Mary Help of Christians Academy

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Focus On: Campus Ministry

Contributed by Sr. Brittany, Campus Minister
Boxes of Joy
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated and helped us make this year's Box of Joy service project a HUGE success at Mary Help. Altogether, our students created 270 Boxes of Joy, which means that thanks to YOU, 270 children in Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Guatemala will receive a Christmas gift. While listening to Christmas music, the girls were excited to pack a box for their child. Smiles were seen all around as our students made Christmas cards to go in the boxes and packed them into cases for shipping. Mary Help also served as a drop off location for other schools and parishes that packed Boxes of Joy, and they steadily came in last week. On November 14th, eighty-six cases (about 1,500 boxes!) were picked up by a transportation company that will drive them down to Boca Raton, FL where they will be checked, sorted into destinations by gender and age, and loaded onto cargo ships before finally reaching their locations in time for Christmas. Catholic missionaries will distribute our boxes to children with a reminder that they are loved.
Service Hour Awards
For the first time in its history, Mary Help of Christians Academy was able to recognize eligible students with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). The PVSA honors students with a special pin, presidential letter of commendation, and certificate for their accomplishment. Awards are given at the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels, with minimum requirements varying by age. The award year runs from May 1st to April 30th each year. We are proud to recognize these students who achieved the PVSA for the 2017-2018 school year:
Hannah Brunckhorst, Bronze, 57 hours
Karla Carvo, Silver, 198.50 hours
Courtney Corbett, Bronze, 62 hours
Jesley Delgado, Gold, 151 hours
Gemma Fahy, Bronze, 133 hours
Michela Fahy, Bronze, 164.50 hours
Brianna Guzman, Bronze, 53 hours
Alleyna Jean-Philippe, Silver, 181.50 hours
Sabrina LoPresti, Gold, 404 hours
Yomilka Media-Gomez, Bronze, 58 hours
Rasneli Paulino, Silver, 94.50 hours
Kiara Quijandria, Gold, 108 hours
Paige Rehain, Silver, 75 hours
Linda Rodriguez, Silver, 240.50 hours
Ava Roenisch, Bronze, 160 hours
Kayla Sullivan, Bronze, 51.50 hours
Mary Swartzberg, Bronze, 72.25 hours
Paris Madison Tampol, Gold, 234.50 hours
Adriana Viviani, Silver, 212.50 hours
Catherine Zanabria, Silver, 201 hours
Congratulations, ladies!
Goodnight Bags
On November 13th, our students gathered in the cafeteria for the annual Rodger Rohde service project. This year, they packed "Goodnight Bags" for the children of the Don Bosco Youth Center in Port Chester, NY. These children live far below the national poverty line and rely upon the Youth Center for dinner five times a week. The bags were packed with a book, fleece blanket, winter hat, scarf, gloves, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and coloring book with crayons. After Thanksgiving, a group of students will take the Goodnight Bags to Port Chester and have dinner with the children who will receive them. A special thank you to the Salesians Helping Others Club who spent the last few weeks hand cutting and tying the scarves.
Class Retreats
The seniors had a fun time at their senior retreat in October which was held at the Archdiocesan Youth Center and Kearny, NJ. They engaged in group building activities involving several different physical obstacles as they reflected on what it means to be a united senior class.
The Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior retreat was led by 10 NET Missionaries, who are Catholic young adults who commit to 1-2 years of service traveling the country to lead retreats. The retreat centered on friendship and how to support one another as a class and as friends. The day included talks, small group discussions, games, and prayer time. A special thank you to the families who hosted our missionaries overnight and provided their lunch.
All Souls Day, November 2, provided the opportunity for one of several "Busy Student Retreats" that we offer to LIGHT Club and the entire student body throughout the school year. The retreat began at 3pm with the film "Coco," followed by catechesis and small group discussion about life after death, purgatory, and praying for those who have died. Students brought an assortment of food to share as a potluck, including Hispanic delicacies and a nearly 5 foot wide pizza! Time was taken to reflect on the gift of our loved ones who have passed, with the creation of a memory candle that was prayed with during Eucharistic Adoration.
Student Chapel
Thanks to the efforts of the LIGHT Club and some generous benefactors, the students were able to transform a classroom near the theology rooms into a student chapel. The chapel includes elements chosen and designed by the students, such as using the chalkboard as a prayer intentions wall, a special vinyl put on the windows to transform them into stained glass, flexible seating, a Bluetooth speaker for music, and religious images. The students even assisted in assembling the many items from Ikea! Parents are welcome to arrange a visit to the student chapel with the Campus Minister by sending an email to
Pro-Life Club
Kate Maloney, the regional coordinator for Students for Life America, stopped by to do a hands-on training with our Pro-Life club about how to respond to arguments for abortion in cases where the pregnancy is a result of violence. Students have been progressing through a pro-life apologetics course created by the Christian Equal Rights Institute.
Eucharistic Ministers
We are happy to welcome Gemma Fahy, Fiona Morrissey, Nicole DeCindio, Natalie DeCindio, and Yecenia Duran as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist for the 2018-2019 school year.