Mary Help of Christians Academy

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Focus On: Campus Ministry & Service

Contributed by Sr. Brittany, Campus Minister
Young Life Ministries
As winter thaws, the students of Mary Help of Christians Academy are offered opportunities to join the Spring bloom to grow as young women of faith. The Pro-Life and LIGHT Club featured a presentation from local youth minister, Blair Ransom, of Young Life Ministries. She coordinates a youth ministry program at St. Elizabeth in Wyckoff for local special needs teens and young adults. The students were invited to participate as “buddies” at the meetings and several students opted to participate. If anyone would like more information about this form of service, please see this site.
Ash Wednesday Mass, Lent & Holy Thursday
Lent began with Ash Wednesday and Mass with Fr. Larry Evans of St. Francis Parish, Ridgefield Park, NJ. He reminded us that making sacrifices of chocolate and meat will not help us to grow in holiness if we don’t also develop our character by striving to be people of greater patience, kindness, and generosity.
This Holy Thursday, students will be invited to attend a special evening pilgrimage retreat. An Italian tradition of visiting “Seven Churches” on Holy Thursday night as a way of accompanying Jesus in his journey from the Garden of Gethsemane, to the houses of Pilate and Herod. The evening is a reflection experience that involves visiting the Altars of Reposition at seven local parishes. Spots on the bus will be limited to 25 students, so please keep posted for further information.
Adoration & Fellowship
Since we lost the chapel in the fire almost a year ago, our “XLT” night of adoration and fellowship has been wandering the property like the ancient Hebrews in the desert. We have finally planted our tent at the Provincial House, on the other side of the pond, and thanks to the hospitality of the elderly Sisters we are able to use their beautiful chapel for prayer. The Sisters have opened up their dining room for snacks and games after adoration. Last XLT, on March 21, we had about 30 students and their friends attend. After Adoration, we enjoyed homemade empanadas made by Mrs. Quijandria and many of the students were schooled in the finer points of games like Skip-Bo by the elderly Sisters. In spite of the rainy weather, it was a warm night of fellowship.
Thanks to the hospitality of the Costello, Budelman, and Craffen families, we were able to host the National Evangelization Team (NET) missionaries from March 13-14. The missionaries lead our freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in a day of retreat, reflecting on the value of healthy friendship that makes us stronger together. Feedback from the students was generally positive and they hope to have the NET team return next year.
In theology classes, students reviewed the meaning and origin of the Lenten season, developed a personal plan for making the most of the penitential season, and created Lenten art to decorate the theology wing with their own creativity. Students are also involved in writing and preparing their own reflections on the traditional Stations of the Cross, which will be compiled into a prayerbook. This student-created prayerbook will be digitally distributed to families in time for Holy Week. We are excited about sharing our insights with one another.
Freshmen theology is wrestling with one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith - how can Jesus be both divine and human? Sophomores are learning to see the Church as a lens through which we build a community and home together, in spite of it being built of human beings who are comprised of both holy and sinful members. Juniors are delving into the basis of moral theology found in the relationship between free will and freedom and the responsibility to use those gifts well. Seniors are analyzing the traits of healthy relationships, dating, and marriage in order to identify standards and boundaries that will help them to find happiness and mutual respect in their romantic relationships.
On April 2, seniors will be welcoming Amanda Khanijian (class of 2009 ), a registered nurse and certified Marquette Method coach (a form of Natural Family Planning). As part of the Vocations course that provides seniors with practical tools and resources for healthy relationships and discernment, Amanda will introduce the students to the benefits of cycle tracking, how to identify important signs of health issues revealed by their cycles (often called the “fifth vital sign” in women), and why the Catholic Church encourages Natural Family Planning as a healthy and organic way to space births that works with a woman’s body. Amanda offers her services to the community and you can learn more about her here.
Service Hour Reminder
Service hours for quarter 4 are due May 3. At that time, all hours that students wish to be considered for the 2018-2019 Presidential Volunteer Service Award must be submitted. Please let me know if you have any questions.