St.Francis of Assisi’s Annual Mardi Gras Celebration

The 15th Annual St. Francis of Assisi Mardi Gras event was held Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Leflore County Civic Center. The entertainment was provided by DJ TRAXX CRE8TOR. There was a New Orleans-style buffet with party setups and favors. The event draws a crowd of varied nationalities numbering around 300 to 400 each year . Their ages range from 25 to 80 years of age. This is the largest parish fund raiser of the year with all the proceeds going to help St. Francis School. The greatest percentage of the money raised is used toward tuition assistance for our students.

Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday that dates back thousands of years. There are different traditions for preparing for Lent.  One of the most famous is Carnival, known as Carnaval in some parts of the world. The celebration involves finishing up all the meat before Ash Wednesday  Mardi Gras translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”.

 

The parish committee members along with the Friars and Sisters transformed the Civic Center into a festive space featuring traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.  The amazing arch of balloons marking the main entrance to the ballroom was fashioned by one of our school parents.

 

Sister Elena, Brother Patrick and Sister Kathleen relaxing and enjoying the festivities!

 

Fr. Kim took everything in as this was his first experience of our parish Mardi Gras. He was there for the setting up, decorating and actual celebrating. He fit right into the practice of Southern hospitality by meeting and greeting all of the guests.

 

Two of the St. Francis School cooks headed up the New Orleans style meal and enlisted the help of some of their friends in the preparations and service. Yes, this bevy of beauties made a brief appearance out on the dance floor after the meal!

 

The colors for Mardi Gras date back to 1872. Purple represents justice, green represents faith; and gold represents power.

 

Catholic Schools Week Ends With the Celebration of God’s Love

It has been a full, fun  and fruitful week for all at St. Francis of Assisi School. The planning and preparing proved to be worth the effort! The many activities will long be remembered by Mrs. Lewis, Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students. The last day of this busy week, coincided with the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.  We also marked  commemoration of St. Blaise which fell on Saturday.  These wonderful events in the Church in themselves, would make for a full school mass. However, February 2 was also the 58th anniversary of ordination for our own Fr. Camillus. More to celebrate!

Each class presented a candle bearing the names of all the students in that grade.  The Faculty and Staff presented a candle as well.  Brother Patrick awaits the arrival of the Entrance Procession and receives the candles and displayed them before the altar.

 

 

Fr. Cam narrated the reenactment of his ordination during the homily of the Mass.  3 sixth grade young men took on the roles of Bishop, attending priest and ordination candidate.  They lent great joy and dignity to the dramatization.

 

Fr. Cam chanted the Litany of the Saints as Daniel lay prostrate in the middle aisle of the church representing the offering of self to God.  Fr. Cam is wearing the vestment his mother sewed for him to wear at his First Mass.

 

The “Bishop” then proceeded with the questioning, the anointing of the hands with oil and the vesting. Each part of the rite was enacted by our young men as Fr. Cam had done 58 years ago on February 2, 1960 in West Chicago, IL

 

Mrs. Lewis, our Principal, presented a card of congratulations made by Sister Kathleen.  All the students, faculty and staff signed this special greeting.

 

Following communion, the first graders sang a beautiful arrangement of Simeon’s Canticle with hand motions.  It was a holy moment of thanksgiving for all.

 

After the final blessings Brother Craig and Mrs. Lewis held the blessed candles as each one in church came up for the blessing of St. Blaise. “Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Throughout this time of blessing, the students sang many verses of “This Little Light of Mine” with much joy and praise in their voices and in their hearts.  We pray that they will continue to let their lights shine all their days!

 

Franciscan Sisters and Friars Share Vocation Stories with St. Francis Students

Catholic Schools Week included an opportunity for the Sisters and Friars to meet with our students to share thoughts and experiences related to religious vocations.  Each pair of classes was assigned a Friar and/or a Sister to give a living testimony to the call to Religious Life.  Each team or individual found their own way to share their message in an age appropriate way with their appointed class.

 

 

 

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St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Schools Week Activities.

In keeping with the theme of Catholic Schools Week,  and in preparation for setting the tone for the week, Sister Kathleen and Sister Elena volunteered to do the main hall boards.

Catholic identity flowed down the halls of the school as  each class decorated their own classroom door. Students and teachers cooperated to put creativity  into many forms.

 

One of the tenets of this year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week it that of service.  So,throughout the week students brought in food items for the Greenwood Food Pantry. This is a project our students are accustomed to doing in order to help the food pantry meet the needs of so many of our neighbors here in Greenwood. It also instills in the students an awareness of their responsibility to reach out to those less fortunate. Each day they brought a different items to create a donation pyramid.

