Evangelization and Saint Joseph School
At Saint Joseph School, the evangelization objectives are met primarily through the faith formation activities of our students from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8. Our school accomplishes this objective through our culture which permeates every aspect of our school on a daily basis. The concept of the classroom society is based on Matthew 7:12 The Golden Rule - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and serves as our student to student and teacher to student relationship foundation. Our public examples of Christian values attract parents and children to our school and our parish.
Each day of school begins with opening prayers led by our 8th-grade students and is broadcast for all to participate. Throughout the school day, prayers are recited at snack, lunch, and close of school. The week begins with the praise and worship program at Saint Joseph Church led by our Pastor (see separate link for more information). Students from Kindergarten through Grade 8 participate in the rosary, prayers, discussion, and song.
The Sunday 9:00 a.m. Mass at Saint Joseph Parish is designated as the Children’s Mass and is routinely filled to capacity with children from our school and parish community. Ten times during the year, students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 prepare a monthly Mass. Students lead all ministerial positions such as the 1st and 2nd Readings, Prayers of the Faithful, Offertory, and Greeters. The students also act out the Gospel during these Masses. This provides a tremendous example to the parish community of the values of Catholic education by the public display of our student participation in faith formation and their strong public speaking skills. Additionally, our school attends 9:00 a.m. Mass every Holy Day of Obligation and every first Friday of the month.
On the Thursday before Christmas, our school prepares and presents a Christmas Concert and pageant which is open to the public and attracts generations of families from beyond the school. Children from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade eight perform sacred songs. The eight graders recite original and published author poems, do the welcome, introductions and greet. The students in Grade seven present the Nativity play accompanied by the fourth through the eighth-grade choir.
In May of each year, we host a full school May procession. We process from the school to Saint Joseph Church Plaza where ceremonies are conducted honoring the Holy Mother and publicly demonstrating that our Catholic values are our guiding principles. The public is invited and encouraged to participate.
Additionally, five times per school year our Pastor celebrates the TV Mass at the Archdiocese further encouraging evangelization beyond the boundaries of our school and parish. On each occasion, two of our students accompany him as an altar server and lector.
Our faculty continues to acquire knowledge and understanding of the faith through participation in an online Boston College Blackboard learning system for catechism certification. Our evangelization is also displayed in the community. In our music ministries, our children participate in the parish choir during the Sunday Mass.
During Advent, Grades K through three participates in weekly student-run prayer services. Throughout Lent, Grades four through eight participate in the Stations of the Cross at Saint Joseph Church on Friday afternoons. Grades Kindergarten through three participates in Stations of the Cross at Saint Joseph School, immediately following opening prayers on Friday mornings using The Way of the Cross for Children as the format.
Our students reach beyond the boundaries of our school. From fourth grade through eighth grade, our students regularly volunteer at area nursing homes and senior centers as groups and individuals throughout the year, evangelizing by their example. Each student from grade four through grade eight is required to perform 40 hours of community service annually.
Our entire school community raises funds for those in need in many capacities. During Catholic Schools Week we have a Dollar Drive to purchase beds for the Mission of Deeds. Once a month we hold a Casual for a Cause Day. Each month an eighth-grade student chooses a cause that the School supports. All of our students are allowed to wear casual clothes and they donate $1.00 towards that cause. We also collect books at Christmastime to donate to the Giving Tree at the Church and host a food drive for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry. This is a sampling of all the things we do as a School to support those in need.
As a school, we participate in town events such as the Holiday Stroll, the Italian Festival, and similar town events. During the Holiday Stroll, our music classes perform sacred Christmas songs at a location in town.
In May, the school conducts a Walk-a-Thon around Lake Quannapowitt. In this special event t-shirts which display our Catholic school culture publicly to the larger community.
Our extracurricular activities teach and exhibit Catholic values such as teamwork and thoughtfulness through our competitive participation in basketball, robotics, cross country, ski and snowboard club and similar teams in public and private leagues and tournaments.
Our very inviting weekly newsletter and website, each full of school pictures and events, serves as an initial point of contact for explorations by families attracted to Catholic schools, as well as our parish. Each grade maintains its own website within the school website. Regular articles published in the local newspaper further evangelize our Catholic culture. Consistent displays of our faith in the daily life of the school and the parish and our expansive engagement within the community enables us to continue to produce graduates instilled with a solid understanding of Christian values as guiding principles throughout their lives. In turn, they continue to evangelize by example.