The end of the school year brings graduations, inductions, and ceremonies. Our Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools are no different in this respect. Where you will see a difference is in the location of our celebrations.
We are a Christ-center school, and His church is our home. We might eat cake in the school cafeteria afterward, but we break bread around His table first.
When St. Philip Catholic Central High School inducted its new National Honor Society members and officers, they did so at Mass.
When St. Joseph Catholic Elementary and Preschool honored their 2017-18 Crayons to College and Career nominees and scholarship winners, they did so at Mass.
Two extraordinary ceremonies could take place nowhere else but during Mass.
Our second-graders spent all year preparing for their First Communion, including receiving their First Reconciliation in February. Joyfully, they gathered with their families and friends at St. Joseph Church to receive our Lord for the first time.
Weeks later, our eighth-graders capped two years of preparation and prayer to receive the sacrament of Confirmation at St. Joseph Church. Together with their brothers and sisters in the religious education program, they were sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Our graduating seniors will attend three Masses in cap and gown.
The first was the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Philip last Wednesday with the rest of the high school. This year Bishop Paul Bradley said the Mass and the seniors sang a class song. Afterward, the school hosted the Senior Honor Ceremony, followed by the seniors walking the high school halls one last time.
The second was the school Mass at St. Joseph yesterday with the elementary and middle school students. Afterward, the seniors walked through the elementary and middle school hallways, receiving high fives, before heading to a celebration lunch.
The third Mass will be their formal graduation ceremony at St. Philip on Sunday, June 3rd.
There are more special school Masses to come before we put 2017-18 in the books. One such Mass, however, was a quieter celebration.
Amy Doyle’s first-grade class gathered for Mass at St. Joseph on the fourth anniversary of first-grader Caleb Fransisco’s Grandpa Pete’s passing.
“The kids and I have been learning about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, and we read how important it is to not only pray for the living, which we do all the time, but remember those who have died,” Mrs. Doyle said.
It wasn’t a full school Mass, just Caleb, his first-grade classmates, and his family. There were no pictures, just a desire to pray for the repose of a soul who meant so much to our schools and, of course, his family.
“Pete was a champion for our schools,” Mrs. Doyle said. “Not only is he incredibly important to Caleb and his family, but he was also a huge supporter of our schools, our kids, and our faith.”
The end of the school year is special, but for our school family, every time we gather around Christ’s table is special.