Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops January 29, 2013
During Catholic Schools Week the Catholic community takes time to recognize and support parents in the fundamental and inalienable right to choose Catholic Schools to support the faith formation and excellent education for their children. Catholic schools have a rich history in supporting the work of on-going evangelization of the Catholic community in the United States. For more than two centuries, Catholic bishops, pastors and parents have educated children in parish and private schools with the intention of offering the life giving Word of the Gospel in an environment that shows respect for the human person, the virtues of good citizenship and academic excellence. This educational effort has been done without the aid or subsidies from state or federal monies but largely through the tenacious efforts of parents, pastors, principals and teachers. Based on public school per pupil cost, Catholic schools save the nation more than 20$ billion dollars a year. 99 % of Catholic High School students graduate each year. 84 % of those students go on to graduate from a four year college. The success of Catholic Schools is one of the Catholic Church's best stories in the United States. Our Catholic schools reach 2 million students nation-wide every day. It is a challenging education in an atmosphere where Jesus Christ is the center. In this Year of Faith it is important to remember that our Catholic schools are centers for the New Evangelization for families of a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and diverse cultures. 85 % of our students are Catholic. 15% of students are from non-Catholic families. 20% of students in Catholic schools are from diverse ethnic backgrounds.This helps create a rich environment for catechesis and cultural diversity. The unique atmosphere of our Catholic schools is a space and place where the New Evangelization can reach out to parents and children in a way that is respectful of the human person, presents the teachings of the Church, and supports family life. During Catholic Schools Week, we thank the 151,395 teachers in over 6,841 K through 12 schools for the witness of love and commitment to parents and young people. We thank parents who partner with Catholic Schools in the education of their children. We thank all those in the Catholic community who support Catholic schools. This important week reminds all of us that Catholic education is needed now more than ever to be that place "which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction."(Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 1) Taken from "The Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing; United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools 2011-2012 published by National Catholic Educational Association ÂŠ 2013 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
This publication of Stewardship through Catholic Education was inspired by the words of Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, our Chairman on Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made during Catholic Schools Week 2013.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish School Where Faith, Learning, and Service have no limits A Testimony of Faith In these pages, we are sharing just some of what is happening in and for the Kingdom of God through the work in the parishes of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Huntington, WV and St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Ona, WV for the parish school. Christifideles laici, “On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and the World,” Blessed Pope John Paul II described what he called the “hard test” which living the Catholic Faith is today in a practically atheistic world, in a culture marked by secularism. Both parishes work to serve the Lord with the gifts of Time, Talent, and Treasure in the community and especially the parish school through charity and love, fed by the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis, the Sacrament of Charity. Pope Benedict XVI, in his address announcing the Year of Faith in October 2012, said he was placing all those involved in new evangelization under the protection of the Virgin Mary who “helps every Christian to be a valid witness to the Gospel.” “With the passage of time, pastors and faithful alike have grown increasingly conscious of the role of the Virgin Mary in the evangelization of America. In the prayer composed for the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops, Holy Mary of Guadalupe is invoked as Patroness of all America and Star of the first and new evangelization . . . It is my heartfelt hope that she, whose intercession was responsible for strengthening the faith of the first disciples (cf. Jn 2:11), will by her maternal intercession guide the Church in America, obtaining the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as she once did for the early Church (cf. Acts 1:14), so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life.” Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in America Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patron Saint of the Year of Faith. Following Pope Benedict’s example, we dedicate this humble publication and all its works to Our Lady, the Mother of Stewardship.
A Snapshot of Catholic Schools
DIOCESE OF WHEELING-CHARLESTON “Catholic Schools are a reminder of Jesus Christ in today’s world. We have an obligation to proclaim the Gospel in our communities, and our system of schools gives us the best opportunity to spread Christ’s Gospel message to those we serve. “ Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston
Governor Tomblin Affirms the Value of Catholic Schools in Proclamation
CHARLESTON, W.Va.— On Jan. 24, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a proclamation recognizing Catholic Schools Week in West Virginia, which begins Jan. 27 and ends Feb. 2. This national celebration has a long history of support in West Virginia. In the text of the proclamation, Tomblin states, “I hereby support the goals of Catholic Schools Week and recognize the vital contributions of Catholic elementary and secondary schools.” “I congratulate the Catholic schools, students, parents and teachers across the Mountain State for their ongoing contributions to education and for the key role they play in promoting and ensuring a brighter and stronger future for West Virginia and the nation,” Tomblin said. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of Catholic schools, was very clear in his comments regarding the schools. “We must remain mission focused on bringing lived gospel values into every relationship we cultivate in our Catholic schools," he said. “Furthermore, Catholic schools must focus on the Catholic identity of our schools, academic excellence in our educational programming and our ability to sustain financially our schools not only for the students we currently serve but the generations of West Virginia Catholics to come.” Catholic schools in West Virginia are older than the state itself. The first Catholic school was established in Martinsburg in 1838. Presently, there are 28 Catholic schools, which includes 20 elementary schools, seven diocesan high schools and Wheeling Jesuit University, the state’s only Catholic institution of higher education, in 13 counties in West Virginia. According to enrollment data provided by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, there are 5,803 students in 27 Catholic elementary and secondary schools, and 1,579 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at Wheeling Jesuit University. Catholic schools provide quality education in a Christ-centered environment that nurtures faith development and involves families as partners in education. Three schools in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston have been recognized nationally as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. *** Copyright www.DWC.org or visit www.wvcatholicschools.org ***OLOF Parish school is one of the three schools. • U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School • West Virginia Sustainable School • National Green Ribbon School of Excellence Finalist 2012 Source: www.olofps.org
A Message from our Pastor A few years ago at parish school Mass, I asked the children, "If I showed you a topographical map of the City of Huntington and I took a big eraser and removed 535 Norway Avenue, Our Lady of Fatima Parish School, from the map, would we be better off or worse off?" An important question to ponder! To the exclusively budget-conscious person, the answer would be "better off" because Catholic schools cost so much to operate. Few are ever "in the black" and at times they prevent the pastor from doing "so many other things" within the parish. To the Gospel conscious person, however, our parish, our community and our world would be "worse off". Why? What price can one put on salvation? Catholic schools have and have always had the primary mission of proclaiming the Good News to the world! (Matthew 28). In a society that is so uncivil, so cynical, so materialistic and so self-focused, Catholic schools are truly a breath of fresh air and a source of wonderful news. Yes, we could plant more shrubs, expand the parish hall, re-paint the property, etc., etc., but, what about the next generation of Catholics? Who will be around in a generation or two to see the new shrubs, the expanded hall, ……. If you want to do the best you can possibly do with your gifts, support your Catholic school. you WILL see the Good News of Jesus in action! Fr. James Sobus Fr. Jim has been Pastor at OLOF since June 2004 and St. Stephen’s for over 5 years. His tenure at parish schools in WV is over 26 years
A Message from our Principal My introduction to Catholic education was not via a normal path. I had no children and was married to a public school teacher when Father Peterson asked me if I would be willing to serve on the school advisory council - I reluctantly (at first) accepted. Over the next few years, a passion for Catholic education blossomed. I began attending workshops and became involved in fund raising for the school. I helped develop justification to increase the teacher’s pay at our school to a more just level to help insure a high quality education would be available to every child in the school. Then, Monika and I had children and enrolled them in our school. This provided a new perspective on how high the quality of education being provided actually was. Soon, Monika felt the calling to come and teach in the school - this provided an entirely new perspective of the enormous value being gifted to the parents choosing our school. Finally, Father Sobus recruited me to step away from the business world to administer the school. Only after this leap of faith did I realize the love and passion that was poured into educating every student in our school. It is impossible to express enough gratitude to the parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima for the support given to our school; the school truly functions as a mission of the church. Every dollar you invest and every hour you volunteer produce results to be proud of. A graduate of Our Lady of Fatima Parish School stands out in a crowd for the rest of their life regardless of the path they choose. Jeff Jackson, Principal Our Lady of Fatima Parish School
Stewardship of Treasure Our Lady of Fatima parish was established in October 1952. Shortly thereafter, steps were taken to provide a grade school and building plans were approved on March 19, 1953. Ground breaking took place on September 4, 1953 and the new school was dedicated on Sunday, September 5, 1954. The first school year opened on September 7, 1954 with six grades and 90 students. The school was placed under the direction of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters whose mother house was located in Huntington at that time. •
1955 – 7th and 8th grades were added, increasing the enrolment to 140 students.
1978 – An expansion of the school was completed adding additional class rooms and a kindergarten.
1984 – The gymnasium, accompanying office, storage, shower and bath rooms was completed and dedicated.
1992 – Our Lady of Fatima Parish School received the distinguished Blue Ribbon School in ceremonies at The White House, Washington D.C.
2005 – 4 year old pre-kindergarten added
2007 – 3 year old pre-kindergarten added
2012 – Our Lady of Fatima Parish School named West Virginia Sustainable School
2012 – Our Lady of Fatima Parish School named National Green Ribbon School of Excellence Finalist – one of 4 nominated from the State of West Virginia.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish School continues to provide a high quality education to the young people of the tri-state community. Our success has been built on a rigorous academic program, active spiritual formation, and a commitment to the virtue of stewardship. As a result, our alumni have gone on to successful lives in high school, college, and beyond, bearing witness to our distinctive tradition of excellence. The Pallottine Missionary Sisters celebrated the 100th Anniversary of their arrival in America at a Mass at Our Lady of Fatima in the Summer of 2012, which was featured in The Catholic Spirit, “Pallottines Celebrate 100 Years in Huntington.” “The love of Christ impels us,” is the motto of St. Vincent Pallotti, founder of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters. It prompted them 100 years ago to expand their missions to the U.S. To celebrate their centennial, the sisters gathered at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Huntington July 23 for Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield. Joining them were friends, supporters and co-workers in their missionary efforts. “I’m just so grateful that you’re here to praise God with us this afternoon,” said Sister Gail Borgmeyer, provincial for the Pallottine Sisters in the U.S. “God is truth, and he has been faithful to us and to our ministries. God is love, and this
love is manifested in those we serve and in those who serve with us.” On behalf of all the sisters she thanked those present for their faithfulness and love. “It’s a great joy to be here and to celebrate with the Pallottine sisters,” Bishop Bransfield said in his homily. “I thank you for the many you serve, for the many you have served in your 100 years here in West Virginia and the beautiful faith and the dimension of love and service you bring.” “I owe my vocation to the priesthood to the Pallotine sisters,” said Father James Sobus, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish. “My mother gave me the Catholic faith, but it was the Pallottine sisters who taught me how to put that faith into practice and who taught me the important lesson if you want to make faith grow then get out and do something for someone else.” He explained that growing up in Logan, he not only learned from the sisters in religious education classes but also through their actions. “What they taught me was this,” he continued. “That you love God’s children no matter who they are and even if they don’t love you back.” He recalled accompanying the sisters in a station wagon driving “up and down hollers” to deliver groceries and clothing to those in need. “They did (so) with love in their heart. It wasn’t giving to someone to be pitied; it was an attempt to love someone and to build them up where they are in their stage of life. … I learned that from those sisters as I watched them in their army boots … going up those rocky roads, … carrying those heavy boxes of groceries. … They taught people that God really loves them no matter who they are, and they’ve done the same thing here (in Huntington),” he said. As with many Catholic schools in the United States, over the years, the school slowly became separated from the church and developed the reputation of being a “private” school. What began as a ministry of the Church lost some of its focus, softening its identity, even to the extent of omitting “Catholic” from the name of the school. It was not an overnight change, but was due only in part as lay persons increasingly replaced Religious as instructors. The schools have not been immune from the secular influence of the culture. Consequently, the costs have increased due to the necessary faculty changes. Like most Catholic schools, this is not what the Sisters envisioned when they opened the school. As in so many instances involving the Pallottines and their work, Divine Providence intervened. In 2005, the United States Conference Catholic Bishops put out a publication called Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium. This publication outlined historically the original mission and role of Catholic schools in the United States as well as some of the struggles and challenges faced. It also reported the success of the Catholic education as a whole on the impact on communities and society. About that same time, Fr. James Sobus was placed at Our Lady of Fatima after almost 20 years of service in northern West Virginia. Being involved in Catholic education for many years, he had seen the tremendous benefits of parishes that focused on promoting Catholic education.
