24 December, 2008

Silent Night, Holy Night!


It was a winter wonderland as we entered into the last week of Advent. An early Christmas present from the heavens above pre-empted our Reconciliation Service. A three day weekend wrapped in snow! On the last day before Christmas break, we gathered together as one sacred community and began our morning with the celebration of the Holy Mass. Father Meno Chica braved the ice and shared an inspiring homily to our students, faculty, staff, and friends. He, like John the Baptist, prepared our hearts and minds to receive the gift of Jesus. How blesssed were we to have him be part of our one sacred community, our Benedictine family! May God Bless You one and all with a most blessed Healthy New Year!

18 December, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Our Campus Ministers are busy helping Santa's elves gather gifts for the needy families, as the National Honor Society and the Gospel Choir visit the sick and the elderly at nearby nursing homes and hospitals. Spreading good cheer and the Christmas Spirit is what Christmas is all about! We are wishing all of our families, friends and readers a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year.


17 December, 2008

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe



Last Friday, we gathered as one sacred community to pray to Mary, Our Lady of the Americas:

"God of power and mercy,
You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe. May her prayers help all women and men to accept each other as sisters and brothers. May your peace reign in the world and in our hearts.
We ask this, as always, through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen."

13 December, 2008

St. Mary's


In celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Campus Ministers known as "Hearts of Trust" headed to St. Mary's parish to wrap Christmas gifts for needy families. As we wrapped the gifts with loving care, we prayed that each person would be blessed with the peace & joy of Christmas.

05 December, 2008

Roots Of Action













Filled with energy and fresh ideas, Michel Chikwanine and Katie Meyler of Free the Children shared their heart-moving stories in a dynamic multi-media presentation. Everyone left the auditorium with the hope and strong conviction that we can be the positive change in our world today.







Our O'Ambassador Student Leadership Team also had the privilege of participating in an all day Leadership Training workshop with Katie and Michel. Focusing on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of poverty, education, health, and sustainable development, our students reflected on their dream for a new global community:

"I have a dream that one day I can be a voice for the voiceless... that my talents, whatever they may be, can change the world for the better. I have a dream to be the spark, the explosion that forces the world's eyes open. I dream of a world so full of love that there will be no place for hate, or injustice, or greed. I have a dream to leave this earth a better place than what it was when I entered..." Sonia, Class of 2009

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Saturday is the Feast of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was born in the third century and eventually became the Bishop of Myra. He gave his whole inheritance to the poor and the sick. Throughout the centuries, people began to wonder whether St. Nicholas, also known as Santa was a real person. In 1897, a little girl named Virginia O Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper, the New York Sun, asking if Santa truly exists:
"Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says if you see it in the Sun, it is so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus? Virginia O'Hanlon"

The editor of the Sun, Francis P. Church, wrote back and told Virginia that her little friends were wrong. They had been affected by the skepticism of the age... We must simply have the courage and the faith to believe in things that we cannot see..."

Yes, Virginia. St.Nicholas really exists just as love and generosity exist. His faith, his laughter, his kindheartedness lives and will live forever.

Pass It On!

This year our Advent theme is Hope. Our hope is for everyone to experience God's love through random acts of kindness and to Pass It On! Each day our Senior Campus Ministers and Staff will be on the lookout, watching for an extreme act of kindness to someone in need. Our students are already receiving recognition for their good deeds to one another. Kindness and hospitality are the essence of our school charism. The winner of the most acts of kindness will receive a huggable Horton. While BA's message is "Treat everyone as you would treat Christ, Himself", Horton's message is "A person is a person no matter small!"

28 November, 2008

Roots of Action Tour is coming to Benedictine Academy!

Our O Ambassador Club is excited to announce the Roots of Action Tour coming to Benedictine Academy this week! Katie Meyler and Michael Chikwanine, expert peer leaders and motivational speakers, will be giving a dynamic presentation and workshop to our school community on Thursday, December 4th at 9:45 a.m.. They will challenge our students to think critically about their world and the role they can play in making it a better place. With a focus on the Millennium Development Goals, Katie and Michael will share their stories to help bring these global issues to life.