Catholic Schools Week Sock Hop

Catholic Schools Week brings many varied activities to our students. This one was a ton of fun for the students.  The term “sock hop” was a new one to nearly all the students.  They envisioned themselves doing a lot of bunny action without their shoes!

 

Sister Kathleen aren’t you going to come and dance with us?

 

It didn’t take long for the fun and laughter begin!  Although the room was quite warm, no cool down time was to be had.  This was far too much fun!  Rock on, St. Francis School!

St. Francis of Assisi Student Triumphs at Spelling Bee

Five students from St. Francis of Assisi School participated in the Leflore County Spelling Bee. This group joined students from across the county in competition.  All of these super spellers returned to school cheering and wearing big grins! Mrs. Lewis, the Principal and Mrs. Banks, their Sponsor, shared their excitement when Ruben, a fifth grader,  brought home  the second place trophy. They had all worked hard to prepare for this annual competition. The trophy was a wonderful reward for all of their efforts and a source of pride for the whole St. Francis School community.

 

St. Francis School and Parish Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

St. Francis School joined St. Francis Parish to open the local celebration of Catholic Schools Week  here in Greenwood. “Celebrating your Parish” was Sundays’ theme.  Students, parents, staff and parish members all gathered for the Sunday Mass.

The nationally used logo for 2018 filled the sanctuary wall welcoming worshippers to the liturgy.

 

 

Students greeted parishioners and their guests at the church doors, welcoming them to the celebration of “Catholic Schools Week”.

 

Mrs Jackie Lewis, our Principal, welcomed the assembly to the Eucharistic liturgy and to the celebration of Catholic Schools week.

 

Students served as lectors proclaiming the Word of God at the liturgy.

 Fr. Kim proclaimed  the Gospel from Mark 1:21-28.  Students enacted the Scripture which told the story of  the man  possessed by an unclean spirit.

The students are always eager to read the universal prayers during our weekly school mass, so many were ready to assist us at the Sunday Mass. The final petition lifts up all the written needs placed in the parish “Book of Prayers”.   A student presented the book during this prayer time.

 

Mass continued with the collection and presentation of the gifts.

 

During the time of reflection after Communion, the students prayerfully sang “Lord, I Love You” and interpreted it with gestures.

 

The celebration of the Eucharist spilled over into the school hall where all enjoyed a treat of  doughnuts from the local doughnut shop.  So Catholic Schools Week was off to an amazing start with the sharing of the Bread of Life and lots of smiles over sweet, sticky doughnuts. Thus began a week of many events.

 

 

 

St. Francis School Accents Advent

Advent signs of silence and darkness…all is in readiness.

As the world busies itself hanging tinsel, shopping sales and stressing, St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi took a quiet moment  to truly celebrate Christmas in a wholly holy way!  The students and staff proudly presented Creation to Christmas: A Musical Jesse Tree, composed by Rosemary Hakim Fedorchuk.

The young ladies of Grades Five and Six opened the evening with a praise dance to You’re Bigger by Jekalyn Carr.  The song shared a message of faith shown in the lyrics,

“You’re bigger than the universe, yes you are
You’re bigger than the Sun and the Stars
You’re bigger than, the problems I’ve faced,
You’re bigger, You’re so much bigger Jesus
Than what this life may bring.  You’re bigger!”

The 3 and 4 year olds of the Pre-K class helped us consider the wonder of Creation as they sang I Am Wonderfully Made and He’s God the Whole World In His Hands with gusto!  Some kindergarteners introduced the concept of Adam and Eve’s first bad choice and the whole school sent out the voice of hope by singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  As each group unfolded their part of the Jesse Tree story, they hung large hand made symbols on the Jesse Tree.  Moving on through salvation history, the Kindergarten brought Noah’s ark to life with animal costumes and a joyful rendition of Who Built the Ark?

As the generations marched on, the Second Grade marched onto stage to do their energized version of Father Abraham.  With this song, who needs the gym or a workout?

The stories of Jacob, Joseph and finally Moses followed.  The Sixth Grade Class shared a beautiful combination of the Spirituals Let My People Go and Wade In the Water.

They may look like ordinary shepherds, but they are really the First Graders, come to share the stories of Ruth, Jesse and ultimately David.  Donning their shepherd garb and harps in hand they shared the lively song Little David, Play On Your Harp.

The ages of history continued to reveal themselves as Grade Five shared story and symbol for Solomon and Ezekiel.  They embellished the story with a lovely pairing of Spirituals, Ezekiel Saw the Wheel and Now Let Me Fly. 

God’s love story for us now enters the Gospel era with the entrance of John the Baptist and the connection of the Savior to the House of David.  Grades Five and Six teamed up to share a Round entitled Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.  The combined classes took a collective deep breath and launched into Mattew’s Begats.  You guessed it!  The students sang the entire genealogy of Jesus without a pause!  Amazing!

