TROY — On Friday, St. Patrick Catholic School students attended their first Mass of the school year and walked away with a small, but important, reminder of love and faith.
The St. Patrick School Alumni and Friends provided 1,000 pencils for students at the school. During Friday morning’s Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Father Eric Bowman gave a blessing over each student and teacher, as well as the daily writing utensils held in hands large and small throughout the school day.
A retired educator himself, Chuck Karnehm said he and his wife Jane found the idea online and decided to kick off the students’ year with a tangible reminder they are loved and important.
“It’s a simple gesture that could mean a lot to a student who was having a hard day or afraid of something and hold that pencil that’s been prayed over and blessed,” said Karnehm, a member of the alumni group. “We had the pencils and the cards printed up as a simple gesture to start the school year.”
Father Bowman also led both students and teachers in prayer for a great school year. Father Bowman also shared a message about acceptance and fitting in at school, which has been a theme of school life even when he was a student more than three decades ago. He then prayed over the baskets of pencils and gave them a blessing before they were passed out to students.
“What’s behind this is what matters. This is no ordinary pencil. This pencil has been prayed over … keep it in your desk or in your backpack. And when you are having a rough day, pull it it out and look at it and know ‘someone has prayed for me,’” Father Bowman said.
Each pencil was accompanied by a card, which said, “This pencil has been prayed over with you in mind … You can hold this in your hand, close your eyes and know that God is always there to help you out.”
Starting her ninth year as the school’s leader, Principal Cynthia Cathcart said she and her staff are looking forward to a wonderful school year. Cathcart said St. Patrick Catholic School’s preschool program has grown to 65 students. Cathcart said she’s currently working on purchasing a modular classroom to accommodate the program’s growth. She also shared the junior high program has also grown steadily over the years.
The St. Patrick School’s Alumni and Friends organization supports the parochial school throughout the year. This year, the organization provided five scholarships for students to attend St. Patrick Catholic School. The majority of its fundraising comes from its popular Shamrock Shuffle 5K held each St. Patrick’s Day. For more information, visit www.stpattroyschool.org.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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