Friday, May 8, 2015

As This School Year Comes To An End

Ten school days left to this school year and only five of those with graduates and yes, I am counting and I think some students are too. I always tell people that for a principal, the beginning of the school year and the ending of the year are the busiest and have the most work for a school principal.

Here are some happenings in Sierra Vista as we say good-bye to the 2014-2015 school year.
We had a control burn around our playground, church grounds and in front of the new parish rectory. The tall, dry grass in the "wash" around our playground was just ripe for a good forest fire coming down from the mountains and canyons. Four years ago this summer was a really bad fire- The Monument Fire - that burned acres and homes for weeks.
The firemen were invited to come and do a control burn. But I have to say, when I saw the flames this close to our playground, I thought for sure it was out of control-but it wasn't.
After the burn all the firemen gathered in our parking lot to recap how all went.
This is what our land looks like after the burn - like a war zone. We have seen an increase of animals that evacuated from this area. When I saw my dog catch a rat on our playground I knew that was just too much for me. I quickly informed the janitor who set out traps.

This time of the year there are lots of rabbits all over. Every day after school I take the neighbor's Husky-Sarin-for a run. She waits for me by the fence when she hears my voice at dismissal time. She dutifully stands there watching my office window in hopes I will soon come out and get her for a run to hunt. And that she does. She has caught two bunnies and I won't tell you the end of this story.

She hears something and smells something. 

Time to go in and check it out. This one I think got away from her!
Our First Graders by May are reading well enough to read at Mass and that they did. They did outstanding with their reading, pronunciations, loudness and they didn't show any signs of being nervous.


She read the introduction loud and clear. We knew the Mass was beginning. 

He read the long reading from the Acts of the Apostles naming almost all of the cities mentioned in Acts such as, Syria, Antioch etc. An extremely confident reader. 

"Fold your hands like steeples" I always tell them. 
PreK 4 are so grown up at this time of the year and are so proud to carry the gifts of bread and wine to the altar.

We also celebrated Nurse's Day! We have a fantastic nurse who volunteers at our school. Here are some of the cards the students made for her that tell it all.



                                             Creativity abounds in our school.

One of the last activities for 8th grade is their class retreat. 7th grade joined them since they are together in the same classroom this year and in fact the last two years. They are a close knit class.

The day began at LaPurisema Retreat Center outside of Hereford. No one had been here before but myself so they were all curious as to where I was taking them. Their teacher and two of the parents helped out with the day also.
According to the students' evaluations, the day was a hit! Thank God!
The theme was coping with peer pressure as they go on to high school of about 4,000 students.
 Balloon Pressure was a game they loved. One person had to illustrate only the secret word by drawing it on a balloon and no talking. The rest of the group had to guess the word.
 We were all surprised by the artists we have in this group of children.

Acting out the Prodigal Son - he was so poor he had to eat with the pigs!


It was a great feeling to see them really get into acting out this Gospel story.
 After lunch we took the two mile hike up the side of a large hill to the shrine - Our Lady of the Sierras.

 We made it up in three groups: the fast paced, the leisurely walkers and those who asked-"Sister Carol-what are you trying to do to us before graduation?" These came up last -out of breath.
This picture here-is the most impressive part of the whole day for me and that just "made my day". All the years we spent teaching Religion class to them, praying the rosary as a school together on Tuesdays and here the oldest students volunteered to lead the decades all by themselves without any cheat sheets in front of them. I could tell they truly were sincere and were praying for their classmates as the 7th graders say good-bye to their friends in 8th grade. This is what we work for in a Catholic School- the proof of why Catholic Schools are so important.
 Next, we walked the outdoor Stations and students took turns reading each station and then sharing their reflection about the station. Why would Jesus do this for us? How was Mary able to walk each step of the way with her Son?
 "The wood of the cross reminds me of the wooden stable and manger where He was born. The beginning of His life to the end. "  Quite a reflection from an 8th grader.

 Great view from all the Stations.

Getting close to wrapping up a perfect day together.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

First Holy Communion - A Day We All Remember

Think back to your First Holy Communion Day ...... I am sure you clearly remember the day!


So much goes into this day that keeps that day very memorable for all of us who received this beautiful Sacrament! We remember the practices in church before the big day, the haircut, perms, shopping for a dress, a veil, white shoes and for the boys a haircut and the first suit!

Our parents, grandparents, godparents, our teacher and our principal are so proud of us! A day we all remember forever.

All Saints Catholic School of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish celebrated the Sacrament of First Holy Communion on Saturday, April 25.

After the group picture was taken before Mass students waited anxiously for the Mass to begin and for all their invited guests to come to church.


Finally the church bells rang out 10:00am and it was time to process into church as they practiced many times -slow, hands folded like "church steeples" and leave a space in between the person in front of you-better for pictures.




After the students did the readings at Mass it was time for the Offertory Procession and to bring up the bread and wine that will soon be changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.





The beautiful rosaries, Bibles and crosses given as First Communion gifts are blessed. 


First Holy Communion Certificates are presented to each First Communicant 


Pictures and pictures were taken with the happy and proud children - a day they will always remember. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Welcome to the Church

Holy Saturday was a memorable day for four young people who came into the Catholic Church at Our Lady of the Mountains Parish in Sierra Vista.. The special  memory began in the church's courtyard with the Holy Saturday fire.
The candidates and catechumens make the fire go stronger by burning their retreat letters. 



 Procession into a dark church with the Paschal Candle-Christ our Light!
 Candidates and Catechumens are presented to Father Mike, our pastor.



 Preparing to be Baptized
 Baptism- you are now a member of the Catholic Church
 
 Sponsors put their hands on their shoulders for support as they walked with them the whole time during the RCIA program.
They now receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

"Be sealed with the Holy Spirit" 

 They are anointed with the oil of chrism.

You are now a full member in the Catholic Church. 



Fr. Mike is incensing the altar on Holy Saturday Night. 

The next day, the new members of the church returned for the 9:30am Mass on Easter Sunday. 


Fr. Manuel blessing the people with the Holy Water of Holy Saturday Night.

I had the privilege of reading at the Easter Sunday Mass.
The Presentation of the gifts are brought up by one of our school families. 

On Holy Saturday, the Catholic Church really grew as new members throughout the world were brought into the church.