At long last the story turns to Joseph and Mary.  The members of the Third Grade Class portrayed the Annunciation.

 

They sang out with clear voices as Mary must have in the song, Magnificat.

As God’s People had waited for generations for the Promised One, our evening came to a climax as the Fourth Graders brought the characters of the Nativity to life.  Audience and cast alike raised voices in singing Silent Night.

All the students gathered in glory on the stage to share the joy in the coming of the Savior as their voices celebrated the Caribbean rhythms of the finale, He Came Down.

The now colorful Jesse tree tells the story and shows the glory of the season of waiting, the Season of Advent marked by the love of our God.

Franciscan Sisters Join Mark Cancer Awareness Month

The Franciscan Sisters and St. Francis of Assisi Faculty and students participated in Cancer Awareness this past week. During Wednesday’s school mass the students carried up candles in remembrance those who died of cancer, those who survived and their caregivers.  Survivors were mentioned by name in the prayers of petition.   Thursday, pink table cloths covered the cafeteria tables and pink lemonade was “on tap”. Come Friday the students came in with pledge sheets and monies for the cancer walk slated for the afternoon.  At 2:00 everyone poured out of their classrooms and headed for the field behind the school.  Mrs. Lewis gave a countdown and students and teachers began doing laps.  The aim was for everyone to do 5 laps.  Some did more and little ones did less, but it all averaged out to a worthwhile activity.

 

 

 

The fifth and sixth graders were ready to go!

 

 

The Principal, Mrs. Lewis giving directions on where to go. Five laps if able!

 

And the students and faculty were off!

 

 

 

 

Sister Kathleen kept close track of her students. They are so precious at that age!

 

 

 

A quiet place in the shade to rest.

 

After the long walk a refreshing bottle of water or a snow cone hit the spot!

 

 

Ahhh! The pause that refreshes!

 


 

 

A week of remembrance, prayer, and fun.

The students raised $384 which was given to the American Cancer Society.

Saturday Smorgasbord for Franciscan Sisters

The Franciscan Sisters at St. Francis began the morning on Saturday by attending a “Regional Faith in Action Workshop” here in the cafeteria. It is always nice when you don’t have to travel for a meeting! The session was sponsored by the  Diocese of Jackson and dealt with  the topics of Catholic Social Teaching, Parish Social Ministry and Advocacy. The Diocese is encouraging parishes to form “Faith in Action Teams” which will build on the existing social ministry programs so that Catholics can more effectively live the Gospel.

 

 

Following the workshop, a group of our parishioners gathered at the grotto of Mary next to our convent to pray the rosary and commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions to the children at Fatima.

 

 

Midday here in Mississippi gets very hot so we opted to pray in the shade of a magnolia tree. This involved moving chairs to a position beside the grotto facing the highway.  Fr. Cam elevated this logistical move by remarking, “This is good as we are now praying with Mary and not to her”.  He added, that by facing highway 82 we would be “praying for the people of the world, and including the needs of all who passed by.”

 

 

A moment to relax before the next event.

 

Next on the day’s busy agenda was our Fall “Meet the Sisters” gathering.  As the young ladies arrived, snacks were served and games “relaxed” everyone! “Heads Up”, using a tablet was first. This has become a favorite activity for the group. Then our guests were challenged to use a spoon to transfer ping pong balls from a full bowl to an empty bowl. Finally, with a sandwich cookie on their brow the young ladies had to try and get the cookie into their mouth using only their facial muscles!

 

Now all were ready for a craft activity. Being October, Sister Kathleen led the group in making  a decade of a rosary using cord and beads in the same fashion as St. Theresa beads.

 

 

Sister Kathleen carried the theme of the rosary a little further. All were divided into five groups.   Each fivesome was given a bag of miscellaneous items. From a list of the mysteries of the rosary, each group had to act out the mystery of their choice using all the items in their bag. This took some thought and led to a lot of laughter as the audience figured out which mystery was being portrayed.

 

 

Please excuse the clotheslines!

Can you guess which mystery they each acted out?

 

 

After the Mysteries of the Rosary were enacted Sister Elena had the hot dogs ready for the hungry crew. From the hot dogs to Sister Judy’s s’mores, the young ladies were perfectly content.

 

Finally, it was time to come together in chapel for a prayer planned and led by Sister Judy.

 

 

Here we prayed for world peace through the intercession of Mary. A decade of the rosary was included in this prayer service. It was a perfect time to try out the new craft decade each young woman had made.

 

 

We had a wonderful time together with our young Catholic ladies. Before we knew it, the parents were arriving to pick up their daughters. As goodbyes were said, the usual question was asked; “When are we doing this again?”