The word “catechesis” comes from a Greek root meaning “to echo or to sound” Catechesis is the act of handing on the Word of God. It involves the lifelong effort of forming witnesses to Christ, opening hearts to the spiritual transformation given by the Holy Spirit and guiding followers more fully into the mystery of Christ. “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (GDC 80). Seeing this separation of the school, Fr. Sobus described it as fruit being cut from the vine. He then sought to promote restoration between the church and school; the vision of the work which the Pallottine Missionary Sisters had started in 1954 when the doors to our parish school first opened. One such advancement toward this Catholic community came in the summer of 2012, when the parish school began a transition from the Parent Teacher Organization to a new parish-wide entity appropriately named PSU – Parish and School United. The PSU consists of parents and parishioners working together in our Catholic community. This is a natural transition since over the past several years, Our Lady of Fatima Parish and her sister parish, St. Stephen’s in Ona, West Virginia, have increasing worked on mutual projects, which included the parish school. One of the first new endeavors for the PSU was to coordinate the annual spaghetti dinner, traditionally organized by the Parent Teacher Organization. It was inspirational to see the vast amount of people, both from our church and school that came in unison to share their time and talent for our Catholic community. The Morning of Ash Wednesday, 2013 was a typical day demonstrating this community. The Parish Hall was all abuzz with activity inside and out in preparation for the first Seafood dinner. On the lot were Middle School students who were headed to Cabell County Math Field Day Competition. Many of them marked with ashes on their forehead from the first of several Masses that day as Catholics head into the season of Lent. The school’s celebration of Mardi Gras the day before was now behind them. Lent had begun. Fr. Jim was working with Josh in the kitchen to ensure quality and number of fish that had arrived. The parish secretary was busy organizing the multitudes of activites for the day. Teachers and faculty were preparing their classrooms and hallways. On the parking lot, volunteer coordinators for the fish dinners were out collecting salad dressing donations brought in by students. Mr. Sellards, long-time parking attendant and father of one of the 8th graders was busily directing traffic. To outside eyes, it looked like organized chaos, but all got to where they needed to be. A family model for such stewardship of the PSU would not be complete without mentioning the Piaskowki family, headed by Ron and Loretta Piaskowsi. Parents of 10 children, from preschool age to college and beyond, they are an integral part of the kingdom of God. Mrs. Piaskowki is a witness to her Catholic faith as she is always cheerful, calm and peaceful. She volunteered to be the “bus driver,” not only for the Middle School Math Field Day team, but for the elementary grades the day before. In between, she was back at the school for “lunch duty”.
On the parish side, Loretta and her husband Ron, have been busy shepherding the Confirmandees for the anticipation of this year’s Confirmation class. It is composed of 7th and 8th graders from the parish, parish school and CCD. They have provided not only instructional materials, but their time in preparation before and during the weekly Sunday catechetical classes. Addressing the parents and confirmandees on what to expect, Mr. Piaskowski was very encouraging to the group about their investment of time. Instructing others in the Catholic faith seems “natural” to him, as he voices the importance of the Sacraments in the life of the Church and to those preparing to receive. He asked the students, “If someone could guarantee that you would become a Billionaire by attending four to five classes and following the plan for success, would you do it?” He emphasized that the same importance to our quest for success in material things should be placed in the developmentof our faith. “We all want the best for our children. We want them to be there in Heaven with us.” Mrs. Linda Ore from our sister parish, St. Stephen’s, is another example of stewardship through the PSU. Her grandson, Matthew, attends our parish school. “The Lord has blessed us so much. My only complaint is there are not enough hours in the day to give back all the Lord has given. Anything for the school.” she continued. When asked about her grandson’s experience at Fatima in regard to a middle school elective public speaking class taught by Fr. Sobus, Mrs. Ore proudly stated “He is not the same boy!” “He has always been shy, especially in front of others. However, after a couple of classes with Fr. Jim and other students, he has really come out of his shell.” She continued slowly with sincerity, “Fr. Jim saw a gift in Matthew; something he could do. With some encouragement and practice, Matthew has become increasingly confident in speaking.” She concluded, “I am grateful to Fr. Jim for that”. Not only is Linda Ore at St. Stephen’s every Sunday to sell scrip gift cards to help support our parish school, she and others from St. Stephen’s are at Fatima regularly to help serve school lunches, volunteer for activities such as the Holiday Bazaar, car washes, annual spaghetti dinner, and rummage sales. She and the kitchen crew are a FIXTURE in the parish hall during Lent to participate in the annual tradition of Lenten Seafood Dinners, affectionately termed Fish Frydays! In February of last year, the Bishop of our Diocese, Most Rev. Michael Bransfield, visited Huntington and our Catholic schools, which was highlighted in an article in The Herald-Dispatch. There are many wonderful educational things happening in Huntington, of which the diocese is proud, Bransfield said. It’s clear the schools are “the apple of the eye” for Father Jim Sobus of Our Lady of Fatima and Monsignor Lawrence Luciana of St. Joe, Bransfield said.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish School is an integral part of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. When the school first opened in 1954, it was meant to be a vehicle by which our Catholic faith is spread throughout the community through example and service to others. And now, under Fr. Sobus’ direction, the school is returning to its roots and mission of evangelizing our Catholic faith. +++
Catholic Schools Week 2013 RAISING THE STANDARDS Our Parish School celebrated their Catholic traditions in numerous ways the week of January 31st - February 2nd, 2013. We began with a beautiful Kick-off Liturgy on Sunday. This was followed by a reception and book fair in the Parish Hall sponsored by the teachers. Many students participated in the Mass and did an excellent job. At the Mass, we were blessed with the voices from the Parish School’s Select Choir. The school week began Monday with featured door displays from each classroom on their favorite Bible Stories. These ranged from the Story of Jonah and Creation from our preschoolers to displays of Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark in our Eighth grade classroom. Tuesday, the school was visited by the mobile Pediatric Medical Unit, sponsored by WalMart and Cabell Huntington Hospital. Students from all grade levels were permitted to board and tour the unit through the generosity of Dr. Isabelle Pino who heads the unit’s work in our area and in surrounding WV counties. We in turn, once again, held a schoolwide new and "gently used" book collection for Dr. Pino. Each child, patient or sibling who visits the medical unit, receives a book to encourage the love of reading. So Dr. Pino provides encouragement and compassion to her patients in addition to providing area children with much needed health services. Wednesday was our weekly all School Liturgy and we increased our donations of non-perishable food items, three-fold to the ECCHO ministry. Thursday students participated in Crazy Hat & Sock Day. What a sight with the uniforms! Along with fun, each class still held their own prayer service for peace and justice in the world. This is our schoolwide theme this year: “Let there be Peace”. Friday students enjoyed a much anticipated Dress Down Day to close out the week, along with the annual Faculty/Eighth Grade Volleyball Game. This was preceded by the championship round of our Bible Trivia Challenge involving grades Kindergarten through Eighth. Trivia challenges were held throughout the week between grade levels with the help of our very own Mr. Darrell Legg and Mrs. Lisa White. The winners were the third through fifth grade team! The week proved to be educational with personal added touches such as parent appreciation day, (although dampened by inclement weather) along with ice cream treats and a no homework day for student appreciation day. The faculty and staff were also treated to a lunch as part of teacher appreciation day. The week ended the same way it began, on a spiritual note, with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament as a closing on our First Friday. What a better way to praise our God for all His blessings!
Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium Introduction Young people are a valued treasure and the future leaders of our Church. It is the responsibility of the entire Catholic community—bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and laity—to continue to strive towards the goal of making our Catholic elementary and secondary schools available, accessible, and affordable to all Catholic parents and their children, including those who are poor and middle class. All Catholics must join together in efforts to ensure that Catholic schools have administrators and teachers who are prepared to provide an exceptional educational experience for young people—one that is both truly Catholic and of the highest academic quality. In 1990, the Catholic bishops of the United States issued the statement In Support of Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools. In it we affirmed our strong conviction that Catholic elementary and secondary schools are of great value to our Church and our nation; and that, in our role as chief teachers, we are each responsible for the total educational ministry of the local Church. We affirmed that “the entire ecclesial community . . . is called to value ever more deeply the importance of this task and mission, and to continue to give it full and enthusiastic support.” These Catholic schools afford the fullest and best opportunity to realize the fourfold purpose of Christian education, namely to provide an atmosphere in which the Gospel message is proclaimed, community in Christ is experienced, service to our sisters and brothers is the norm, and thanksgiving and worship of our God is cultivated (p. 2). In these pages you will find examples of that call to “the entire ecclesial community” at Our Lady of Fatima Parish and Parish School. The document Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium was developed by the Committee on Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was approved by the full body of U.S. Catholic bishops at its June 2005 General Meeting and has been authorized for publication by the undersigned. Msgr. William P. Fay, General Secretary, USCCB The document in its entirety may be found http://old.usccb.org/bishops/schools.pdf
An Alumni’s Perspective on the Value of Catholic Education y six siblings and I attended Catholic grade school, middle school, high school and college. We all attended St. Joseph Central High School and some of us attended Our Lady of Fatima grade school. All my siblings, Andrea, Diane, Vicky, Jim, Jeannie and Bill attended Wheeling College, now Wheeling Jesuit University. I attended the University of Notre Dame; my brothers and sisters say that I couldn’t get into Wheeling.
