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Diocesan Students Participating in the Year of Faith

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Throughout the Diocese, bulletin boards, prayer cards, art projects and activities tell the story. Catholic school students and students in parish faith formation classes are deepening their faith and rediscovering the joy it offers. It’s all part of the Year of Faith, a special time designated by Pope Benedict XVI.

Celebrated by the Universal Church, the Year of Faith began October 11, 2012, and ends November 24, 2013, on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

In response to the call for the Year of Faith, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge organized a committee to develop resources and activities for everyone, including students in Diocesan Catholic schools. Using the guidelines and suggestions, 32 schools and early childhood centers and parish faith formation programs are incorporating the Year of Faith into their curriculum in creative ways. Examples are:

Blessed Sacrament School, Burlington

At the end of the school day, students recite the Year of Faith prayer before praying a decade of the rosary with their classmates. Principal Maria Gomez noted that many older students have already memorized the prayer. Students are also creating art projects, such as a third-grade shield project in which students learned about the Diocesan shield and created shields of their own with symbols of their life of faith.

Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh

On its website, Cardinal Gibbons High School has a special page detailing how the Gibbons community is observing the Year of Faith. In addition to praying the “Act of Faith,” students study a theology curriculum that includes elements from the Diocesan Year of Faith Resource Packet.

Cathedral School, Raleigh

At Cathedral School, the Year of Faith is a time to learn and share. Each month, one grade level is responsible for presenting a Year of Faith theme using a skit, song or Powerpoint project. In October, students crafted a Holy Spirit banner in the shape of a dove. In November Cathedral’s second grade class presented “Mary, the First Disciple” to the student body after Mass. Students spoke to the school about ways to learn about Mary and honor her.

Above: Holy Spirit banner created by Cathedral School students as part of Year of Faith. Click photo to view larger.

Immaculata School, Durham

In Kindergarten, students are learning about Mary by visiting her statue and praying to her. They’re also learning about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus by acknowledging students whose behavior is similar to faith-filled disciples. Other youth activities include creating a Year of Faith banner, classroom discussion and prayer. Young people from Immaculate Conception are observing the Year of Faith with a nod to their home city, Durham. Their new t-shirts, seen here on members of the Youth Council, feature a bull and a bold proclamation to “Grab Faith by the Horns.” Students picked the colors, wording and design, said youth minister Margie Burton. They plan to wear the shirts when they gather for service projects and other events.

Above and below: Immaculate Conception students displaying Year of Faith tee shirt. Click photos to view larger.

Infant of Prague School, Jacksonville

To understand and appreciate the Year of Faith theme, “Mary, the First Disciple,” students participated in a living rosary in October. They’re also reciting the “Hail, Holy Queen” Magnificat and preparing for an Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration in December and a May Crowning.

Our Lady of Lourdes School, Raleigh

To demonstrate faith in action, kindergarten through second grade students at OLL are participating in service projects such as a garage sale for Catholic Parish Outreach, Prayer Blanket Ministry, Stockings for the Elderly and a collection for the SPCA. Students in grades three through five are doing a Mitten Tree service project to benefit CPO, as well as prayer chains. Middle School students are writing letters to seminarians and praying for them. They’re also composing essays on what the Year of Faith means to them.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Rocky Mount

Students at OLPH prepared a Year of Faith float for Rocky Mount’s annual Christmas parade on December 2. Some students will be dressed as saints on parade day, while others will walk alongside the float and pass out information about the school, which was established in 1939.

Above: Students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help working on decorations for school float in Christmas parade. Click photo to view larger.

Pope John Paul II School, Southern Pines

The seven Faith Habits are on display in the classrooms. These habits -- which include helping a neighbor, savoring silence and calling upon the saints -- are also practiced by students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Middle school students are sharing testimony about the significance of faith as well as participating in service teams while reflecting on the call to serve others.

St. Mary School, Goldsboro

In October, middle school students formed a Junior Legion of Mary at the school. Students are also studying saints and working that study into math lessons. In November, the school polled the student body, faculty and staff to see how many of their names were the same as a saint’s name or a derivative of a saint’s name. The study showed that more than half of those asked had a saintly name. The names Michael and Catherine were especially popular.

St. Mary Magdalene School, Apex

When students, parents, staff and visitors step inside the school, one of the first things they’ll notice is a Year of Faith bulletin board. Each month, one of the eight themes is highlighted. From the eight grade’s take on “The Church Guided by the Holy Spirit” to second grade’s artwork about “Mary, the First Disciple,” the Year of Faith and students’ understanding of it are visible to the community.

Above: Year of Faith bulletin board inside entrance of St. Mary Magdalene School in Apex. Click photo to view larger.

St. Michael Early Childhood Center, Cary

At parent orientation, administrators introduced parents to the Year of Faith and the ways it would be presented to preschoolers. Each family received a color-coded rosary and pamphlet, detailing how to pray it with young children. In a developmentally appropriate way, the community is introducing young students to the idea of service to others. Preschoolers worked on Thanksgiving baskets and a book collection for those in need. Children are making cards for nursing home residents.

St. Raphael Early Childhood Center, Raleigh

Preschoolers learned about the Annunciation and Visitation and how the Holy Spirit was part of these events. Guided by their teachers, children discovered that the first part of the Hail Mary prayer came from words Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary. For the holiday, each child is either receiving a rosary or making one for his or her family. For Catholic Schools Week, children will wear their favorite religious medal.

Additional school and parish stories and photographs will be added regularly to the Year of Faith page.