St. Columba School: A community in faith, knowledge, and service

By Kevin Chick, principal

The annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week is an exciting time. Like many schools, St. Columba’s celebration includes a week filled with events including dress-up days, the annual religion quiz bowl, a carnival, a teacher-student basketball game, and of course, prayer. More than fun activities, though, Catholic Schools Week is a special celebration of the theme: “Communities in faith, knowledge, and service.” This theme guides St. Columba in faith formation and evangelization, in academics and in service.

To begin this school year, St. Columba has been learning, praying, and living the fruits of the first beatitude in our “Prayer and Praise” assemblies. We are following Pope Francis who chose the first beatitude in Matthew’s Gospel as the theme for the 2014 World Youth Day: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” This began in September in sharing in the fruit that “we know we need God every day.” The St. Columba student body meets each month in community to share and prepare to live the Word. As a parish school, we are blessed to have Father Kevin Novack lead us every month in reflections on the fruits of the beatitude. We use the fruits of the beatitude to guide our prayer, our school and our actions each month. During the Catholic Schools Week celebration, it is fitting that the poor in spirit “look to God for peace and joy.” While students are growing in prayer and understanding of how the fruits of the beatitude help them seek God, they are also active in sharing these fruits through their works.

In preparation of Catholic Schools Week, St. Columba has been active in the works and service that bring the love of Christ to our community and the world. St. Columba students are engaged in many community activities ranging from collecting food for our food pantry, to visiting retirement homes. Through our “Gift Giving to the Elderly” program, our students provided hundreds of gifts to those who are most likely to go without during the Christmas season. Our students are also engaged in stewardship activities like community recycling and our on-campus agriculture project offering food to those in need. The works of our students extend to orphanages and villages throughout the world. With weekly collections and a special Christmas store run by teachers and students, our community raises thousands of dollars to bring fresh water and education to many in need. While strong academic standards are important components to a successful school, it is the vibrant and active community in faith and service that make Catholic schools great.

Catholic schools play a vital role in the life of the Church, local communities and in forming young people. As communities of “faith, knowledge and service” there is much to celebrate. This is a time to join in prayer and hope for the future of our students and the continued success and growth of our schools. St. Columba School looks forward to joining all Catholic school students, parents, teachers, administration, and clergy in serving as the poor in spirit in looking to God for continued excellence in Catholic education.