We are pleased to extend our Benedictine Hospitality to our readers. If you are interested in joining us, please call Campus Ministry at (908) 352-0670, ext.125. There is no charge. Space is limited.



The O Ambassadors is an exciting new joint project of Oprah's Angel Network and Free the Children. It empowers our young people to become active, compassionate and knowledgeable global citizens.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our beloved Reverend Luke Davis, dear friend and father of alumnae Ericka Davis, gathered with our Benedictine Academy school community on Wednesday morning at St. Walburga Monastery. He inspired our hearts and minds with his encouraging words about the current events of our times. "It's about us as a people, human beings, coming together to do what needs to be done... and in the Thanksgiving Season, all of us are giving thanks to God because He has brought us to where are, where we can recognize each other as brother and sister... and together , we can accomplish anything for God, who is wonderful!"





Our Gospel Choir sang, "All praises be to the King of Kings, for the Lord our God is wonderful!"



The Student Council gathered over 12 large cardboard boxes of non-perishable food, frozen turkeys and delicious pies during the past week. All of our students and staff shared generously their blessings with those who are hungry and in need, at the local shelters and Community Food Bank.
The Lord our God is wonderful!


17 November, 2008

In Loving Memory

During the month of November, we remember our loved ones as we watch the autumn leaves fall from the trees. We know in the depths of our hearts that the ties of love and friendship will never be broken. This past Thursday, our Campus Ministers assisted over 50 of their classmates in the making of Memorial bracelets in honor of their mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and friends. As one family, sisters, we prayed in confidence and hope for those who have gone before us into eternal life with Christ. "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise them on the last day". (John 6:40)









07 November, 2008

STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOW!




As a voice for the voiceless, the O'AMBASSADORS Campus Ministry Club introduced their new ten minute documentary to the school community: STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOW! This important documentary speaks of the dangers of forced labor and sexual exploitation. As one student explains, "Over 27 million people are enslaved globally. It has become a Global Epidemic!" At Benedictine Academy, we believe education is the key to preventing children (especially young girls) from falling victim to human trafficking. Our goal is twofold. We want to create an awareness regarding this serious issue, and secondly, raise $8500. to build a one room school building in a targeted country through Free the Children. Our O'Ambassador Club participates in the O Ambassador Program, a joint project by Oprah's Angel Network and Free the Children. We are have raised 60% of our goal. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the DVD or contributing to our awing task, please call Sr. Donna Jo or Mrs. Michalski at 908.3520670, ext. 125. Together we can and will make a difference.

Minister Bill Paige "Keeps it Real"



Bill Paige, a gifted and passionate speaker, touched the hearts of every student and staff member this past Wednesday. An ordained minister, Bill has worked with young people for over 14 years, and has served both the National Football League and Major League Baseball Teams. As Bill shared his faith journey with Jesus, our students were inspired and filled with hope. To quote one of our senior students, "Bill Paige is an AMAZING PERSON! We are gratfeul to be able to see in a new way the love of God in the storms of our lives..."

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24 October, 2008

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY





"Dreams take shape" as our Senior Campus Ministers help build a home for Habitat for Humanity. Our Campus Ministers know they serve the Lord by serving others. As they learned how to cut sheetrock, operate a drill, and build ceilings, walls, and closets, they prayed that the new homeowners would enjoy their home. "Habitat for Humanity puts an end to poverty housing." Together, we can and will make a difference. Benedictine Academy has recently been authorized as a Presidential Volunteer Service Organization. Our students are striving to achieve 100 service hours in order to receive the Presidential Bronze Service Pin. Their inspiration is the Lord. Jesus told his apostles at the Last Supper, " If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." (John 13: 15,16)





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18 October, 2008

Salve Regina



At Benedictine Academy, we believe in the power of prayer as one sacred community, a family. This past Friday, our entire school community concluded the week by coming together at the St. Walburga Monastery to pray for peace and healing in our world, in our communities, and in our families. Over 50 Campus Ministry Students joined our Gospel Choir to form a Living Rosary in the Benedictine Sisters Chapel. As our Campus Ministers prayed the first half of the Our Fathers in languages from around the globe, the rest of the school community joined their voices in English to ask our Lord to "Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Deliver us from evil. Amen". May the peace and joy of our Lord be with each of our readers. Amen.

