Holy Week, Holy Work

Just an update on our 7th grade Kindness Bags that we put together for the homeless earlier in the year... we decided that in order to make a real impact, it would be better, but slower, to seek out the individuals most in need and spend time listening to their stories rather than just giving them a hand-out.  That's why it's taken this entire semester to pass out the bags.  "Mark" received a bag and his true Southern hospitality shown through. He was so gracious in receiving our gift and wanted to let us know how thankful he is of our prayers for him.  They meant as much to him as the items inside the bag.

The next three bags went to a sort of "family." "Sharon" has been wheelchair-bound for many years. Receiving the bag brought her to tears.  Her brother, "George," is also homeless.  He is definitely a caregiver. They have "adopted" a mentally challenged  man named "Caleb." When Caleb received a blue Kindness Bag, he jumped up and down with joy.  He was so excited! George and Sharon look out for Caleb because he can't look out for himself.  Isn't that what it's all about?

In class this week, we re-read the story of the Good Samaritan. We are that beaten and broken traveler.  The homeless know this more than most. Even though our gifts to them are small, they "bind" their wounds a little and let them know that they're not alone in this journey to eternity. 

Bishop Kemme and Confirmation in Middle School

Parents and Students,

Bishop Kemme announced last month that the diocese will be moving the age to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from high school to middle school.  That will mean that we will add this sacramental preparation to our Catholic Doctrine Curriculum here at St. Joe.  Father Duling, Mrs. Hohl, and the Catholic Schools Office are working with the Bishop as this curriculum is developed and then moves to implementation.  As more information becomes available, especially as it pertains to our classes here at St. Joe, we will pass that along to you.  I'd like to post Bishop Kemme's letter to the diocese concerning his reasons behind this move that was printed in the Catholic Advance on April 5, 2019.

Bishop Kemme writes about lowering age of Confirmation
Transition to younger Confirmation will take two to three years
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the important responsibilities I have as a bishop is to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation for the baptized. In paragraph 1285, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Baptism, the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the ‘sacraments of Christian initiation,’ whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.”
Because Confirmation is important “for the completion of baptismal grace,” it is incumbent upon all of us, who have the responsibility of leading others to Christ, we who are parents, grandparents, guardians, bishop, pastors and catechists, to ensure that the baptized receive all the graces they need for the living of the Christian life, essential among them being the seal of the Holy Spirit that marks the soul at the moment of the laying on of hands and the anointing with Chrism in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
For a number of years now, it has been the practice of the Diocese of Wichita to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation during the high school years. Since my arrival here now almost five years ago, I have enjoyed the many confirmations of high school aged youth in our diocese. I have found that most have been properly formed and prepared for this sacramental encounter with the Risen Christ. 
At the same time, I have been mindful that societal and cultural changes indicate to me and many others that youth today are facing a much different world than the rest of us could have ever imagined when we were their age. I am also aware that we “lose” a certain number of candidates for confirmation in these years due to excessively busy schedules, the drifting away of parents and families from the regular practice of the faith and the generally acknowledged challenge to catechize young minds and hearts at this particular time of life. These are real challenges that parents, catechists, and pastors encounter when they are trying to prepare youth for this grace.
With this context in mind, after much discussion, discernment and prayer, I have decided to change the age for reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation for the Diocese of Wichita. The new age will be for those children in the sixth and seventh grade. The next two to three years will be years of making this transition. During this transition time, multiple years of youth will be confirmed so as to arrive eventually at a schedule which will allow me to visit each parish or cluster of parishes for confirmation every other year. My staff is now working on the details of this transition with pastors.  
I have asked the Catholic School Office and the Faith Formation Office to begin the work of identifying resources for schools, and faith formation programs so as to transition the preparation geared to a younger age. I am grateful to the pastors and all involved in the ministry of sacramental preparation as we adapt ourselves to a new practice for our diocese.
 I announce this change primarily in order to provide the essential grace of the sacrament at an earlier age and at a time, when generally speaking, minds and hearts are more open to receiving it. Simply put, I believe our children require the grace of confirmation much sooner than in high school and at a time when perhaps they are more open to a transcendent moment of grace. 
Thank you for your kind attention to this important change in our Confirmation protocol for the Diocese of Wichita. 
+The Most Rev. Carl A. Kemme, D.D., Bishop of Wichita

Scholastic Book Orders

Scholastic Book Orders

Once a month I will send home Scholastic book club forms. Fifth and sixth grades typically receive an Arrow, Click, or seasonal order form; Seventh and Eighth graders receive an Arrow, Tab, Click, and/or seasonal order form.  Parents/students will have a week to submit their order (if they choose to do so) by either returning the paper order form with a CHECK filled out to Scholastic, not cash; or you may access Scholastic book clubs through the link on this website to place on line orders and pay with a credit card.
Please be reminded that books are a great gift for both incentives and birthdays, but only you are the best judge of which books are appropriate for independent reading.  You can now order books from multiple catalogs on line.  Just go to scholastic.com and enter my classroom code: GV28G.  It will walk you through the rest!