Fr. John Peeters, CSV, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, launched a new tradition with school children in his parish last month: a backpack blessing.DSC09268

While offering a special blessing at the end of Mass for students returning to school is somewhat traditional, blessing students’ backpacks was new.

Yet, Fr. Peeters had his reasons.

He called all of the young school children to the sanctuary at the end of Mass, and asked them to turn and face the assembly. He described their devotion to their studies and academics as a vocation.IMG_3444

“You can serve God by going to school and learning about God’s world,” Fr. Peeters said, “by being with other people, by being loving toward others.”

The campus of St. Patrick Church serves as home to Aquinas Catholic Academy, which draws students from four surrounding parishes, but it also hosts a vibrant religious education program for its parish families.

Before returning to their parents, Fr. Peeters backpack tagsdistributed backpack tags — bearing a cross — to each child, that he ultimately blessed, along with the backpacks and students themselves.

“We ask your blessing on these special backpack cross tags,” Fr. Peeters said. “When the students see the cross on their backpacks, help them to remember that you are always with them.”







we want to say a special prayer for you,

asking God’s blessings on you and on this school year.