15 October, 2008

Abstinence Program



The New Jersey Coalition for Abstinence spoke with our Freshmen Students today on the dangers of sex before marriage, the lies that society promotes, and the dignity of every young lady. Our young girls are beautiful stars in God's eyes! As human beings, we have many facets - intellect, spirit, physical, and emotional. All of these facets must be safe-guarded and recognized. This is part one of a two part series to protect the well-being of our students.

PEER MENTORING PROGRAM


Our Peer Mentoring Program for our incoming freshmen students is well underway. The Senior Student Leaders have been meeting, guiding, and inspiring our young students. Study hard, work to your potential, and be an active participant in the myriad of sports and clubs that Benedictine Academy has to offer. It is not all work, however, and no play. In preparing for their visit to the Benedictine Sisters at St. Walburga Monastery, the Peer Mentors took some fun time and decorated pumpkins for the Sisters. All of the proceeds for the pumpkins went to Habitat for Humanity.

The Benedictine SIsters - Our Sacred Community!

Today, our Freshmen Students visited our dear Benedictine Sisters at St. Walburga Monastery to have a peak inside of the life of a Benedictine Sister. It was truly a morning full of blessings. Sister Donna Jo, our Campus Minister, accompanied the students as Sister Mariett shared the insights, the joys and the legends of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. The highlight of the experience was the meeting of the elderly Sisters, Sister Patrick, Sister Giles, Sister Aloyisa, and Sister Ruth in the Infirmary. The students had come bearing gifts of decorated pumpkins for all the Sisters. They left with the gift of thei Sisters' delightful stories and prayers. The last stop was a visit to the little children in the Sister's pre-school. Touched by the preciousness of God's little acres, several of our students will be volunteering after school. It is the Benedictine Sisters that makes Benedictine Academy one sacred community, our extended family for life!

04 October, 2008

Guardian Angel Day



Our Campus Minister Group known as the Blue Angels were spreading God's messages of love throughout the day, as our Gospel Choir joined the angels in singing praises to the Lord.
"Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen."

Feast of St. Therese'



On October 1, we celebrated the Feast of St. Therese' of Lisieux , also known as the Little Flower. St. Therese' would said "she would spend her heaven doing good on earth". Inspired by her little way to do small acts of kindness with great love, our Senior Campus Ministers blessed each of their teachers with
a beautiful rose. May the Lord bless our faculty and staff for all their dedication and hard work.

27 September, 2008

Feast Day of Padre Pio!



On Tuesday, September 23rd, our school community gathered in prayer invoking the intercession of Padre Pio to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Born in 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, Padre Pio belonged to the Franciscan Order known as the Capuschin Order. Similar to St. Francis of Assisi, he is one of the few saints in history to receive the 5 wounds of Christ known as the stigmata. He is known as the Priest of Hope speading his well-known message "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry" throughout the Americas. His wish was that all Americans would become his spiritual children. It is said that Padre Pio had the spiritual gift of perfume as a sign that your prayers had been heard. In his memory, the Campus Ministers spread fragrances of perfume among the staff and students.

25 September, 2008

Thanks to the Department of Public Works

It all started with a dream. One of our Sophomore students, Janae', was sharing with her classmates her interest in caring for the local environment. Benedictine Academy is a Green Flag School and respect for the earth is a fundamental belief of our school. Knowing "nothing is impossible with God", the students promptly outlined a plan for the tools necessary to begin the Lord's work. Working together, in cooperation with the Department of Public Works, our students known as "Earth's Angels" joyfully undertook their task to beautify the grounds. We give thanks to the Lord for the support of the Department of Public Works. We are proud to be part of the community of Elizabeth!

