Thanks to all of you who helped us celebrate Catholic School's week. Thanks to all of you who support our Catholic school endeavor. Those of you who attended one of the masses last weekend heard one of our eighth graders talk about how they live a beatitude life. Following are the essays given by the students.
Beatitude Essay by Olivia Woods
St. Mary’s school has helped me live out the beatitudes through outreach. Because of the many charity works we have done, such as collecting clothing and supplies for Herlong Elementary School, a coat and bike drive run by the third and sixth grades for Catholic Charities, and the 8
grade Halloween Carnival for Sam’s Team and the Alex Solis Fund, our students help those described in the Beatitudes, and realize their true faith in Christ.
Our whole school also came together for Jensen, an 8
grader at our school diagnosed with synovial sarcoma. Our school lived out “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” for the weeks that our school was saddened at the end of Jensen’s long-fought battle last fall.
Now, these are all school-wide accomplishments. How has St. Mary’s helped me personally? Well, student council has helped me become an independent and strong person, and has helped me live out “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”. I have learned how to bring peace to the school and the world through our outreaches such as bake sales for charity, assemblies to teach the school about social justice, and earth day activities. I have also come to follow “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” from being taught how to follow Jesus. Psalms 119:9 says “How can a believer keep his heart pure? By keeping it according to the word of God”. St. Mary’s has taught me to keep my heart according to the word of God by holding monthly student-led masses and beginning and ending every day with prayer. I have become very familiar with the word of God, and through this I have become pure in heart.
I would like to thank all of my St. Mary’s community and teachers for making me who I am today. St. Mary’s has truly helped me live out the beatitudes not only in school but in everyday life.
This essay was written by Molly Robson:
St. Mary’s School has been dedicated to developing a strong foundation for my life, intellectually and spiritually. Jesus Christ is the reason for our school. He is the unseen, but ever present teacher in my classes. He is the model of the faculty and the inspiration to me. As an 8th grader at St Mary’s, I can now reflect back on this and I realize that my years here have reinforced the teaching of the Beatitudes. One in particular that comes to mind is:
" Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God "
This is a phrase I have come to know and live by during my past eight years at St. Mary’s School. During my first and second grade years here, our school theme was, “Go out and be a Peacemaker.” This meant that every monthly mass or school oriented occasion revolved around this theme. The older students were encouraged to positively influence the younger students and were assigned as “ buddies,” and as “family group leaders.” We were taught to pray together, respect each other, and live our faith to the fullest every day. We performed skits, made signs, wrote poems, and gave rewards to those exemplifying kind behavior towards others. Those were also the years that knowledge was something new, strange, and exciting all at once to me. With the “Go out and be a Peacemaker,” phrase stamped in my mind, I slowly, but surely learned how to incorporate it into real life situations. I can remember friends arguing with each other and rather than taking sides, I helped them resolve their disputes. In fifth grade, our class continued to grow through outreach programs. On select days we visited with students from PACE; an organization that helps teach mentally disabled students and other days we helped at Sacred Heart Community Center, sorting the clothing closet or prepared for food distribution. These different outreach programs taught me lessons I couldn’t learn out of my schoolbook or in the classroom. They showed me real life experiences as simple as being a good person and helping someone not quit as fortunate as myself. My class and I finally entered the 6th grade, which brought numerous teachers, a heavier workload, and pier pressure; we were faced with the natural formation of cliques. Most of us had spent the past 7 years together, knew one another quite well, and we were all striving for independence. St. Mary’s teachers and parents worked with us during these new teen years. A series of classes, called “Project Cornerstone, ” were developed to teach us how to work and play together. We were taught to respect and embrace each other’s individuality and preserve peace amongst our many different personalities. St Mary’s School is a place where every student matters and where self-discipline and respect are highly regarded. Now I am in eighth grade and ready to graduate. This has been our most difficult of our 9 years together. We had to say goodbye to a friend and a classmate, Jensen, after she lost her courageous battle with cancer. Her life and death was an example of the importance of humility, love and charity. She lived the Beatitudes and her passing only reinforced what we have been taught at St Mary’s. We are a family and we support each other through hard times in our lives. As I prepare to leave St Mary’s and move to a new high school community, I will always have the legacy of the united St Mary’s family in my memories and in my heart.
The environment I was exposed to during my school career goes beyond the bricks and mortar of the buildings. It was also a nurturing environment. The teacher’s care, the parents are involved, and Christ is present in our school every day.
I have the foundation from my education and my friendships here to go out into the world and make a difference. I know how to love others and I am a Peacemaker.
Essay by Meredith Duflock
The Beatitudes are powerful words, given to us by Jesus Christ, only Son of God. They teach me how to live life as my Father wants me to. Here are St. Mary’s, I’ve learned to do exactly that, living life as I’m supposed to, and doing what I know is right. I’ve learned to live by the Beatitudes, and by what I think are the four most important: to be peaceful, humble, pure, and to always, always,
do the right thing.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told us, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” What is a peacemaker? I think it’s someone who tries to solve problems, who wants equality and fairness. When I walked out the door of sixth grade, my head was filled with, “Be a peacemaker.” I saw my classmates fighting, and I knew that I had to help them resolve their differences without violence. Violence hurts people. That is essentially what I think it means to be a peacemaker: to understand this simple fact, and act on it. To live this Beatitude is to try to solve problems everyday, and to know that there is always another way to perhaps achieve the same end, without causing harm to God’s children.