Our Catholic education clearly played a significant role in the lives of my siblings and me. Our parents were loving and generous people of faith. Their devotion and loyalty to and belief in the Catholic faith made attendance at a Catholic school a must! There was never a discussion of any of us attending any other school. Even when we made applications for colleges, Catholic institutions were at the top of our lists. Our parents felt that a Catholic education would offer both an excellent education and the formations of faith as well. Our Catholic education provided a daily reminder that we are on this planet for a purpose; we have a God who loves us as His children and wants us to love and serve others. It encouraged us to use the gifts God has given each of us to bless others. Not only were discussions encouraged about faith and morals but we were taught that talk is cheap and it’s imperative to live out our faith. In short, Catholic education was designed to develop the whole person, and the significance of the spiritual component cannot be understated. Frequently, in Catholic schools, you have small classes with teachers who are committed and caring. Teachers have time to meet with students and parents to help when any problems arise. A healthy spirit of togetherness is established among students because of the small classes, the similar dress code, the friendships developed among the students’ parents, etc. School athletics are a great way for students to come together for a common goal and in Catholic schools the spirit created and manifested is infectious and leads to many positive insights about working together, sacrifice, commitment and discipline. From an academic standpoint, we were clearly prepared for the rigors of a college education. In Catholic school we were certainly taught that we have a free will to make moral and ethical choices, that we have to take responsibility for our actions and that God would give us the courage to not go along with the crowd when it was wrong to do so. We also learned that there are consequences for our actions. No Catholic school experience is without some humorous memory of students trying to pull a fast one on a teacher. For example, we had a class clown who literally crawled out of class one day and snuck back in to be complimented by the teacher, a nun, for being one of the few students who had behaved during the class. A few weeks later, he told some classmates he was going to fake a fainting spell. The same nun was tipped off and when he keeled over, she acted like she was in a panic and ran out of her classroom only to grab a large vase of water hidden in a nearby locker and dumped it all over the student and marched him to the principal's office. As part of our education, we were taught that we could use our talents to affect change when we saw injustice. In fact, one of the strongest reasons to send a child to a Catholic school is the emphasis on service and on compassion for those who are less fortunate. We are living in an increasingly materialistic, pleasure-seeking world where concerns for others are not made a priority in our work or in our day to day living. But Catholic education, with their requirement that all students expend numerous service hours, and with their support of local charities and projects and foreign missions for the poor, students get a healthy dose of seeing the truth in Jesus’s bold statement that “it is more blessed to give than receive.” In Catholic schools, we were taught to be a light to a dark world. Tim DiPiero, Fatima class, 1963 Biographical sketch on Tim DiPiero: Partner, Law Firm of DiTrapano, Barrett, DiPiero, McGinley & Simmon Visiting Professor, American College of Rome, Italy, 1982 Listed in: The Best Lawyers in America Since 1999 has represented NFL Association and NBA Association Board of Directors, Hope Community Development Corp., a non-profit created to empower the poor & assist at-risk children. Actively involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Catholic Education through the Teachers’ eyes
atholic education provides not only core curriculum, but education on how to be a loving, spiritual, person of God. As a graduate of 13 years of Catholic schools, I received a wonderful education from teachers who were loving and respectful, fortifying my Catholic values, in a non-discriminatory, familyfeel environment. I thank God every day that my parents sacrificed so much to provide these years of Catholic education for me and my siblings. As a teacher in a Catholic school, it is awesome to be able to combine God’s teachings into all of our subject matters and into all we do as a school outside of the classroom. This is why I am a proud graduate of Our Lady of Fatima and Saint Joseph High School, a teacher blessed to teach in a Catholic school, and a parent of Catholic school taught children. I believe the all around Catholic education that I was taught, and that is still being taught today to our students, will develop strong Catholics with morals and a love for God and all His creations. Amanda Day Our Lady of Fatima teacher & alumnus class of ‘91 Mr.s Day is not only an alumnus and faculty, but a school parent as well. In addition to her role as teacher in both PE and Health, she has served as Elective Advisor for the Intro to Medicine class and Culinary Arts. She has also been involved in promoting health & wellness events such as assisting in prior CSW Health Fairs, Jump Rope for Heart, Green School Initiatives, and school Dress Down days & walks for Breast Cancer Awareness.
n the medieval world, humanity understood what Beethoven was once quoted to say, that “music is the language of God;” that music is the audible expression of the physical laws which govern the universe, and a living testament to the awesome creative force of God. Today, we have lost that understanding. Today, music has been demeaned to a position of “provider of entertainment,” or “inconsequential diversion.” And the study of music for decades, in this country especially, was thought to be unnecessary; unworthy of precious classroom minutes. Today’s music curriculum in most public schools is a dumping ground for multiculturalism and has little to do with the study of music, and calculatedly nothing to do with God. The study of music at Our Lady of Fatima is not that way. At Our Lady of Fatima we are allowed and encouraged to study music in its proper context. The students are taught that when God gives us a gift, such as musical talent, it is our responsibility to develop that gift through disciplined study to the best of our abilities. Our students learn from Kindergarten how integral music is to the liturgy, and how the most important use of our musical gifts is to bring glory to God. When I began teaching at OLOF the music curriculum consisted of general music, K-8. Now, six years later we have general music Pre-K3 – 3rd, choir 2nd – 8th, band 4th – 8th, bell choir, show choir, and jazz band. Last year our Middle School Select Choir won first place in a regional choir competition in Cincinnati, and has earned a superior rating at that same competition the last two years. In the last two years approximately 40% of our middle school band has earned a place in the Cabell County All County Band, with the majority earning places within the first four chairs. Our most significant accomplishment, however, is that at two out of the three of our weekend masses at OLOF the majority of the time the cantors are recent alumni of our choir program, and our choirs regularly provide music for funerals. It brings me joy to be able to share my understanding of music with a wonderful, bright, loving group of children. I wake up every morning and thank God for the Church, my work, and my students. Kristie Finney Director of Music Our Lady of Fatima Parish and Parish School
Ms. Finney has not only expanded the school music program to outside activities. She also serves as the parish Liturgical Music Director, coaches many students after hours, and brought live music to this fall’s annual spaghetti dinner for the first time.
Ninety-five percent of our current school administrators and teachers are members of the laity. The preparation and ongoing formation of new administrators and teachers is vital if our schools are to remain truly Catholic in all aspects of school life. Catholic school personnel should be grounded in a faith-based Catholic culture, have strong bonds to Christ and the Church, and be witnesses to the faith in both their words and actions. The formation of personnel will allow the Gospel message and the living presence of Jesus to permeate the entire life of the school community and thus be faithful to the school’s evangelizing mission. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of school personnel who are not Catholic, but who support and cooperate in accomplishing the mission of the Catholic school. Copyright © 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.
came to Our Lady of Fatima Parish School in 2006 after 35 wonderful years as a first and second grade public school teacher. I was never one who counted the days until retirement so you might ask why I retired at only 55?? I could not really answer that question at the time, as I sat and cried as I wrote my retirement letter to the Wayne county school system. Now I can tell you why I did it - God knew exactly where I needed to be for what was ahead in my life. I love teaching and children are children wherever you go. The big difference I see in Catholic education is the ability to pray with the class, talk about God and his importance in our lives and attend weekly Mass with the class as well as helping the children actually lead the Mass. I even went through RCIA classes so I could be better informed about the Catholic faith and able to answer my children's questions about religion. In August 2010, two days before teachers reported for the new school year, my son died unexpectedly. After the funeral I knew where I had to be in order to survive - I had to be with my class, the Fatima teachers and staff and the parishioners. My children truly gave me something to get up for each morning and made me feel "normal" for part of each day. OLOFPS is an exceptional school with caring, wonderful children and excellent teachers and friends. I am so fortunate God made sure I continued my career where I needed to be and truly has held me in His hands the last several years. Linda Brewster Our Lady of Fatima Parish School teacher, retired Mrs. Brewster still serves as a substitute teacher for the parish school and is an inspiration for all who know her.
ome of my favorite memories from the 20112012 school year involve taking the 8th grade t has been my privilege to be an art teacher and class to Washington DC. After a year of librarian in a Catholic School for 22 years; and planning and fundraising, 12 eighth graders travelled as retirement looms ever closer, I cannot imagine to Washington DC to stay for 3 days and 2 nights. my life without the “family” that my students, their Throughout the trip I remained impressed by the parents and my fellow teachers have become to me. Catholic education is community in the most precious attitude of our students and proud of their behavior. Despite the fact that we were surrounded by groups sense of the word. Hard work and long hours are of students from other schools who rushed past balanced with faith and hope and the closeness of monuments and memorials without pausing their others whose vision I share. That is not to say that conversations or glancing up from their cell phones, we don’t have to hammer and hone our vision often. our students remained thoughtful, respectful and But while nurturing the faith and artistic growth of well-behaved. Even on the last day, when exhaustion my students, I nurture my own faith and hope for was setting in, they managed to take the time to read the future. We grow together as Christians and as artists and as a close community. All that I do for and and learn from the exhibits we visited. I was most impressed with the respect they with my students comes back to me in their growth showed at the Holocaust Museum, where I witnessed as caring, responsible, and faith-filled people. And teaching art in a Catholic school has provided me with two groups of our students really interacting with an exhibit on Nazi Propaganda- slowing down to read, valuable lessons in sharing talent and ideas, creative making comments, asking questions, and figuring out thinking to manage what we have to teach with and how to get whatever else we need. My school family the answers. Out of respect for the people to which is diverse in every way and yet, we all come together this museum is dedicated, our students slowed and paid attention, and they learned more than the typical through our faith. It really is a privilege to be a part of Catholic education and gives me great hope for the 14-year-old as a result. I am proud to be part of a school where respect future. and good behavior have a place of high importance, Linda Anderson Our Lady of Fatima Parish School and it was lovely to see the eighth graders putting Art Teacher and Librarian these skills into practice in the outside world, in Mrs. Anderson also teaches at Marshall University. She has many students working at college level on some projects. She also for many years spite of what their peers around them may have been has scheduled a book fair at the annual spaghetti dinner to raise money doing. for new books and supplies. The art classes and school library are at – Cynthia Westbrook, Our Lady of Fatima Parish or above many publicly supported libraries & art programs because of her efforts. The last 3 years, she has added a book fair and student Art School Spanish and Middle School Religion Teacher
exhibit to part of the Catholic Schools Week celebrations.