20 September, 2008

MASS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT



We were blessed by the presence of Father Edwin Leahy, the Headmaster of St.Benedict's Prep, who celebrated our opening school Liturgy at St. Walburga Monastery on Thursday, September 17, 2008. The Gospel Choir rocked the rafters with a faith-filled rendition of Amen. At the conclusion of Mass, our Senior students presented each Freshmen student with a copy of Sacred Scripture. These bibles are gifted in loving memory of Catherine Donnelly Ferruggia, a dear friend and alumnae of Benedictine Academy. We are grateful to the family for this beautiful tradition. Sister Germaine Fritz, our President, then called forth 52 of our Campus Ministers for a special blessing as they committed to serving our Lord in the new school year!







14 September, 2008

In Remembrance of September 11

As one sacred school community, we gathered in prayer to remember our sisters and brothers who had lost their lives in the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon seven short years ago. Although we cannot change history, we strongly believe we can Be the Change for a better world. The Sophomore Campus Ministry Students proclaimed the words of Matthew to both students and staff: "The love of Christ comes before all else... love your enemies... pray for those who persecute you." A brief student reflection followed reminding us that "we, as leaders, must set the course for peace in our world. It all begins with our words, our actions, and the disposition of our hearts." The prayer service concluded with everyone joining hands, one family under God, to pray our Lord's prayer - the Our Father and sing God Bless America.



Stand Up to Cancer


Last Friday evening, musicians and well-known celebrities gathered across the nation to Stand Up to Cancer. Since 2003, the government funding for cancer research has decreased each year. Stand Up to Cancer is not waiting any longer. We have all been affected by cancer in one way or another. Benedictine Academy decided to take a stand and do something to bring hope into our world. In addition to our Breast Cancer walk-a-thon next month, we have been praying for family members and friends of our school community. During a special school prayer service, a constellation of stars was created by our Art Department and Senior Campus Ministers. Students and Staff, side by side, wrote on a star the names of their loved ones who have been touched by cancer. Let us remember, there are actions we can take to help: Eat Properly, Exercise, Stop Smoking, Get Yearly Check-ups, and Manage your Stress.

The Jubilee Year of the Apostle Paul

The Staff went off to the Ramapo Mountains to pray with the Apostle Paul in celebration of this special Jubilee Year. It was a wonderful way for our community to prepare for the new school year. St. Benedict, similar to Paul, had a profound relationship with Jesus. Prayer and working for Christ (oikonomos) were the key factors in their discipleship, as are ours as well. Eddie Craviolo, our dear friend, led the retreat and our inspiring journey with Saint Paul. Mid-day, Sister Donna Jo and Linda Michalski, the Campus Ministers, sent the Staff out in two's with walking sticks, water bottles, and Whole Food ecology bags in hand on a scavenger hunt to gather items for spreading the Good News during the year. The beautiful grace-filled day concluded with God's blessing on the Staff invoked by our President, Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB and a prayer by Ken Jennings, Principal echoing the words of Saint Paul:

"I have great confidence in you, I have great pride in you;
I am filled with encouragement, I am overflowing with joy."

02 July, 2008

A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC!

School may be over, however our O Ambassador students are still hard at work making a difference in our world. This past Saturday, eleven of our Student Campus Ministry Leaders gathered together to film their new movie production with Andrea Cipriani Mecchi Photographers & Pete Mecchi. The documentary is entitled "HUMAN TRAFFICKING: A GLOBAL EPIDEMIC. Human Trafficking is a gross injustice to the dignity of every human being. At BA, we believe we have a moral responsibility to lead the way in educating others regarding the dangers of Human Trafficking. Changing Images Art Foundation designed the mural to be painted by our students in the filming. Our O Ambassador students hope to raise enough money to build a school in one of the targeted Third World countries.

