaries for the week, and write thank you notes to local police, fire, crossing guards, and nearby businesses thanking them for their contributions to the community. "Thank you" platters of food will also be delivered to various organizations. On Tuesday, January 31, the students will receive a special pizza lunch and dessert with team games set for the afternoon. On Wednesday, February 1, a morning assembly will welcome State Senator Anne Carney who will explain her role in state government before receiving a tour of the school. Holy Cross’ acclaimed art teacher Karon Halvorsen will lead the students in the creation of a patriotic art mural, and the students will match up against the faculty in a volleyball game. On Thursday, February 2, a morning assembly will be held as local clergy and women religious are scheduled to speak about their vocations and a local lay person will speak on their vocations to marriage and family. The day will also include a focus on sacraments of service through activities. In addition, an afternoon bowling field trip is scheduled. On Friday, February 3, it will be time to celebrate the faculty with a staff breakfast provided by school parents to thank the staff for their incredible dedication, work, and impact. Each day, throughout the week, students will participate in a penny challenge from 12:45 p.m. to 1 p.m. The proceeds will benefit the Wendi Leavitt Memorial Scholarship, which honors a longtime supporter and proud parent at Holy Cross who died at the age of 48 in October 2021. Holy Cross and the Leavitt family, including Wendi’s daughter Mari-beth, a 2017 graduate of Holy Cross and 2021 graduate of Cheverus High School, established the Wendi Leavitt Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship will award funds to Holy Cross graduates who will continue their education at Cheverus High School in Portland.

St. Thomas School, Sanford

St. Thomas School in Sanford will begin their commemoration of Maine Catholic Schools Week with a school Mass on Sunday, January 29, at 10 a.m. at Holy Family Church in Sanford. On Monday, January 30, the students will wear their pajamas to school and launch a penny challenge to raise money for Waban and start a food collection for items of need at the St. Thérèse Food Closet. The students will also participate in a prayer service, decorate the doors of the school, and attend a pep rally. On Tuesday, January 31, the students will dress like what they wish for their future careers, decorate an area of the school for a 50th birthday party for St. Thomas School, and welcome a visit from furry friends at the Center for Wildlife. On Wednesday, February 1, the highlights include a schoolwide Mass, a talent show, and letter creation for local first responders, thanking them for their service. On Thursday, February 2, the students will sport their school colors (blue and white) and participate in an enrichment day as well as the 50th birthday party for the school in the afternoon. The dress theme of the day on Friday, February 3, is neon and for good reason, the students will be heading on a bowling field trip for “glow bowling.” The day will also feature movies and board games and judging of the door decorating competition by Fr. Bill Labbe, pastor of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish, of which St. Thomas School is a part. On Saturday, February 4, the school community will gather again at a celebration Mass at Holy Family Church at 4 p.m.

St. Michael School, Augusta

St. Michael School in Augusta will celebrate Maine Catholic Schools Week in a variety of ways, starting with a schoolwide Mass featuring student participation at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Augusta on Sunday, January 29, at 9 a.m. On Monday, January 30, the school community will dress in “Mainah” clothes and participate in DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read) as well as compete in a geography bee. A contest for students to name which teachers are in baby pictures on a display board will also begin. On Tuesday, January 31, a bowling field trip is among the highlights that will also include team competitions in teacher trivia as well as the school’s beloved teddy bear parade. On Wednesday, February 1, the students will dress appropriately for “Backwards Day” and compete in 4-Square games. On Thursday, February 2, it’s “Throwback Day” with students and staff dressing in 1970s and 1980s mode as well as a schoolwide hula hoop contest. On Friday, February 3, it’s “Funky Hair Day” and Bingo competitions in all of the classrooms.  In addition, students will be treated to a fun slideshow of all the week’s events to wrap up the Catholic Schools Week celebration. A weeklong service project will also be held to support Catholic Charities Maine by donating items from their “wish list.” The initiative is an example of how the school celebrates its “RICHES” (Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Hospitality, Excellence, and Stewardship).