Mrs. Westbrook also teaches our Middle School Theatre Elective
y earliest recollection of Our Lady of Fatima Parish is when I was a wee little girl and attending Mass in the old metal church where the parish hall now stands. Fr. Tierney was a friend of our family and I recall many an evening when he would be at our kitchen table sitting with dad having some cocktails and planning the future of the church. The dream of a new church building finally came true for them in 1962 with the celebration of the First Liturgy on Thanksgiving Day. I began first grade petrified of the Sister who would become my First Grade instructor. She was overwhelming in her black gown with those HUGE rosary beads hanging from her waist. I even snuck my pacifier to school to suck on when I went to the bathroom! Seven years later, and many wonderful instructors past, I graduated to attend St. Joseph Central High School for four years. My first vocation choice was to be a nurse, but I loved to babysit and did so all through junior high and high school and continuing when I returned from a two year stint at WVU. It was then I determined that I wanted to be with children all day long. I received my degree from Marshall and landed my first position as a reading specialist at Crum Elementary. After a year and a half, I was made aware of a position opening at Our Lady of Fatima teaching the fourth grade. I interviewed with my former eighth grade teacher/ principal, Sr. Anita Fromm. Following an interview with Fr. Jack Federico, the pastor at that time, I was hired that December. Despite a two year move to Cincinnati with my spouse and children, I felt a need to return to teaching. As we were closing on our first home in Amelia, the blessing of a bad dream for my husband led us back to Huntington where I was rehired as the Second Grade Teacher by then principal, Sr. Carmella and have remained here ever since. Although encouraged by many to move into the public school system to make more money, I try to explain to others that it isn’t the income that encourages me to stay, but the self-satisfaction of instructing children the Catholic religion and all it’s beautiful teachings. The most fulfilling feelings have come from seeing a seven or eight year old enlightened by receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Through many years of wonder, laughter, excitement, pain, confusion, and sometimes anguish, I find such peace in working with children to assist their understanding of the Word of God . And I pray every day that I will continue to teach them the importance of being humble servants of the Lord while privileged to be on this earth. Mrs. Margaret Muth, Our Lady of Fatima Second Grade Teacher Mrs. Muth is Religious Coordinator for our school & longtime teacher at Our Lady of Fatima Parish School. Margaret has prepared hundreds of children for their First Communion and First Reconciliation insuring that the sacredness of the Sacraments are passed on to each generation.
The Face of Our Church We must face the reality of our Church as it exists today and as it will be in the future. We must be prepared to address the changing diversity of the Church’s membership. The Catholic Church in the United States is larger than ever. Many of our people are more financially successful, and they have moved into areas of our nation where, in the past, Catholics were a rarity. Catholic parishes and schools face the challenge of addressing the spiritual, educational, social, and cultural needs of a new wave of immigrants. In responding to the needs of these individuals, we must continue our evangelizing efforts by maintaining our schools’ Catholic identity and Mission. It is critical that we work with our people to erase any lines of prejudice and bias that may exist and create welcoming communities for these immigrants. People involved in this effort often suffer from meager human and financial resources. We need to seek support from the larger Church and civic communities to assist them in this work. Copyright © 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.
s a former student at Our Lady of Fatima, then parent and now employee, I see how Catholic Schools Week is a bonding experience for all the students no matter their faith. The students come together in unity for their community with a food drive. The student body is one when they cheer for the middle school students during a pep assembly. More important…the student body is one in Christ when they attend all school mass together, singing some of the very hymns I sang as a student at this school. The unity goes full circle. Mrs. Elizabeth Mayes, Our Lady of Fatima Parish School Secretary for the past four years and alumnus Class of ‘86. Mrs. Mayes is a Mother of six, three whom are OLOF alumni.
Catholic Education through a Student’s Eyes - Taraneé Karimpour
Valedictorian speech given at OLOF 8th Grade graduation, May 2011
ood evening, everybody! If you don’t know who I am, I’m Taranee Karimpour, a (now graduated) 8th grader at Our Lady of Fatima. And I am the “lucky winner” who will be giving you a thrilling, inspiring, and emotional speech! (sarcasm) Anyway, when I was first told that I was the one that was going to give this speech, I started to dread it. But, after some reflection, I found this as an opportunity: an opportunity to share thoughts that I wouldn’t share otherwise, like my stay at Fatima and how it has prepared me for the future. Also, it is an opportunity to thank all the people who have contributed to my life, and hopefully, yours too. So now, as I speak for all my classmates here, I would like to tell you why my time at Fatima was truly the best. I have been going here since I was a teeny tiny kindergartener, and over those 9 years, our school has gone through many different changes. But one thing has never changed: the unconditional love here in this place. I love how I can get up every morning, not hating school. Instead, I experience a sense of warmth and happiness as soon as I hop out of the car. It may sound sappy, but Father Jim, Mr. Jackson, our teachers, and our friends love us. Also, although it is hard to say in a lot of places in our world, we are all friends. Whether it be because we are a small school with small classes, or because we are all extremely nice people, or some other reason, we are always there for one another. Something else that makes this school special is how it is centered on the Catholic church’s teachings. My faith in God has grown and flourished here at Fatima. God and His teachings are incorporated into every part of the day, not just Mass and Religion class. It has made me into a better person- at school, at home, and in my daily life. And even though some students that go here are not Catholic, they are treated the same way as those who are. It is a great environment for all children, no matter what they believe. There are many more things that have made my time at Fatima so amazing, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be here until Christmas, so I’ll continue. Fatima has given me a lot for my future. For one, an “excellent” education that will help me go far. Also, Fatima has given me a strong faith, a conscience that knows right from wrong, and the knowledge to serve God in my life. And, I have received the gift of strong friendships that will never let me down. Because of my stay at Fatima, I have a future to look forward to. There are a lot of people who I would like to thank for their role in my life and at Fatima. First of all, thank you to the Fatima parishioners, who do so much for us that we don’t even notice. You have no idea how much they help us out financially, as well as with their support and prayers. Secondly, to all of our teachers, from kindergarten to eighth grade, even if you didn’t teach our class- God bless you! Nobody else in the entire world can do a better job at teaching us than you did, and even though we don’t always act like it, we really appreciate it. You have prepared us for the future by unlocking our potential and filling us with knowledge. Third, I am grateful for our parents; you love and support us to no end. You have always been there for us, and have always helped us with school related events. Things would have never gotten done without you. Fourth, for Mr. Jackson and Father Jim. Our school has become a wonderful place of learning, faith, and love for all, because of you. You are the ones that have changed our school, and thus our lives, for the better. Finally, last but not least, my fellow classmates. You have always been there for me, even when it was hard. We each have different qualities, but yet you still treat everyone with love and respect. You have taught me a lot about friendship, and when we go into high school, I will miss our united class so much. I have enjoyed my stay at Fatima and have received gifts that will help me in the future. There is no way I could thank all of you enough for all you have done. So, as I finally finish speaking, I would like to say this to my classmates: I love you guys so much. You mean so much to me. I will miss you and even though I will see you around, we won’t be together as a class. I know I sound depressing, but I’m almost finished. Meg is right: high school is like a new adventure, but if you need one of your old friends from that little school called Fatima, you know who you can call. Thank you. Taraneé was a 2010 Light of Christ recipient and is currently a 10th grader at St. Joseph’s Central Catholic HS SB A note for those not in attendance at the graduation that night; there was not a dry eye in the house.
Catholic Education through a Student’s Eyes Most Rev. Bishop McFadden: I wanted to let you know how much I like going to a Catholic school. Father Jim has made sure that there is no bullying at our school and taught us that we must get along and follow in Jesus’ footsteps. He has taught me to treat others as I want to be treated. The teachers are also very kind and helpful. I like the elective classes that we have so that we can learn about other things. My favorite was when Father Jim taught me public speaking. In conclusion, I love going to school at Our Lady of Fatima Parish School. Sincerely, Matthew Norton
atima welcomed me with open arms. It gave me a home... I only wish I could have been there longer. Sarah Bryan, OLOF Class of 2011 and Light of Christ recipient.
grew up at Fatima. Everyday I would wake up and actually be excited to go to school. I learned more than I could ever imagine and not only took away life long friends and knowledge, but also grew a strong faith that will stay with me forever. Meg Barber OLOF Class of 2011 and Light of Christ recipient.
hile I was at Fatima, my mother died while I was in elementary school. I was away for over a week, but finally my Dad, Joseph Heil; coaxed me to go back to school. With help from teachers like Mrs. Muth, Mrs. Jackson, and Mrs. Cole; I was finally able to get over that tragic experience. And later on when I was around 15, I read the story of Pandora's Box and this one quote just brought back memories of when I was helped by great teachers there. "When she opened it, all of the evils, ills, diseases, and burdensome labor that mankind had not known previously, escaped from the jar, but it is said, that at the very bottom of her box, there lay hope." From Pandora's Box So for me, Fatima was and is a sign of Hope. Nathaniel Heil OLOF Class of 2011 and Aquinas Medal Recipient
eing at Fatima has given me not only a great education in school's subjects, but it has also taught me how to respect and treat other people. Every person graduating from the school leaves there academically stronger and as a better person. Parvaneé Karimpour, 8th grader at Fatima parish school. She is this year's Aquinas award nominee
Math Field Day Teams Sixth, Seventh And Eighth Grades
2013 All-County Band Members
e participated in Kindness Month at our school during February (Feb. 12-15, National Random Act of Kindness Week). Throughout that week we handed out “kindness awareness” ribbons. The ribbons are neon green. We picked this color because green is a school color for Sandy Hook Elementary and we are did our acts of kindness partly in tribute to the victims who died in that school shooting. The ribbons are neon because we hope to light up the world with kindness! We gave ribbons out when an act of kindness was performed. The ribbons said “Kindness- pass it on!” in hopes that the recipient would hand the ribbon off to someone who was kind to him or her. Our Lady of Fatima Middle School Students
Character Or Good Grades?
