Inspiring our students to embrace joyfully their vocation to holiness and academic excellence rooted in faith
Focus Retreat for Middle School Students
Focus Retreat is a practice that we do at the beginning of the school year. Our desire is to help our students focus their hearts on what really matters: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). There are many possible paths but only one goal: Heaven; and not losing our focus is paramount to getting there, for “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” However, to be focused, we need more than a goal. We need commitment. Hence, one of the key elements of the Focus Retreat is a “class commitment.” This benefits not only the group but also the entire educational community.
Post Sacramental Program
Sacraments are a principle that helps us to live our vocation to sanctity and to build virtues. They are like seeds that are planted and contain within the power to flourish and bear fruit. Every Sacrament, when received, becomes a new beginning for our lives ( i.e. baptism is a new creation; penance a new opportunity to retake our friendship with God; marriage, the beginning of a new life in love, etc.) that gives us the opportunity to grow in sanctity. In order to build a path that will help to profit fully from the graces received through the sacraments, we have created this program for grades 4th through 8th.
At the beginning of the year, every student will receive a sign according to his/her grade. That sign (a cross, a rosary, a candle…) will give our students the key to live on a sacramental manner, that is, relating their daily lives to life eternal. During the year, both formation and challenges will be presented to the students in order to help them understand the meaning of the signs received and to grow in their spiritual lives.
“Encouragement talks” is the name of this practice addressed to our students. The goal is to offer them a time and space in which they can bring their questions, concerns, and struggles to the school chaplain. The E-talk is per se brief, although powerful and deep. It seeks to advise, to encourage and to direct the students to Jesus who ultimately provides all the answers to their questions. Students will find the chaplain available at the school to have their E-talks.
Each week, two grades prepare their examination of conscience with the aid of their teachers and get ready to meet God’s mercy in the confessional. In that way, every student has the opportunity to confess once a month and to receive the loving embrace of our Lord.
The Eucharist is the center and the summit of our faith. The Church is built by the Eucharist and so is our school. At her very center, Jesus reigns and keeps us united. We are very aware that we need to eat the same bread to become one body. That is why our school celebrates a weekly Mass for the entire community and feeds our students both with the body of Christ and His word. The Mass is animated by our gifted school choir formed by students of different grades.
For those who want to build a friendship with other classmates and with Jesus, for those who have a desire to grow deeper in the virtues of the home of Nazareth, for those who want to consecrate themselves to Our Lady by following a “rule of life”… for all of them, there is a youth group called Nazareth led by our parish youth minister and the school chaplain. They meet every other Monday after school and follow a program with different activities and faith formation.
The sacraments are a very special and powerful gift from God. We know that they are effective by the mere fact of being performed and received. However, the fruitfulness can depend on our dispositions and our preparation at that moment. At Queen of Apostles, we are very much aware of this. So we work hard to give our students a rock solid foundation on this matter to ensure that they will be ready to receive the grace of God. First Communion and reconciliation take place in second grade, and Confirmation in eighth-grade.
Celebrations: Three Main Feasts
“We celebrate what we believe.” At Queen of Apostles, we want to celebrate in a special way three moments throughout the year:
- All Saints Day: we celebrate the Church Triumphant, the faithful disciples of Christ whom we strive to imitate, remembering that we are all called to be saints!
- The Presentation of the Lord: we especially invite all our grandparents to join us for this celebration, as we highlight the importance of passing on the light of Christ, specifically from our parents and grandparents to our youth.
- Crowning of Mary in May: we honor our Lady, Queen of Apostles, who points us to Christ and models for us true Christian discipleship, rooted in charity.