“Blessed are the meek.” Blessed are the humble. This means to me that I have to be modest, and try not to flaunt my successes in the faces of others. This lesson was really driven home when we participated in charities, things like Soap for Sacred Heart, or blankets and warm clothing for Herlong. When I go to visit these centers now, I think of how it feels to help them, and how much more valuable the feeling of giving is than the feeling of having. It is not hard to live this Beatitude… to me, it is rewarding in itself. To me, being humble is being giving.
“Blessed are the pure in heart.” When I sin, I turn away from God. When I go to Reconciliation, God forgives me. That’s why Reconciliation is important- because I know God is ready for me to turn back to Him. Reconciliation is an opportunity for me to rid myself of guilt and start over. That’s why all of us go to Reconciliation- because it’s important for us to live the Beatitudes, and know we are forgiven. Being forgiven is the same thing as being cleansed. If I am pure in heart, I know that I can help others to receive forgiveness also. If I help others to be forgiven, I am living as God wants us to.
Doing the right thing. That’s the central message of the Beatitudes. Those who do the right thing will be rewarded in Heaven. I have to do the right thing, no matter what the cost. That’s been the central message around me from the day I entered St. Mary’s in kindergarten. That doing the right thing is important. Because it’s what God wants me to do. Living as He says, by the Beatitudes, is important, because if I live by the Beatitudes, I know I am doing the right thing. If I am pure, humble, and a peacemaker, I am doing the right thing, living as He wants me to. That’s what I’ve learned the past nine years, and that’s how I’ve learned to live, here at St. Mary’s. Doing the right thing is everything. It’s the right thing to defend your faith. It’s the right thing to stand up to a bully. It’s the right thing to believe in God. Everything Jesus told me, through the Beatitudes, the priests, and the whole New Testament, comes down to one simple thing: do the right thing. Because doing the right thing will lead me down a path that I know will wind up in the right place: in Heaven, with God. It may be twisty, and it may have bumps and spills, but I know that living as Jesus taught me will bring me to where I need to be, in the end. Because I have faith. I couldn’t stand up here and talk to you about the Beatitudes if I didn’t have faith in my school, faith in Jesus, faith in life, and faith in the path that has been set for me.
So when I walk out these doors, that’s what I’m going to do. The right thing.
JULIAN KERN’S Beatitude talk
When I think of St. Mary’s, I am reminded that not only have I grown physically and mentally as a student, but spiritually as well. My teachers teach at an excellent standard, and for that I am proud to learn from them. However, I am not here to talk about academics. Rather, I am here to talk about how St. Mary’s has influenced me on a spiritual level, namely with following the beatitudes.
All the beatitudes are significant but some of them have directly influenced the way I live my life.
The first beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, is a humbling message that tells me all my gifts come from God, and I cannot hope to achieve salvation without God’s help.
The second beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land” refers to the fact that although there are many in our world who struggle to receive the basic necessities, God shall and will provide and it is important that we help God provide. Throughout my years I have participated in many outreach projects, which allowed us to provide for those who can’t do so on their own.
“Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted” took on a new meaning for me as we shared one of our classmate’s journey through cancer and eventually death. We all came together to show and share our care and concern for her and for each other.
“Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they are the Children of God”, is another important beatitude for me. God encourages peace and friendship among all of us. We have worked in our family groups to be better peacemakers. I think that the older students working with the younger students is good.
In many ways, St. Mary’s emphasizes the importance of these beatitudes in our daily lives. I can say that I am proud to be a part of St. Mary’s, a school that has taught me so much and helped shape who I am today.
Daniel Torre’s Beatitude essay
Matthew 5 has a message for all of us. The Beatitudes are a summary of all of Jesus’ teachings, and not only apply to the time that Jesus lived, but still apply today. Jesus taught us that no matter how misfortunate we are on earth, if we live a good life and keep our faith, we will be rewarded in heaven, if not on earth.
The Beatitudes have had an effect on me while attending St. Mary’s. Going to St. Mary’s has given me many opportunities to help the less fortunate and make me be a peacemaker. Some of those opportunities include going to Sacred Heart Community Center with my classmates. While there we either sorted out food or helped put clothes on display. Another good example was when my class organized a concert to raise money for the Sunbeam Foundation. The Sunbeam Foundation is searching for cures for childhood cancer.
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. This is a Beatitude that recently affected my classmates, our entire school, our parish, our community and me. We all mourned a special classmate for quite sometime when she past away from cancer. I felt really bad that I hadn’t seen her in a while. It was a very difficult thing to deal with, but I believe that made me closer with my classmates. There was somebody always there for me when I needed comfort, and I tried to be there to comfort my friends when they needed it.
While being a student at St. Mary’s School, I have found that the students and faculty are very pure in heart. The teachers are caring, understanding and very generous with their time. They truly want what is best for their students. I know that my teachers want what is best for me and they will do what ever it takes to support me. I think this has taught me to be a better person. I am always willing to help my friends when they need it. I really like my classmates because we all get along with each other and we make sure everyone is included – we don’t have cliques.
The Beatitudes have a positive impact on St. Mary’s. I can see their influence at St. Mary’s and in my own life almost everyday.