“Driving in southern California recently, listening to talk radio, I heard a commercial for a Christian private school. The spokesperson went on and on about their very high test scores, the very high percentage of their students who go to top-rated universities, and other very high academic statistics. Send your child to Very high score Academy! We will bring out the best in your child! Really? I was amazed that in the commercial, the word “character” was not mentioned once. It was all about grades, test scores, scholarships, and the like, reflecting and exploiting the obsession today’s parents have with this trivia. “Trivia? Hello? Are you hopelessly stuck in the past, John, or what? Don’t you realize how important it is for a kid to get into the right school? Why, everything hinges on what college one gets into!” No it doesn’t. A poll of top executives, many of whom run Fortune 500 companies, found that quite a number of them went to “ordinary” schools like Western Illinois University, which just happens to be my alma mater. You ever hear of it? No? Fancy that! Nor do high grades make the individual. That includes test scores, class rank, or being in honors classes. If they did, all highly successful (by whatever standard) people would come from the top 10 percent of their classes. They don’t. Some were quite ordinary students. A pediatrician friend of mine never made a grand total of two A’s in undergraduate school. Another pediatrician friend of mine dropped out of high school and spent time in the military before getting his G.E.D and then going to college. And then there are the many stories of people who were high achievers in school, went to top-ranked universities, and never lived up to expectations. I know or know of several such people. One has lived on the public dole most of his life. Another became addicted to gambling, lost his job, lost his family, and dropped out of sight. In the 14th Century, William of Wykeham penned the motto of Winchester College and New College, Oxford: Manners maketh man. An individual’s manners are a reflection of his or her character, so an apt paraphrase of the motto is “It’s all about one’s character!” That’s as true today as it always has been. The C-student who always does his best and strives to improve is going to go further in life than the A-student who is a slacker. If you’ve ever been to a high school reunion, you’ve seen the proof of that. The person voted most likely to succeed didn’t, and the person who was hardly noticed in high school became a high achiever as an adult. And best of all, he’s a nice guy who supports worthy causes in his community. As was known seven centuries ago, one’s manners are a reflection of one’s character. Furthermore, it is by learning and practicing social courtesies that a child develops good character. Training in manners teaches a child to pay attention to others and look for opportunities to be of service to them, even in small ways like opening doors and helping carry things. A life well led is not defined in terms of how much money one makes or one’s title. It is defined by service to others. And service to others equates to humility and modesty, which the world needs a whole lot more of these days.” John Rosemond, September 2012 John Rosemond is a family psychologist who answers parents’ questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.
Catholic Education through the Parents’ and Parishioners ’ Eyes
he school mission statement sums up my feelings about this wonderful school "Our Lady of Fatima Parish School, where faith, learning and service have no limits." All my children attend or graduated from this academic institution. The school welcomes children of all faiths. Prejudice and religious intolerance are not allowed. Everyone prays together, from the little tiny ones with their prayers for a sick dog to the middle school students with prayers about the uncertainty of growing up. Spanish is taught in preschool. There is an outstanding band program from 4th to 8th grades, but the love of music is taught beginning in preschool. A "first you, then me" attitude is fostered in all the grades. Community service is required for the older students. But, it is a beautiful thing to see the younger grades offering their time and talents to help the poor in the community. Many of the staff are alumni of the school, which speaks volumes. Electives such as, Introduction to Modern Medicine, Guitar, Culinary Skills, Public Speaking, and Theater are offered to the middle school, another bonus you will not find at any grade/middle school in the state of WV.” —a parent
Catholic Education -Lee Ann Parker ear Lord I thank you reverently for Catholic Education, My children start their day in prayer and allegiance to their nation. I never have to worry if they might stumble or fall, I know that teachers, parents, students are all there if they call. They never have to try out if they decide to say “I’d like to…”, They’re always welcomed warmly with “OK let’s see what you can do”. Their school, like many others, will celebrate success, But also cheer a student on when not better than the rest. Some people think our family is making a sacrifice, But I see loving, helpful children who are worth whatever the price. I can’t imagine a better place for my kids to grow up today, I see it in their character, every minute, every day. Lee Ann is Director of Stewardship, cantor/choir member, OLOF school music/band booster and parent of Kelci & Bryce, alumni of our school.
ttendance at Our Lady of Fatima School cultivated an environment that empowered me to have a lifelong relationship with God. The forming of both my mind and soul during those years proved to be an invaluable gift from the Lord above as well as my parents. Sandy Deppner Wright, Fatima alumni President, Ritter Lumbar
have found the parishioners are so sincere and devoted to what they say and will do anything that they can to help. I attended Mass for three years and made the decision to convert last year with my son. Wanting to grow in faith, the children now also attend Fatima Parish School. My little Katie loves going to school but it was more difficult for Rocco to leave his small school in Green Valley and the academic program is much tougher but everything was made easier when Fr. Jim had been a huge part of their every-day experience. Suellen Ensign, Parent and Parishioner
ruthfully, all that I am I owe to my parents and Catholic education. Dr. Eduardo Pino, Parishioner
he nuns and other teachers worked tirelessly to ensure the students would become good citizens, by providing them with the necessary educational tools and religious foundation to accomplish these goals. Our Lady of Fatima School continues today to give their students an excellent start in life by being able to teach the students about God and His Love for them, and how this love will carry them throughout their lives. Charles and Kathleen Yarbrough, Parishioners
reat school with an awesome academic program, and caring involved teachers. The staff is attentive to both student and parent needs. The school also participates in state and community athletic programs. The weekly mass for the kids is wonderful with the students filling the roles from reading to altar-serving. The school is also attentive to the needs of special needs children, helping them to fit in perform with the rest of their peers. It is a Catholic School, but please do not let that discourage you at all; Our Lady of Fatima Parish School does not teach or condone religious prejudice. Students of many faiths may be found at OLOF, studying and learning together.— a parent
hen asked why my wife and I take the time to support our Catholic school: The answer was easy, "What better chance is there to have a positive effect on an entire life?" With tutoring, I can use the math skills I depended on as an engineer to explain to students their daily lessons and homework. The children are typically receptive and thankful for my efforts. Some students make it a point to give me a heartfelt THANK YOU after every tutoring session. When their grades go up, that is a nice reward too. If making repairs, I am usually around other teachers and volunteers who also are enjoying their work. We all have talents. My main talent seems to be I can fix things. I know that doesn't sound very precise, but if something is broken, I enjoy trying to repair it. As a mechanical engineer I understand "things" pretty well. Not too long ago I thought fixing things was a lifelong burden for me. But now I see it is as my gift to others. If I couldn't fix things, what could I offer up? Plus I have all these really neat tools in my shop!! My largest project dealt with replacement of the panic bars (referred to as “exit devices”) on the main school entrance doors. By purchasing the devices online and installation by my wife and I, we saved the school several thousand dollars. It was a stressful job at times, but in the end it was a lot of fun for us. My wife and I also help the school by donations to the school in the weekly envelope and together we assist with the annual rummage and bake sale which raise much needed funds for the school. We have made substantial donations of goods, constructed clothes racks, helped set up, provided baked good and cashiered. Obviously, I get more out helping at the school than I put into it. How is that? Well after half a century of God's blessings being heaped upon me, I feel the need to help others have a better life also. Helping at the school just feels good. What better place to help others attain a better life? Surely the Catholic school and supporting it seems a great way to help others share in the blessings I have always enjoyed. I thought about tutoring for several years but never volunteered. Once asked, I was relieved and said yes right away. Now I don't plan to quit any time soon. Special note: The writer of this article felt it very important that people be asked to volunteer their time, talents and treasure. We are asking YOU to join us today in responding to the various volunteer needs of our school. As he feels he is only doing what he is called to do, he asked that his name be withheld.
Research conducted by the United States Department of Education, the National Catholic Educational Association, and other independent agencies shows that Catholic schools make a major impact in closing the achievement gap for poor and minority students in inner-city environments. Catholic schools have a lower dropout rate (3.4 percent) than both public (14.4 percent) and other private schools (11.9 percent). Ninety-nine percent of Catholic high school students graduate, and 97 percent go on to some form of post-secondary education. Catholic school students continue to score well on standardized tests (such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress) in subjects such as reading, mathematics, social studies, and science, often surpassing standards established by federal and/or state agencies. A Harvard University study issued in 2000 reported that Catholic school students performed better than other students on the three basic objectives of civic education—the capacity for civic engagement (e.g., voluntary community service), political knowledge (e.g., learning and using civic skills), and political tolerance (e.g., respect for opinions different from their own).1 Copyright © 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.
have been involved with Catholic Schools since 1972. This is when I married Georgeann who was an English and Math teacher at St. Joe High School. Later she became the high school Counselor and after a few years, she became the Grade School Principal. All along her career I was helping out in any way that I could. Bookkeeper, Bingo Manager, Key club Driver, etc. whatever needed to be done. In 2004 I started a Video Ministry here at Our Lady of Fatima. The idea was to provide DVD’s for the homebound people who could not attend our Church service. I have also become involved in the recording of school activities such as Concerts, Christmas programs, Graduations and other productions or school functions that have taken place. As a graduate of Public Schools, I am an avid supporter of the Catholic School system. Students receive more attention and a better education in a Catholic school than elsewhere and I am glad to help out from time to time. The best part of a Catholic School education is that God is included not excluded from our lives and this makes a student a better well rounded person who knows right from wrong. When problems in life occur, our graduates are better prepared to deal with them, often with a good outcome. I am proud to be of service to my Church and Catholic School because this is a place you can Believe in. William Warfuel, Church Videographer
hat does a Catholic Education mean to a Family? Is it where the students get to pray in class? Is it a better scholastic education? Is it a closeness the students feel to each other due to a smaller class size? Of course it is all these things and so much more. Every day we walk out our front doors with certain expectations of what the day will bring. As adults we have learned many lessons, some the “hard” way, and handle a variety of situations each day. We always want more for our children than what we had. A Catholic education is the best way I can think of to give that. In today’s society, there are many pressures on our children. They deal with situations everyday that we never saw until we were adults. How children handle these situations depends on what they are taught everyday in school as well as home. At home we know what are children are watching, reading and playing. At school, we have to have faith that our children are being taught the right lessons, the right way. We can not always control the situations that our children find themselves in. We have to have faith that the people teaching our children are instilling the right lessons and values. Whether it is in a Parish School, CCD class, or lessons and values taught at home, there is no better base than Catholic teachings. The people who teach our children in the Parish School during the week and at CCD on Sundays take God’s word and intertwine it into each lesson. When science is taught, the students also learn that those achievements are capable because of God’s gifts to us. The same goes for math, social studies as well as all their subjects. Religion is not only its own class, but is taught as a way of life. Our children learn that they can accomplish anything they set out to do. They have faith, values, drive and love behind them. Their teachers have answered at least two callings. One, to teach our children the scholastic lessons they need to succeed. Two, they have chosen to do this in a Catholic setting because without God, those lessons are hollow. We are lucky to have so many that love God as well as our children, teaching them alongside of us. Hunt Bryan Our Lady of Fatima Parishioner, CCD volunteer coordinator & Parent of Sarah Bryan, Class of 2011
s a non-Catholic, but a Fatima parent of an alumnus and another student still at the school, a few comments were requested on Catholic Education. So here are a few comments. While no school is perfect, many strengths: • History of and commitment to excellence in academics; strong emphasis on service • Sense of community in smaller school setting -- everyone knows you; supportive environment; etc. • Setting establishes high expectations of kids and believes in / supports the child in reaching them. • Integration of faith, service, and education -- reinforces the point that we do not segregate these components of ourselves or our lives from each other, but that they are core parts of who we are and how we live our lives. • To some extent, Fatima has offered a greater exposure to students of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, particularly important in WV where there is often less diversity for kids to experience compared to many other parts of the country. • Exposure to another Christian tradition than our own offers kids the opportunity to compare, contrast, and question. This can provide opportunity for discussion of how and why we do some things similarly and some differently in our own tradition. —Submitted by a parent Catholic schools are often the Church’s most effective contribution to those families who are poor and disadvantaged, especially in poor inner city neighborhoods and rural areas. Catholic schools cultivate healthy interaction among the increasingly diverse populations of our society. In cities and rural areas, Catholic schools are often the only opportunity for economically disadvantaged young people to receive an education of quality that speaks to the development of the whole person. As we continue to address the many and varied needs of our nation’s new immigrant population, the Church and its schools are often among the few institutions providing immigrants and newcomers with a sense of welcome, dignity, community, and connection with their spiritual roots. Copyright © 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.
