There are lots of traditions that surround homecoming at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, but increasingly one of them is community service.

Associate Michelle Barrie

The idea started last year, and this year Associate Michelle Barrie, working in her role as Office of Catholic Ministry coordinator, orchestrated three days of service, with nearly the entire enrollment going out into the community to help.

Over the course of three afternoons, students worked with their grade counterparts to help out at nearly 20 different organizations, churches and agencies.

“Homecoming is a big community event,” Michelle says, “and this was an extension of that community feeling, only we concentrated on helping others.”

Our Lady of Victory was one of several nursing homes where students served

Fr. Dan Belanger, left, and Fr. John Peeters cheer on the homecoming parade route

Viatorians who support the high school, including Fr. Dan Belanger, CSV, chaplain, and Fr. John Peeters, CSV, chaplain of the larger Bishop McNamara Catholic School system, cheered on the students in the annual parade and at different work sites. Viatorian associates also pitched in to grill hot dogs during the traditional senior lunch during the week.

Working together paid off at the homecoming game, as well, when the Fighting Irish defeated the Warriors of Wheaton Academy, 48-21.