4 Ways This Year’s Faith Day Impacted Our School
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School is often regarded as a family-like community. Our faculty and staff strive to teach mutual respect to our students, and we maintain a strong focus on service to those in need. Faith Day, held every year at our school, is a culminating day of prayer, service, community and study that impacts all our faculty and staff in an extraordinary way.
The students broke into small groups called “faith families” which consisted of students from all the different grade levels and one or two faculty/staff members. They spent the day with their family, participating in activities, prayer, and service projects together.
This year, there were four major ways that Faith Day impacted our school:
Three cups of dramatically different sizes were placed in front of our students. Each one was filled to the brim with water. The students were then asked, “Which one is more full?”
As we practice virtue, our hearts can expand both to love to a greater capacity and to receive the love of God to a greater capacity.
Debates broke out between students as they tried to figure out the answer to the question. Finally, the adult leaders explained that all the cups were equally full, but some contained more water than the others. This was an image of magnanimity. As we practice virtue, our hearts can expand both to love to a greater capacity and to receive the love of God to a greater capacity.
Each faith family then drew pictures and wrote examples of deeds we can do to have a magnanimous heart on large pieces of paper cut in the shape of a heart. All the hearts were hung throughout the school as a reminder for us to become magnanimous.
Two Dominican Friars visited the school from Washington, D.C. and spent the day with our students. They heard confessions (with the help of our pastor, Fr. John David) and visited with the students throughout the day.
Our students also had the opportunity to gather in the gym and ask the Dominican Friars any questions they wanted. Our students were able to ask three questions of the friars, and then the friars would ask the students a question. One question a friar asked was, “Does anyone know why we wear the rosary on our side, attached to our belts?” After a few incorrect answers, they explained, “Because this is where soldiers wear their swords. We are soldiers for Christ, and the rosary is our greatest weapon against Satan.”
The friars were asked which one was better at basketball, so, to the delight of our students, and in true Dominican fashion, they pursued the truth and had a shoot-out to figure out who was best!
As the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, so it was the source and summit of our Faith Day. The day started with the Mass, and then all the students gathered together for praise, worship, and adoration. The gymnasium was turned into an adoration chapel for the day, where students could visit to spend time with our Lord in prayer.
Near the end of the day, the friars led a procession through the gym, bringing our Eucharistic Lord within inches of each student. Calling to mind the story from the Bible of the woman who reached out and touched the cloak of Jesus and was healed, many of our students reached out and touched the vestments of the friar as he passed by with Jesus. The grace and mercy of the Holy Spirit overflowed through our gym as our students came face to face with our loving creator.
Charity to Others
After encountering our Lord in the Eucharist and through reconciliation, our students learned that the natural reaction to receiving so much from our Lord should be to in turn share with others.
Within their respective faith families, the students drew pictures and wrote Bible verses on bottles of water and canned goods. They were informed that families who were in great financial need would receive the food and water, and that many times these families benefit from receiving encouragement with the gift. After decorating the cans and bottles, they were given to our Outreach Office to be distributed to the poor in our community.
The Faith Day this year proved to be rejuvenating and spiritually uplifting for the entire school. All four of our pillars, (prayer, study, community and service) converged into one day that brought our school closer to Jesus Christ and deeper in our understanding of what it means to be a community in pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.