s a recent convert to Catholicism, the sermons preached by our parish priest, Fr. Jim Sobus called me to put the gospel into action and thus I put my God-given talents of plumbing, electrical and painting into use at our parish school. After completing a few repairs, the children started coming to me and thanking me for fixing their locker, updating their bathroom, and other little things. It struck me that at a public school I would have been taken for granted and ignored by the students. I knew then that Fatima school was teaching all the children about respect and gratitude. My heart was warmed when even the smallest little girl came up to me and said, “I never get to see myself or use soap on my hands”, thank you for hanging these so I can reach them. Two specific incidents of teacher dedication stand out in my mind. The music department classroom had some water damage to the walls which I offered to fix. Ms. Finney, music teacher, quickly jumped in although it was summer vacation and went and picked up paneling and supplies to get the project done. Ms. Finney also had her tool bag at the ready to pitch in to help repair the wall & make other improvements beneficial to the classroom. I marveled at this dedication and then found that was the norm at this school when I saw Ms. Anderson, art teacher & librarian, and her mother scrubbing down the art tables, mopping the floors, and painting the steps to the library in bright primary colors during summer vacation. Working for a common cause is also evident in the school. Just one example, though there are many, was when boys and girls bathrooms were being painted. Dave Irwin, another new convert was painting the boys bathroom while I painted the girls. Alas at the same time a hot water heater went out and I was asked if I could repair. I apologized to my co-volunteer and said I would be back the next day to finish the girls bathroom. An immediate response came back, “no, I’ll finish them both, no problem”. This type of can-do attitude is prevalent everywhere in the school. When someone asked me “what are you getting out of this, you aren’t on the payroll?”, my answer was “I’m working for God”. In reflecting on this, what a great employer He is… my employee benefits were bountiful. I received joy from such well behaved and kind children, I grew my own faith by the example of so many dedicated people sharing their faith and belief in Catholic education and made many friends. Being part of Catholic education is what it truly means to be Catholic. Robert Pennington
had heard much about Our Lady of Fatima parish school, before having the opportunity to be a Visiting Professor a couple of years ago. Dr. Abner invited me & 4 others, 3 nurses and one Marshall student nurse, to help direct the school's first Intro to Medicine mini-medical school and mock OR. It was a day long adventure where we broke the students into groups and they rotated through stations. Though it was my first visit, I was made to feel very welcome by the other attending personnel. The students were relaxed changing into scrubs, but remained very well behaved and attentive. I was surprised to see how much enthusiasm and participation took place. The luncheon lecture of Faith and Healing given by Father James Sobus. It was stories of encounters with people who were ill and in need of healing and comfort in his experience in the communities he had visited involving his parish work. I noticed how comfortable the children were with him, raising hands, asking questions, getting involved in the stories and outcomes. How he cared and answered, assured and shared his feeling of concern and care. I wish all schools could have this experience. I grew up in a public school in England and we were fortunate to have Religious Instruction as part of our curriculum. Today it seems, so much is lost and our children are exposed to topics and issues in schools that are not necessarily in their best interest. Much is presented in a biased manner too. Well in speaking about the school, it was not my intention to get side tracked, but to make others aware of my positive feelings I felt that day. I commend the school, the staff, Fr. Sobus, and others I met that day in Huntington. It is that way because of the diligent work to care and nurture the school/ church. Tina Sherriff, R.N.. Ms. Sheriff has been a Registered Nurse for 35 years, many of which have been in the operating theatre. She and her husband have 2 adult children.
atima tennis began for me in 1996 when I began helping my wife Sheila, who started the program several years before and taught at Fatima at the time, coach the team and I have been there ever since. It has been a very rewarding experience for me as I have met many wonderful young people and their families. The support of the parents has always been excellent and it shows in the children who play for Fatima. We have been blessed over the years with accomplished players and have won many Cabell County Middle School Championships both with the girls and boys teams and countless individual awards. Perhaps even more rewarding is to see a young person who has never played start their tennis playing at Fatima and fall in love with it and continue to play well beyond their Fatima years. We have had many West Virginia State champions win with the area high school tennis teams and some continue to play in to their college years and beyond. Some have received athletic scholarship help with their tennis play. I enjoy following the tennis players in to their high school careers and it makes me proud to have been a small part of their tennis, and hopefully, character development. It is truly a sport that they can enjoy for their entire life. Besides my wife, I have also been blessed with a wonderful coaching partner in Sam Kinker. He has coached with me for many years and we have become good friends. Hopefully the program will continue for many years to come. Jim Leach, Long-time Tennis Coach at Our Lady of Fatima Parish
Stewardship through Scrip
When I entered the Catholic Church at Our Lady of Fatima in 2009, it truly was one of the best experiences of my life. From that experience, grew a deep desire to serve and please God by helping others. I wanted to find a cause that I could put my heart into and be passionate about. I had not decided what that was going to be, but I trusted that God would put me where he needed me and where the skills he had given me would be used to carry out his work on this earth. When I told Fr. Jim, he asked if I had ever thought about helping a small Catholic school. Since I do not have children, this had never crossed my mind. Nevertheless, I agreed to do so because this was not about me. This was, as Fr. Jim told me, a way to give back to the Lord for the gifts he has given me. Fr. Jim then asked me if I knew about scrip. Since I didn’t know what he was talking about, I researched it, and the more I read, the more excited I became. Scrip is a program where our school receives rebates on gift cards to hundreds of places like Walmart, Kroger, Sam's, Speedway, Lowe’s, and Outback. Hundreds of businesses are donating money to our school and many of our parents and parishioners help collect it by using these gift cards. I realized the potential scrip had for helping to secure a future for our parish school. With scrip, our school could retain the best teachers, provide tuition assistance to families who could not otherwise afford a Catholic education, and provide the curriculum and technology to keep our students’ test scores in the top 10% in the nation. Scrip could also fund educating our children about protecting the unborn and helping the poor. More importantly, it would help sustain a school whose mission is educating students about using their God-given gifts to help others without hesitation and with humility. As Fr. Jim has stated in his homilies, we are to be witnesses to the Lord outside of the church. The Lord does not want us to sit idly by while we wait for his return. He expects us to carry out his mission on this earth using the various gifts he has bestowed on all of us. Remember, no talent is insignificant as it is a gift from God for which he has a purpose and has entrusted to us. At first, I didn’t realize that my talents could make a difference in our parish school. However, over three years since have passed since introducing the parish to our scrip program, we’ve raised over $150,000, all of which goes to support our parish school. And, as our parish and parish school continue to grow, our scrip program grows with it. But why do I use my talents to help our parish school when I don’t even have children? Why am I so passionate about scrip? Every time that I use scrip, whether it be filling up my gas tank or buying a loaf of bread, I am providing financial support to our parish school. Our parish school – where each school day begins with a prayer. Our parish school educates our schoolchildren about the importance of good manners, which are practiced everyday in our school, in a society where pleasing oneself is the objective. Our parish school educates our schoolchildren about the importance of being humble in an increasingly arrogant society. Our parish school educates our schoolchildren about the need to love and protect the unborn in a society that promotes abortion. Our parish school educates our schoolchildren about the need to help the less fortunate in a society that often overlooks them. Our parish school educates our schoolchildren to put others before themselves, in the middle of a selfish society. Our Bible teaches that when the Lord returns, each of us will give Him an accounting of our life. On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God and He asks me what I did with the time and talent He gave me while I was here on earth, I hope I will be able to say to Him humbly, that I endeavored to educate some of His little children, who grew up to be good witnesses to the Lord and who made a difference in the community and in the world. Lisa Lucas, Development Director, Ms. Lucas also helps with Hospitality, Stewardship and Potluck Dinners
Stewardship of Talent
r. Isabel Pino, a local pediatrician and Medical Director of the WV Children’s Health Project , is the perfect example of a successful product of Catholic education – in fact Dr. Pino laughs and says “I’m the product of Catholic education in two countries”. These values are evident in Dr. Pino’s daily life. Giving of self and putting others first is the life Dr. Pino has chosen for herself and she does this in a kind and compassionate manner sprinkled with laughter. Strong faith and trust in God was required for the Pino family to leave their beloved Cuban home fifty-one years ago on Christmas Day. Her father, also a physician and director of the local hospital, and her mother made the difficult decision to leave everything behind when her father was taken out of their home by machine-gun toting militia after he became vocal against the new Castro regime. Her courageous father had spoken out when freedom of the press was abolished and the democratic election did not occur. Isabel was nine at the time and remembers her mother taking food to the guards for them to give her father, food which he never received. Isabel remembers leaving behind her family of many priests and nuns. She explains, “the nuns who served the hospital were from Mexico and we became family”. As Isabel left her school and friends behind, she brought with her two warm and loving cultures, Cuban and Mexican (and delicious recipes from both). Upon arriving in the United States, Isabel’s parents could not afford Catholic schooling and she went to public schools in the 5-6-7th grades. During this time her parents tithed two dollars regularly in the collection plate, which was a generous undertaking almost a half century ago and coupled with the fact that her father supported a family of seven which includes her grandmother. Wanting to get their children back into Catholic education, they went to the monsignor who oversaw St. Mary Michael Catholic School. Monsignor asked them to put five dollars in the collection, a substantial increase, however Isabel’s father said “we will sacrifice for our children”. Isabel’s most memorable moment in her Catholic school life occurred when she was a senior in high school and became a United States citizen. Her senior class surprised her with a party but the most precious gift was a United States flag which had been draped over the casket of a World War II veteran, one of her classmates had offered up this treasured item this up for this special occasion. Isabel credits Rosati-Kain Catholic High School for helping to channel, nurture and challenge her as a student. In speaking to students at her old high school, Dr. Pino stressed giving of self. “The Catholic idea of stewardship focuses on time, talent and treasure. When you tutor another student or organize a fundraiser, you give a gift of your time. When you go Christmas caroling at a nursing home or help coach a Little League team, that’s a gift of your talent. When you buy extra groceries and donate them to a food drive, that’s a gift of your treasure”.
