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Graduation 2019: Different Gifts

June 5th was a big day for Donte, Jack, and Jennifer, who graduated from Saint Catherine Academy during a special Mass celebrated by Msgr. Robert Weiss. “God gave each of us a different gift,” he said in his homily, “but the same God lives in us all.” He then acknowledged the special gifts each of the graduates had shared with their classmates, praising Jennifer as “the best spreader of peanut butter and a good friend to everyone”; Donte for “a smile that never stops and keeps us happy”; and Jack for “the best bow tie in the room—and when he hugs you, you know you’re loved.” Donte and Jennifer have both at the Academy for 11 years; Jack has been with us for the past year. Msgr. Weiss also thanked the graduates’ parents for the “love with which you’ve accepted this special responsibility.” “We all have a responsibility to bring happiness to this world, even when people are mean,” encouraged Msgr. Weiss. “We have to try to keep loving, knowing how much we are loved by God.” Anna, Jaheim, and Ron gave the readings and intercessions, which were chosen by the graduates. Along with classmates and staff, members of the three families watched proudly as Dr. Steve Cheeseman, Superintendent of the Diocesan Schools, presented the Certificates of Completion. At the end of Mass, Jennifer led the group in singing her signature song, “This Little Light of Mine.” A lunch and individual cakes for each graduate followed the Mass. Donte and Jack will continue in the Center’s Adult Day Program. View the photos

By | June 14th, 2019|Front Page News, News|0 Comments

The Joy of Singing Together

“What I really enjoy about singing in the choir is singing together,” says Anna Stowe, a Saint Catherine Academy student who has been part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Youth Choir (otherwise known as “C4Y”) for the past year and a half. The choir, which boasts more than 120 members, was formed at Bishop Caggiano’s special request to bring youth together in community while cultivating their talents. Anna, who is 15 (“almost 16”) and an alto, had always enjoyed singing at her school in Chicago. When the family moved to Connecticut a couple of years ago, Anna’s mother Jill contacted the C4Y director, Mary Higgins. Anna met Mrs. Higgins and auditioned with the National Anthem—not an easy song! “I was a little nervous, but really excited,” said Anna. The next day Mrs. Higgins called to invite her to join. The choir is a serious commitment, with rehearsals every Tuesday night for an hour and a half. Because members are spread across the Diocese, Mrs. Higgins travels to multiple locations over the week to rehearse in small groups. At the Christmas concert, Anna was called forward to play the tambourine during a special song. “I watched her walk across the stage," her mother said. "When Anna joined the choir, I wanted her to be part of the crowd—not treated special—but that she was made extra special at the concert was humbling.” Anna took it all in stride.

By | March 12th, 2019|Front Page News, News|0 Comments

PB&J Days – A Role for Everyone

This article was posted on the Fairfield County Catholic website. FAIRFIELD—Every third Friday morning you’ll find a lively group of students and staff from Saint Catherine Academy and volunteers from the Order of Malta engaged in a signature project: the creation of 300 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport. (See more photos...) “This is a project that provides a sense of purpose in multiple ways,” says Helen Burland, executive director, who proposed the community service idea—called “PB&J Fridays”—shortly after she came to Saint Catherine Center. “Our students are on the receiving end of so much service and generosity. We wanted them to experience the joy of giving back as well,” commented Burland. The Order of Malta was a willing partner, as it promotes hands-on involvement in the organizations that they support. Four or five volunteers from the order currently participate each month. The Center has even had guest “chefs,” including Bishop Caggiano. Students and staff set up long tables in the gym at Saint Catherine Center and Malta volunteers bring in the supplies. The assembly line forms in a familiar symmetry: stacks of bread, peanut butter spreaders, jelly dippers and smoothers, sandwich-cutters, bag-inserters and packagers. Some students help as they can unsealing the sandwich bags and getting them ready. Soon music is playing and the room begins to smell like whole wheat and peanuts. There’s a sense of purpose, but also of fun. You hear a lot of laughter, as well as words of encouragement at every station. “There’s a role for everyone, whatever their ability,” says Burland. The project helps the students of Saint Catherine Academy learn practical motor skills, as well as the value and importance of patience and

By | March 4th, 2019|Front Page News, News|0 Comments

The Annual Christmas Pageant: “God Wanted This Amazing News to Get Around”

“Who would have guessed that the King of Kings, Jesus the Christ, would be born upon the hay in a stable? God wanted this amazing news to get around.” Saint Catherine Academy welcomed Christmas with music and a lot of love in our annual Christmas Pageant, “The Message of an Angel,” on December 21st. More than 200 family members and friends attended, including Bishop Caggiano, who remarked, “This pageant is the finest homily to show the meaning of Christmas.” There was a role for everyone in the script written by Sr. Eileen Boffa, directed by Sr. Cheryl Driscoll, and assisted by all the Academy teachers and assistants. The Angel Gabriel (Anna) narrated the beloved story, joined by Philip, Jack, Luke, and Ron as shepherds; and Donte beaming as both shining star and one of the three kings along with Fabricio and Frank. The band of angels (Lizabeth, Nyah, and Lindsy) brought tidings of great joy to Mary (Jennifer), Joseph (Jaheim), and the newborn Jesus (beautifully “performed” by Ella). Each student presented their own personal “gift” to Jesus—including “joy,” “helping,” “kindness,” “singing,” “smiling,” “affection,” “friendly,” “a loving heart”—and a rousing “Enthusiasm!” exclaimed by Ron. The event was followed by a reception and visit from Santa, hosted by members of the Order of Malta, and the Knights of Columbus. At the conclusion, Helen asked guests to consider what their gift to Jesus would be this Christmas. “Each of us is an innkeeper,” she said. “You have to decide whether you will make room for Jesus.” It’s a consideration not just for the Christmas season, but for all year. View more photos.

By | January 4th, 2019|Front Page News, News|0 Comments

A Smooth Start to the School Year

Saint Catherine Academy students and staff were excited to see each other again and get the new academic year rolling, settling into familiar routines and adjusting to new ones. Almost two weeks later we’ve already had our first fire drill—receiving a thumbs-up from the Fairfield Fire Department—and played our first kickball game, evoking big smiles and high-fives at every base. Like new shoots in a garden, there are already signs of individual growth in every class—such as advancing to double-digit addition, starting a new reader, or to learning a new word in sign language. Some students have taken on new roles as leaders in their class, welcoming others and helping when they can. “They are becoming good friends to each other,” said Mrs. LaPorta. Often the most enjoyable moments of the day are in the smallest activities, done together—singing attendance in Mrs. LaPorta’s class; picking out lockers in Sr. Cheryl’s; going to the grocery store for supplies with Mrs. Mitchell’s class; and enjoying a new reading corner with Mrs. McMahon. Mr. Matt is back with music class on Wednesdays, and students have been busy decorating project folders with our new Art teacher, Megan Collins. “It’s been a smooth start,” noted Eric Spencer, our new principal, who has been getting to know everyone, greeting students in the morning, sitting in on classes, and meeting parents in the afternoons as they come to pick up their children. “In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve witnessed not only structured learning in the classroom, but daily acts of care and kindness. It’s obvious to me that students feel emotionally safe and nurtured by the staff. This is what makes Saint Catherine Academy such a special place.”  

By | November 2nd, 2018|Front Page News, News|0 Comments
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