Though the COVID-19 pandemic kept our students off campus for the entire fall semester-- and much longer than most would have ever predicted-- our community found ways to live out the Gospel values that are inherent in the very mission of Bishop Montgomery High School. At the core of a Bishop education is service, which was put into action this past fall through various community projects.
Our theology department, headed by chairperson Bernadette St. James, incorporates community service across all religion courses, and our teachers work with students to provide meaningful, real-world opportunities to put their faith into action. Some of the opportunities are designed to give students simple ways to serve their brothers and sisters-- many who live right in their own backyards-- and to, hopefully, lay foundations for service that will extend long after graduation. Others are chosen to help students expand their knowledge of faith communities beyond their own and nurture interreligious relations.
This fall, each grade level's service project had a different focus, one that reflected course curriculum and the curriculum's Gospel messages. Our freshmen's call to action focused on taking care of those in need, specifically children in orphanages. The ninth graders donated baby and food items to the Orphanage Casa Hogar Infantil Uriel in Tijuana, Mexico. Our sophomores were challenged to respond to the Gospel message “...whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me (Mt.25:40).” After researching the global crisis of poverty and hunger, they participated in volunteer leadership by donating to the St. Lawrence Martyr Church food pantry to distribute groceries within the local community.
After exploring the effects of COVID-19 on essential workers and realizing the sacrifices of so many, our junior Class of 2022 began a letter-writing campaign in support of and in gratitude for those on the front lines during this pandemic. The students also wrote letters to the elderly in our community, hoping to boost their spirits and bring joy during a time of profound isolation. Across the senior religion classes, students discussed and, guided by their teachers, planned opportunities to respond to the social dimensions of the Gospel to help build a more caring community and just society. Drawing on the Seven Themes of Social Justice and the commitment to contribute to the good of the global community, our seniors joined forces with our freshmen and sophomores and participated in the collection drives for the Casa Hogar orphanage and St. Lawrence food pantry. Our Religions of the World seniors also began their own letter-writing campaign to show support for religious and community leaders in their own areas and foster interfaith relationships and dialogue.
By the end of the fall semester, over one thousand pounds of food and supplies had been collected for the orphanage and food pantry, and hundreds of letters had been written for essential workers, the elderly, and religious and community leaders. As the new year begins, students will undertake new service projects, continuing to serve those in need and putting their faith into action.