As important as a sound Catholic school education is for the new immigrant and the poor, it continues to be of prime importance to those children and grandchildren of the generations who earlier came to our shores. Our Catholic schools have produced countless numbers of well educated and moral citizens who are leaders in our civic and ecclesial communities. We must work with all parents so they have the choice of an education that no other school can supply— excellent academics imparted in the context of Catholic teaching and practice. Copyright © 2005, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Pino’s life is one of stewardship. In her work, she travels 300 miles each week going into some of West Virginia’s most poverty stricken areas to deliver health care to children. In addition to seeing patients all day, she teaches nutrition, trains Head Start workers, and helps arrange transportation for children needing additional care. In her spare time, in addition to volunteering at local Catholic schools, she goes on medical missions to Nicaragua, Honduras, and Angie, Louisiana. She was joyous to learn there was a medical mission team going to Dominican Republic because “I could show my gratitude for getting my medical degree there”. In summarizing her belief in Catholic education, Dr. Pino says enthusiastically, “If I had children they would go to Catholic schools. Everyone should have an opportunity for Catholic education.”
Reporter’s note: After interviewing Dr. Pino it was evident why Fatima parishioner Dorothy Walker calls her “my angel”. Dr. Pino is a compassionate, caring, warm and friendly person who puts others first.
Stewardship of Time
osemary Bronosky and Marion Manning combined have served OLOF Parish School for almost a century and are still going strong. Many remember Rosemary as the school secretary when copier machines weren't even used. Parent notifications regarding spaghetti dinner & ice cream social fundraisers, First Communion attire, May Processions, Christmas plays & report card notifications were printed on a mimeograph machine which required Rosemary to crank round and round for hours. Typing was done with the use of carbon paper in order to maintain an office copy, all labor intensive but done with love. Rosemary still serves the school as Coordinator for Volunteer Tutors. Rosemary unselfishly gives of her time and talent to help students needing a little boost in their studies. In addition to tutoring, Rosemary heads up the Sweet Shoppe in conjunction with the annual spaghetti dinner school fundraiser. Rosemary starts early calling volunteers for their delicious specialty desserts, an enormous project in itself but then three generations from the Bronosky family (Rosemary, husband Bill, daughter Mary Bates, and granddaughters Jenna & Lindsay work non-stop accepting and pricing baked goods/sweets, selling, & tallying the proceeds. Rosemary has passed on the value of Catholic education to her family by example. Rosemary's love and devotion for Our Lady of Fatima Parish School is also shared by Marion Manning. Marion has assisted in our school office and performed numerous special projects throughout the years. If Marion got a dime for every time she counted "milk money" for all these years she would probably be a wealthy woman. Her ready smile insures generations of students remember her. Marion is also known as the "flower lady". She has brought numerous flowers from her glorious garden to be used in May processions, in classrooms gracing beautiful statues of Our Blessed Mother, and for funeral luncheons, and "in the good old days" graced the altar with God's beautiful blessing of flowers. Marion is at every fundraiser acting as cashier and the de facto Fatima welcoming committee. Bishop McFadden, Chairman, Committee on Catholic Education encourages us all to take time to think about promoting this year's Catholic School Week theme, "Raise the Standards" for Catholic education and evangelization of the faith. When we do so, we should remember these two shining examples of stewardship who raised their families, practiced and promoted their faith, found time for other corporal works of mercy and supported Catholic education as the foremost way of evangelizing the faith.
orothy Walker, moved to Huntington in December and lost her husband, who was also her best friend, in January. When Dorothy stopped by the school gym to drop off her treasures for the rummage sale, she was warmly welcomed by the many parents and parishioners sorting and separating rummage. Because of the fellowship and care by these members of our church and school Dorothy was soon giving her time and talent in helping organize donated goods for the rummage sale. The Annual Parish/School Rummage Sale was instituted in the early beginnings of Our Lady of Fatima School. Founding women of the parish and school such as Mrs. Ballangee, Mrs. Prady, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Page and Mrs.Mays were just a few of the dedicated women who worked the first rummage sales. Later, parents and parishioners held the rummage sale in the old church (quonset hut) enduring the summer heat in that hot metal building. Ask Mrs. Tyson or her son David about the generosity, fun, and fellowship over three generations of Fatima school families. David, one of our best advocates for the rummage sale, evangelizes his faith through his warm and ready smile in welcoming every buyer who comes through the doors the day of the sale. As the demands of daily life increased and more mothers developed careers outside of the home, the annual rummage sale was forgone. However, in response to a call from our parish priest to support our school due to an ever increasing number of families needing financial assistance, the rummage sale was re-instituted with all proceeds going to the school. We re-instituted our first rummage sale the same year Dorothy moved to Huntington. Dorothy now provides Fatima fellowship to others as she serves in the 11:15 coffee and donuts fellowship ministry. The circle of love for our school, parish, and service to others continues to grow.
Parish and School United: FUN-RAISERS An abundance of parish and school volunteers and a gourmet chef join together every year to continue the tradition of the Our Lady of Fatima Annual Spaghetti Dinner, the first fun-raiser established by the school and parish in 1956. The spaghetti dinners involve weeks and weeks of planning and hard work. While preparing, serving and cleaning up almost non-stop for three days, everyone who participates leaves happy and satisfied for contributing something to the common good for our school. Susie Smith, who had been coordinator of the spaghetti dinner almost seventeen years ago, said she was a little scared back then because it is such a large project. Susie now takes it all in stride and says she is the “mother hen” of the group. My role was to organize and orchestrate. It was Susie who coined the phrase “fun-raiser”, feeling that it isn’t a competition of how much should be made, but how much fellowship and fun everyone has. Susie and cocoordinator, Margaret Muth, fulfilled their goal 150%. The Annual Spaghetti Dinner has grown from a parish/school event in the 1950s to a community wide event serving approximately 3,000 people with over one hundred gallons of homemade spaghetti sauce from the recipe of one of Huntington’s finest culinary artist. Rev. James Sobus says, “Each year the dinner at Our Lady of Fatima is a much anticipated opportunity for community fellowship. The food is incredibly delicious and the environment is a lot of fun for the entire family.” It is not unusual to see three generations of parishioner families working together whether it be making salad, dishwashing, baking for the Sweet Shoppe, or serving up the steaming plates of spaghetti. In addition to mouthwatering food, entertainment was added to enhance the ambiance of the beautifully decorated gym transforming everyone back to old Italy. People came from as far as Charleston and Ironton to see family and friends and reminisce about past spaghetti dinners and visit the Sweet Shoppe for a homemade delicacy. Another integral part of the fun-raiser is the Book Fair, a special delight to the children as Clifford the Big Red Dog roams the halls inviting them to read a book for fun. Through all these combined efforts approximately $20,000 is raised for the school each year through this event. Susie Smith & Margaret Muth, co-chairs of this year’s dinner, say it is important to note that this year (2012-2013 school year) everything was donated, demonstrating the community spirit and support of this special event. While Lenten Fish Fry dinners are commonplace in Catholic parishes, our dinners are uniquely different in that they combine the efforts of two parishes, one school, and a multitude of volunteers. Volunteers from our sister parish, St. Stephen’s, work side-by-side in the kitchen preparing two hundred baked potatoes while parish and parent volunteers fix the sides. Off to the side are Fr. Jim and fish dinner coordinators, Beth Kreuger and Phaedra Tye, fileting fish for frying. Almost immediately after school on Friday, teachers and students smile and laugh as they make their way to the parish hall to work together through the evening. A sense of family is evident as school students serve and clean-up while teachers work on the serving lines and in the kitchen. Parishioner and parent volunteers rush in with their donations of homemade desserts and man the beverage table, while others continue to cook to insure hot and ready food. After numerous taste testing for the special “secret” batter sauce, the parish priest stands outside over the deep fryer. Everyone laughs and says Fr. Jim is like the mailman, “neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet will keep him from his appointed rounds” every Friday as “fish fryer”. Of course, not to be forgotten are the dishwashers and kitchen help who go non-stop keeping everything clean and organized. Fish, family, fellowship and fun are the order of the day on Lenten Fridays at Our Lady of Fatima.
SWEAT EQUITY & STEWARDSHIP God given talents are in abundance at Our Lady of Fatima Parish and School as evidenced by the numerous works performed by volunteers. Many others donate the goods to accomplish these repairs or improve our facility such as water heater, mulch, flowers, bathroom decor, brass hand/kickplates, rug, furniture, etc. It is estimated that the following repairs & donations have saved our school and parish approximately $130,000 in just a few short years. PAINTERS: Girls & boys bathrooms, 2nd grade classroom, principalâ€™s office, school office, cove base in hallways. Library floor & stairs, outside foundation block, & awnings. Paint playground parking lot posts safety yellow Music building painted ELECTRICIANS: Rewired computer room renovation. Annual inspection of emergency lighting/exit sign & replacement of bulbs & power packs Replacement of burnt-out bulbs in classrooms, hallways PLUMBING & AIR CONDITIONING: Installed new water fountain Unstop sinks, K-class, school lunchroom, boys bathroom, lunchroom Repair gas leak, library & major gas leak in school lunchroom/parish hall Remounted three loose sinks, boys bathroom Boiler repairs Installed recirculating pump, water heater Repaired water leak, basement, library Girls/boys bathroom renovations to include: Installation of three new sinks with vanities, girls bathroom Regrout & recaulked floor mounted urinals Repaired dishwasher
If you would like to give of your time and talent on projects similar to these, contact the Parish Office 304-525-0866 or School Office 304-523-2861.
BUILDING ASETHETICS & GARDEN DESIGN: Designed & installed decorative "screen" to cover window wells/hide piping Carpet repairs (torn, runs in carpet) Replace stained ceiling tiles in classrooms/hall Tree pruning, weeding, bush trimming, flower planting & mulch Power wash sidewalks, front of PH & school Clean brick walls outside of gym exit doors Installed wall paneling, music room Installed new brass kickplates & hand plates (donated) on double doors to stairs & upstairs bathrooms Cleaned gutters, library Installed drainage tile for playground, then laid gravel & rubber safety mulch. MECHANICAL: Door repairs, kick stand repairs in school & combined school/parish hall lunchroom Installation of new "crash" bars on exit doors. CLEANING: School lunchroom/parish hall kitchen complete summer cleaning.
