Greetings from the CMS office! We are delighted to report that this continues to be a year of growth, blessings and joy in our ministry here at St. Mary’s. In November, we had a number of exciting events, service projects and thank-yous to share with our parent community.
First, we must highlight a job very-well-done by our young women as they demonstrated a commitment to service these first two months of school. Since September 30, our students collectively logged more than 1,300 hours of service in our community, successfully participated in 10 St. Mary’s service events, organized numerous independent projects, joined in five days of Freshman Immersion, helped run three masses, and still managed to be inspired scholar-athletes, artists, musicians, thespians, scientists, mathematicians and more.
We continued our pastoral work in liturgies and prayer services, celebrating weekly chapel masses and our annual Thanksgiving prayer service on November 24, which highlighted the many gifts and talents of our students as well as those the Spirit has bestowed on our community. During this service, we also kicked off our initiative to bring the Year of Mercy into the daily life of a St. Mary’s student. December 8, 2015, officially marks the start of Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy (you can read more about the year from the Vatican here), but St. Mary’s launched its initiative right before the Thanksgiving holiday in an effort to remind students to think of times they were grateful for mercy in their lives (given or received) and what mercy really looks like in our world today. Stay tuned for more information on this initiative and ask your daughter!
As a follow-up to the successful Freshman Immersion retreat, the National Honor Society introduced our Sock and Soap drive to help serve those experiencing homelessness here in our Portland community. The drive for bars of soap and warm winter socks lasted through November 24; supplies were donated to JOIN, an organization committed to helping those experiencing poverty in Portland.
Tuesday, November 17 was be the official start date of our annual adopt-a-family Christmas basket drive to support families who have sought support from the local St. Vincent de Paul office. Each TA is paired up with a local family in need and will work together to provide food and gifts for the family’s Christmas celebration. In order for this drive to be successful, we need your help! Parents and guardians, please encourage your young women to sign up to bring in gifts and food/toiletries for their adopted family and then support them as they work to bring in items. TA supervisors created specific lists of needs for each adopted family and signups began the week of December 1, 2015. You should expect a letter from your daughter’s TA with details about your family sometime around December 4. Any questions should be directed to me or your student’s TA directly.
In other exciting news, we are pleased to report that the first Encounter of the year (November 18 – 20) was a great one for our juniors! With nearly 100% participation on one of the three Encounter retreats, Mr. Kollars and student leaders worked tirelessly to ensure this first one went off without a hitch! The process was a labor of love, and we knew that many of you were an integral part of making the plans successful! From encouraging your daughters to participate, to signing the forms and checks, to sending them with goodies—it all made a difference. Thank you so much for your help!
For more news and updates from the CMS office, check out the Campus Ministry page of the St. Mary’s website, visit us in Campus Ministry, or email us! Again, thank you for all that you do to support your students in their spiritual ministry and growth; we couldn’t do it without you!
May God bless you in this the start of the holiday season and for many weeks to come.
In Christ’s Peace,