Photo: The Living Rosary
Religion should be an integral facet of every Catholic school. The teaching of our Catholic Faith is the number one priority at St. Joseph. The school employs a religion coordinator, Mrs. Ellen Dyer, to coordinate the Religion Department. The administration, faculty, and staff of the school are practicing Catholics who are firm believers in Catholic education. All teachers participate in adult religion classes offered by the Diocese of Baton Rouge and most hold certifications from the program.
Every student at St. Joseph receives instruction in the Faith as part of their daily schedule. The school uses the Sadlier "We Believe" series in Grades Kindergarten through Sixth as their text. PreKindergarten uses the Sadlier "Discovering God" series. Students in the Seventh and Eighth Grades study from Sadlier's "We Live Our Faith" texts.
Religion, however, involves more than classroom study. This is evidenced in the loving and caring relationships of our school community each and every day.
The physical surroundings at St. Joseph also reflect our presence of Faith with statues, pictures, religious articles, and classroom prayer corners as constant reminders of our committment.
Although a complete list of religious activities would be difficult to compile, the following covers many typical practices at St. Joseph School:
Prayer - The student body assembles each morning for a short communal prayer led by an Eighth Grade student. The school day concludes with a student-led prayer over the loudspeaker to every classroom. During the day, upper grades begin each new class with a prayer while lower grades begin each new transition the same. Grace before and after meals is also recited.
Weekly Mass - Friday the entire student body worships at Mass which begins at 8:30 in St. Joseph Church. Students in grades 4-8 participate in the various ministries on a rotating basis. Everyone is invited to attend.
Reconciliation - Students who have made their First Reconcilation have regularly scheduled opportunities throughout the year to receive this special Sacrament.
St. Joseph School students help support two children - Mariela from Guatemala and Markus from India - through our "Adopt-a-Child" collection which takes place once a month during Mass. These children are part of the "Unbound" program, an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first. The money we collect goes toward necessities such as food, clothing and schooling for Mariela and Markus. SJS students may bring whatever money they would like to contribute and put it in the collection basket during Mass.
Student Retreats - Students take time at various points in the school year to have a reflective holy time with God. The retreats are scheduled for all grades, but length varies according to the age of the students.
Sacramental Programs - Second grade students receive formal instruction for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion.
Service Projects - Each year every class choses a Service Project to work on as a group. Students in the Eighth Grade must earn Service Hours as part of their religion grade.
Crusaders of the Month - Two students, one from the upper grades and one from the lower, are chosen monthly to be honored as Crusaders of the Month. Student nominations are submitted to a committee who selects the honorees. Crusaders of the Month are students whose actions and words exemplify Christian values and principles.
Living Rosary - During October, the month of the Holy Rosary, a Living Rosary is said by the entire student body with students representing each prayer and mystery.
All Saints Day - As part of their religion class, Sixth Grade students research and report on a Saint. At the Mass on All Saints Day, the students dress as their Saint participate in costume.
Thanksgiving Mass - Eighth Grade students and their Kindergarten buddies dress as Pilgrims and Indians and participate in the Mass in costume.
Advent Wreaths - During the season of Advent, the traditional wreaths are blessed for each classroom where students and teachers have the opportunity to enjoy this seasonal prayer service. A school-wide Advent Wreath is incorporated into Morning Assembly.
St. Nicholas Day - Each December 6 on the Feast of St. Nicholas lower grade students leave a shoe outside the classroom doors to discover that a little surprise has been left for them.
Living Nativity - The Eighth Grade students perform a Living Nativity during the Christmas Program as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
Knights of Columbus - Respect for Life Poster Contest.
Catholic Schools Week - Many fun activities are scheduled during the last week in January to celebrate our Catholic Schools.
Religion Fair - Student-created religion projects are displayed and judged.
Stations of the Cross - Students in Grades First through Eighth attend weekly Stations of the Cross during the Lenten Season.
May Crowning - Each May, selected Eighth Grade girls with an honor guard of Second Grade girls in their white First Communion dresses crown Our Blessed Mother during a special Mass.
Eighth Grade Promotion - Eighth Grade Promotion Ceremonies are always celebrated with a Mass especially for this class as they end their years as St. Joseph students.