Service is one of the most important parts of being a follower of Christ. In Matthew 25:40 Jesus tells us that whatever we do for the least of his, we do it for him. One of my favorite things about working at a Catholic school is the focus on living this challenge in our everyday lives. Celebrating service is one way to highlight one of the most impressive things about Catholic education.
Here are three ideas for ways to celebrate the theme of service in your school:
- Pick a patron saint for the day. Mother Teresa, Damien of Molokai, and Pier Giorgio Frassati would all be excellent choices of role models who served the poor.
- Have students dress as members of service professions: firefighter, police officer, doctor, veterinarian, nurse, teacher etc.
- Create “good deed beads”. Saint Therese is said to have carried around a string of ten beads which she would slide up and down to keep track of good deeds she did during the day and to challenge herself to be aware of ways she could serve others.
Here are three ideas for school-wide service projects to try. Some may need to be week-long projects or even longer, but you could have them culminate or begin during Catholic Schools Week.
- Create bagged lunches for homeless people in your city. Because our school is directly across the street from a homeless outreach center, this is easy for us. The older classes make the sandwiches, the middle grades assemble the bagged lunches, and the youngest students make encouraging notes to slip in the bags and decorate the bags themselves. If homelessness is not an issue in your area, maybe you could make lunches for people who serve others and deliver them to your local churches and fire stations.
- Collect toiletry items for low-income seniors. This is a project our school does every year with the two other local Catholic schools. Each school collects certain items and then we combine our efforts to make Valentine’s boxes to give to local seniors who need assistance.
- Make cards for sick and homebound members of the parish and school community. Because Catholic Schools Week is pretty close to Valentine’s day, we often make Valentines as part of this service project. To up the curriculum connection, I use this as an opportunity for students to review how to use a concordance to look up verses on a specific topic or word. We find some great verses about love this way.