Lazarus Ministry “And Jesus wept” (John 11:1-57) Jesus’ compassion for his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus is evident in the story where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Jesus performed this great miracle because Mary and Martha did not falter in their belief that Jesus was the son of God. It is also extremely important to realize this was Jesus’ last act of love and compassion that led directly to the Sanhedrin’s decision to kill Jesus. I had just lost my mother when Fr. Jim Sobus explained he was creating a new ministry, called Lazarus. Fr. Jim, outlined a comprehensive bereavement support program to serve those who have lost a loved one. This included picking up family members arriving at airport &, train/bus stations, purchasing essential groceries needed by the family, housesitting during the visitation & funeral as thieves target houses of the deceased. Also helping the family decide on readings & music for the funeral mass, preparing food for them, visiting them, listening to them, praying with them, and uplifting them in the months to come when the demands of daily life and their grief weigh them down. When Fr. Jim asked me to head up this ministry, I first thought “Oh, this is something where I can really help people”. Little did I know that I would always receive much more than I would ever give. The first time I went to the homes of those who had lost a loved one I was apprehensive and had doubts about my role in this ministry. What would I say? How could I offer them comfort? I knocked hesitantly on the door of Anita Prelaz who had just lost her beloved husband, Ed. As I saw the tears well up in her eyes, my heart melted. At that moment I reached to hug her and we hung on like our very lives depended on it. Sharing in her sorrows, we bonded as sisters in Christ. The friendship we developed was as much as a balm for me since I had lost my mother and I realized Fr. Jim’s wisdom in asking me to head up this ministry. Joy is not the first word that comes to mind when a death occurs, but joy is what Lazarus ministers feel when serving their Fatima family members. Friendships are forged, whether it be from the fellowship of those helping set up the funeral luncheon or in sharing our lives with our Fatima family members who have lost a loved one. It was joy when our “luncheon” ladies, who range in age from 60 to 87, were cleaning up after a funeral one day and our principal, Mr. Jackson, noticed the tired look on their faces and sent over the middle school children to help them clean up. Sacrifices are made. Lazarus Ministers drop what they doing in their own lives to answer the call to serve others. Our school children sacrifice their break away from the classroom as their school lunchroom is transformed into the social hall for the funeral luncheon. They put into action their school theme of “you first, then me”. Teachers and administrators interrupt their daily schedule to insure altar servers and the children’s Select choir and Bell choir participate in an outpouring of love through the liturgy for those whose loved one has died. Tests are rescheduled or the teachers arrange time after school for the children to make-up their tests – all small sacrifices made in order to serve others. As you pass by a classroom you may witness our school children praying or saying the rosary for the deceased and their families. The Lazarus Ministry has continued to evolve in its role for evangelization of the faith. There is an abundance of food remaining after funeral luncheons and Lazarus ministers prepare food plates for lonely neighbors, homebound parishioners or new mothers. Desserts have been taken to Hospice House for families to enjoy and trays of ham have been given to the homeless on the riverbanks. The ministry has ninety-four members and range in age from six to ninety-three. I like to think that Jesus is no longer weeping, but smiles when He looks down on the outpouring of love & compassion by the Lazarus Ministers. Won’t you come join us?
January 28, 2013
ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT'S WEEKLY COLUMN: CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND THE CHRISTIAN MISSION â€œGod renews the world with our actions, not our intentions. What separates real discipleship from surface piety is whether we actually do what we say we believe. Our vocation as Christians is not simply to pass along good morals to our children, or convey a sense of God's hand in the world. These things are vital, of course, but they don't exhaust our purpose for being here. Our mission is to bring the world to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ to the world. Each of us is a missionary, and our primary task is the conversion of our own hearts and the hearts of others so that someday the whole world will acknowledge Jesus Christ as humanity's only savior and Lord. That's a big job. We can't do it by just talking about it, any more than Christ could redeem us by writing an essay on sin. The Gospels have power because they tell the story of what God did; what his only Son did; and what Christ's followers did. The Passion accounts of Christ's suffering and death move us so deeply because they show in bitter detail how unashamedly God loves us. This is the hot spark at the heart of every sincere attempt to tell the story of our redemption. God spared not even his own Son in saving us. No wonder the cross draws the eye of great artists again and again down through the centuries. The blood of the cross reminds us that - on at least one day in history - love had no limits. And since then, everything has been different. How does this relate to Catholic schools? We tend to forget that for much of its history, the United States has not welcomed Catholics or their faith. Anti-Catholic prejudice and violence were common. Catholic schools in the 19th and early 20th centuries had the task of ensuring the survival of the Church by protecting Catholic children from the heavily Protestant formation found in American public education. Times have changed, and today believing Christians, whatever their background, usually try to seek common ground rather than reasons to disagree. This is a great blessing. But the "countercultural" work of Catholic schools - forming young lives in virtue, truth and a vivid Catholic identity - remains crucial. In a national environment that often seems morally confused, and increasingly indifferent to religion in general and Christianity in particular, Catholic schools offer a path not just to knowledge but to moral wholeness. By anchoring themselves in the love of God, Catholic schools, at their best, create in the student a hunger for achievement and academic excellence. They form young people in the kind of moral purpose that leads to leadership and social responsibility in adult life. In their effect, our schools are a treasure not just for the Catholic Church, but for the whole public community. That's why our archdiocesan schools are worth fighting to keep alive and to grow, despite all the financial pressures we now face. And that's why Catholics need to be politically engaged on matters like school choice and financially generous in their support of Catholic education. . As we rightly honor our school teachers, administrators and wonderful donors, we need to remember two things: First, the excellence of our schools makes them worth all of our sacrifices; and second, the purpose of our schools is much more than mere professional success. God built the Church we've inherited through the love of generations of believers. Their witness made our faith possible. It's now our turn to shape the future by the zeal we bring to our own daily witness. It's our turn to act. It's our turn to live our Catholic faith with all the courage and strength Christ brought to loving the Church he founded. Catholic schools play an irreplaceable role in making that kind of vigorous Christian witness a reality. More than any other reason, that's why they're important. The Church depends on God who will always renew and protect her. But she also depends on you and me teachers, pastors, parents and so many others - to carry Christ's mission into the world. Words are cheap. Actions matter. It's time to live our Catholic faith as the apostles did - and through it, to reshape the world.â€?
Stewardship of Life Stewardship has become a household term in many walks of life, with varying concepts. To some it is as “simple as giving”. Some divide it into “categories”. There is a Polynesian saying quoted by Joseph Campbell, “Are you sitting on a Whale, fishing for minnows?” As a physician, I view Creation as the Whale and minnows apply to everything we do, discover, develop, use or have. All gifts are given by the Creator and one must receive first in order to give. So while there is merit in the Stewardships of Time, Talent, and Treasure, all are embodied in the Stewardship of Life. For without Life, there is no Talent. Without Life, one does not enjoy the Gift of Time. And when we do have it, we know not how much we have. Without Life, there can be no Treasure. As they say, “Whatever you have, you can’t take it with you.” Even our bodies dissolve and return to the earth. How does that apply at all to Catholic Education? Well, first & foremost, the Catechism of The Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that Life is present from the moment of conception to natural death; from the womb to the tomb. You will not find that in many schools for sure. If anything, what you will find are beliefs taught and often suggested that are CONTRARY to that teaching. Not only do students hear about the Dignity of human life at Fatima, they have the opportunity to SEE this as well. In past years, the students have viewed Ultrasounds at various stages of pregnancy, to see human life as it is, nurtured by the mother, but “unseen” by many in our culture. This fall year, a couple of new things occurred in our area. First, for the first time, Huntington, WV participated in the 40 Day for Life International campaign. Secondly, the parish school was the only school participating in this area and was instrumental in the support of this inaugural local campaign in conjunction with Cabell, Wayne, & Putnam Counties Right to Life Groups. How? By promoting through speech, example, and especially in prayer. Middle schoolers participated in multiple activities and a number of them spent time at the Vigil prayer site. One example of how one person CAN make a difference: A lady (whose does not wish to be mentioned) has been a longterm, active, prolife participant. She is part of the Cabell County RTL and member of a local Baptist church. She was reluctant at first to be “publicly praying” at the Vigil site for a number of reasons. But the example of the students “gave her the courage”, she said, to try it. She did it a number of times. She shared the experience she had one day alone at the Vigil site. A pregnant lady came to her because she was “out there praying” and had some questions for her about “getting help”. She was made aware of some resources in our area and was directed to them for assistance. She was incredibly moved that her courage affected this lady enough for her to choose Life. The school also heavily supports Birthright and New Beginnings through many service projects throughout the year. As also a mother of 3 children, all “Catholic school educated”, Mary Star of the New Evangelization they have been made to feel “comfortable with death”. They Holy Mary, star of the new evangelization, have also attended and altar served at a number of funeral make us the light of the world. masses, comforted families in the school and parish during times We receive Christ in the Eucharist; of loss and been comforted. Hopefully as they grow, they realize help us build the Kingdom in the world. that death is a part of life for everyone and that Life truly is a Teach us to do whatever He tells us. Gift. This is our Faith. May our study of His life lead us to love Him, Life-giving blessings~ and our love for Him lead us to imitate Him. If we are what we should be, Kellee’Abner, M.D. we will set the world ablaze and affect the St. Gianna Physician’s Guild culture. John Paul II Bioethics Commission We ask your intercession to make this so, Physician Consultant for Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network through Christ, our Lord. Parent of 1 alumnus, 2 students currently at parish school. Amen.
In Gratitude to our Partner in Education
St. Mary’s Medical Center Our sincerest gratitude to St. Mary’s Medical Center, our Partner in Education, for publishing this special stewardship edition on Catholic education. From the very beginnings of our school until today, St. Mary’s Medical Center has been an integral part of Our Lady of Fatima Parish School through their stewardship of time, talent, and treasure. Stewardship of time and talent was provided by the medical center in making our Parish/School Health Fair a grand success. Students from the St. Mary’s School of Nursing participated by taking vital signs and the medical center provided nutritional and preventative health advice. As our Partner in Education, St. Mary’s Medical Center has provided marketing and design assistance to our school in helping us promote our Catholic identity. St. Mary’s Medical Center also provides financial support through our fundraisers and special project needs. We are grateful for almost sixty years of support of our school, and look forward to sixty more. “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything”. ~ Thomas Merton