Today wraps up a unique component to Bishop McNamara High School’s homecoming week: By the end of the day, every high school student will have participated in some type of service in the community. Over the course of three afternoons, students worked in teams to help out at nearly 20 different organizations, churches and agencies.
Credit Associate Michelle Barrie, Coordinator of Catholic Ministry at the school, with organizing all the students and their work sites — and making service a priority among all of the festive homecoming activities.
“Homecoming is a big community event,” Michelle says, “and this was an extension of that community feeling, only we concentrated on helping others.”
One local example was the team of girls who reported to Maternity BVM Parish as their work site. They dusted tables, pews, statue bases, window sills and side altars as well as baseboards in the office area. Parish officials were thrilled with their enthusiasm and elbow grease: “In 45 minutes an untold amount of dust was taken up!”
That’s not all the news coming out of the Office of Catholic Ministry on this Wednesday. Michelle starts every Wednesday with prayer time before school begins, that ends with Mass. This month, a prayer box was placed outside the office, where students could place prayer requests in this locked box, to be offered up during the weekly prayer services.
Michelle explains that the prayer boxes — there is another one in the junior high — was the idea of an alumni parents. Dr. Marc and Kris Fisher, and talented art student, Kristin Clodi, decorated them.
“The prayer time is for all adults, teachers, staff and community members,” Michelle adds. “It has been a special time for our school and to pray for the needs of our school and students.”
Bishop McNamara Catholic School is celebrating its100th anniversary this year. Its roots date back to 1922, when the high school opened in the former St. Patrick’s School. Run by the Sisters of Loretto originally, the Viatorians became involved in 1931 when they accepted an assignment to serve at St. Patrick Parish.
Viatorians would serve as teachers, coaches and administrators for more than 50 years, with Fr. Erwin Savela, CSV, serving as principal until 1988. Fr. John Peeters, CSV, continues to serve as executive pastor on its board of governors, while Associates Ken and Michelle Barrie coordinate the Office of Catholic Ministry within the school.