GREENVILLE — Beginning Sunday, Catholic Schools across the nation are celebrating their faith during the 42nd annual Catholic Schools Week.
Catholic school students, their teachers and their communities throughout the 19-county Archdiocese of Cincinnati are celebrating Sunday, Jan.31 through Feb. 6, the theme “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”
St. Mary’s School in Greenville, among the 111 Catholic elementary and high schools in the archdiocese, will also be in a celebratory state of mind this coming week as the National Catholic Education Association selects a theme and each school plans activities around this theme.
“We have our own theme as well: ‘Proclaiming God’s Mercy,’” said Principal Vern Rosenbeck, who noted there are 119 students, counting the pre-school (86 in grades K-8 and 33 in pre-school). “At St. Mary’s School, Catholic Schools Week is a celebration of all the elements of our school that make it such a great place…students, parents, faculty, staff, friends and the entire parish community.”
Students, it was noted, were to participate in all Masses at St. Mary’s Church across the street this weekend. The children’s choir will sing at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. There will be refreshments in the school cafeteria to follow all the Masses, with everyone welcome to attend.
On Monday, fifth grade will lead in the 7:40 a.m. prayer service, with Fr. John White presiding at the prayer at 9 a.m. From 9:15 to 9:25 a.m., there will be Bubble Wrap: Celebrate the beginning of Catholic Schools Week.
Lunch for the day will feature the parents, grandparents of students with the last names from A to J. Students may bring in fast food or pack a special lunch to share with their family.
Students with last names beginning with K-Z must pack their lunch. Montage will offer pre-ordered lunches. Then , cards will be made for the elderly parishioners during lunch.
At 1:30 p.m., Greenville Mayor Mike Bowers will present the school with a proclamation. Clothing theme for the day will be favorite color.
Grades 3 and 4 will lead the prayer service at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and sixth-grade students will be going to Lehman High School at 9 a.m. Clothing theme for the day is Hat Day.
In charge of the prayer service on Wednesday will be grades 1 and 2. The church bells will ring at 10 a.m. and the lower-grade students will also ring hand bells. Tom Sparough, juggler and motivational religious speaker, is scheduled to speak from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m., and a math-a-thon is scheduled for 1 to 1:30 p.m. Students are urged to get up and dance throughout the day. The clothing theme is Pajama Day.
Sixth-graders are in charge of the prayer service on Thursday morning, with an academic scavenger hunt planned for 10:40 a.m. Lunch with parents/grandparents for those with last names K-Z will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students may bring in fast food or pack a special lunch to share with their family. Students with last name beginning with A-J must pack their lunch. Montage will offer pre-ordered lunches. Cards will be made for the elderly parishioners during lunch. Clothing theme is NFL.
There will be an 8 a.m. Mass on Friday with seventh- and eighth-grade classes leading prayer during Mass. From 8 to 10 a.m., it will be Special Person Day. A special person, such as a grandparent, aunt/uncle, neighbor, etc. can attend Mass with the students. Pictures will be taken and refreshments offered after Mass. Buddy Bingo is set for 10:45 to 11:45 a.m., regular pizza lunch or pack own lunch from noon to 12:40 p.m. and a movie sponsored by the student council from 1 to 2:15 p.m.
“We started the special person event last year,” Rosenbeck said. “A special person comes in Friday morning, goes to Mass with the child, gets their picture taken with the child and have doughnuts and coffee afterwards.”
Rosenbeck is in his seventh year at St. Mary’s. He has been in education for 40 years.
He said, because the way Catholic Schools Week is celebrated this year, the geography bee was held Wednesday and the science fair was held Friday at the school.
“It’s hectic, but fun,” the principal said.
He said new things for the school are the LED lights that were installed this year, with rebates received from Dayton Power and Light, and the replacement of some more classroom windows.
Serving on the board of trustees for the school are: Fr. White, Karen Dircksen, Rachel Glass, Bill Sinnes, Julie Monnin, Kent Zechar, Joseph Badell, Pat Barga, Nathan Rammel and John Marchal.
“We have monthly meetings like other schools do with more members,” Rosenbeck said.
“As the motto indicates, Catholic schools exist to form students in the faith and educate them for a life of loving service to the community,” said Susan M. Gibbons, interim superintendent of Catholic Schools and director of educational services for the archdiocese. “During the week, we celebrate their tremendous success at doing that in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for almost 200 years.”
She said on Monday, the Most Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr, archbishop of Cincinnati, will speak with Catholic high school students across the archdiocese via video-conference. He will convey his gratitude for Catholic schools and answer student questions through a live-streamed webcast from Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati is the 38th largest Catholic diocese in the country, with almost 500,000 Catholics and has the sixth largest Catholic school system in terms of enrollment….41,337 students for the 2015-16 school year.