08 June, 2008

Graduates of the Class of 2008

Last week, our Graduating Class of 2008 celebrated Baccalaureate Mass at St. Walburga Monastery. It was an evening to be remembered and one of the most beautiful ceremonies celebrated by our dear friends, Father ST Sutton and Father James Worth. Sister Sharon McHugh, Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters, awarded the St. Scholastica Award to Jessica Martinho for her outstanding dedication and leadership to the school community. Sister Donna Jo Repetti, OSF Spoke the Names of each of our graduates and their families, while both tears of joy and tears of sadness filled the Chapel. Our Gospel Choir Director, Jasmine Durr, ended the celebration by leading classmates, family, and friends in the
Alma Mater:
Hail Benedictine, Hail to thee!
O let our voices raise
A song of love and loyalty,
Forever in thy praise.

Blue Angels feed the hungry!


The Blue Angels heard the local food shelters were in need of hot cooked meals to feed the hundreds of homeless. Listening with the ears of their hearts, they prayed and gathered their pots, pans, macaroni, chili, beef, and beans to make eight pans of baked macaroni and chili. It was a rewarding experience to once again serve the poor. Even though Benedictine Academy is a College-Preparatory School, Service Leadership remains a strong community value.

Honors Sophomore Students Respond!


The Honors
Sophomore Students were listening to the cry of the needy and responded promptly. A few weeks ago, we heard of the devastating Hurricane and Earthquake in Asia. Our students were determined that they could make a difference. They organized themselves into groups and began their plan of action - Powerpoint presentation to educate the school community; Raffle a basket of goodies; Hold a Bake Sale; and Make Posters to increase awareness. Their efforts were a huge success.

All money raised was sent to Free the Children, an organization who is the world's largest network of children helping children through education. The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize). Benedictine Academy participates in the O Ambassador Program which is a joint project sponsored by Oprah Angel Network and Free the Children.

20 May, 2008

TUNE IN TO OPRAH - Monday, May 26!


We are very excited. A few weeks ago several of our students at Benedictine Academy were interviewed by the Star Ledger for their participation in the O Ambassador Program. Now, this Monday, Oprah has a special show devoted to the O'Ambassadors across the country! It is a celebration of what many of our freshmen and sophomore students have been working on so diligently throughout the year under the leadership of a few of our Junior Campus Ministry Leaders. Although BA students are not showcased, it will give you a glimpse of the Good News that is happening at Benedictine Academy.

30 April, 2008

AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME


At this special time of year, we remember and pray for the gross injustices of our humanity. On Wednesday, the George Street Playhouse came to Benedictine Academy today to present the play, "AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME: Remembering The World of Anne Frank" written by James Still. It is in the remembering that we become aware that it is our responsibility to prevent the hurt that is caused by stereotyping, discrimination and prejudices. The Holocaust, Darfur, Rwanda, and Bosnia are only a macrocosm of the injustices that go on every day in our cities & towns. All of our students discussed the issues and reflected on the importance of our Benedictine Mission to listen, learn, love and lead others to live in peaceful and harmony. At BA, we believe that every person has dignity and intrinsic worth.

SENIOR RETREAT

It was an amazing two days as the Senior Graduating Class of 2008 retreated at the beautiful retreat house of Stella Maris in Elberon, New Jersey this past Thursday and Friday. The graces and the blessings from our Lord overflowed in abundance beginning with the warmth of the sun on the golden sands of the beach to our surprise guests - the chaplains and tight-end football player #88, Mike Matthews, from the winning superbowl team, the New Jersey Giants!


Trust walks, knocking down walls, autographed footballs, tears of joy, and prayer filled our days from the early morning sunrise to the evening moonlight. We give thanks to our loving God and the myriads of people that made these two days so special, especially our retreat director and friend, Eddie.

12 April, 2008

Peer Mentoring Program




Our Senior Peer Mentors were amazing this past year and truly paved the way for our new Peer Mentors for the upcoming 2008-2009 school year. Sister Donna Jo, OSF and Mrs. Michalski, our Campus Ministers, were on the road once again to the Franciscan Spirituality Center in Ringwood with thirteen of our new Peer Mentors for an intense two day training session. Sr. Rosemary Napolitano, the Director of the Spirituality Center, trained our new Peer Mentors in group dynamics, confidentiality, deep listening, and critical thinking regarding teen issues. Our theme was "Me 2 We" as our students bonded as a new Campus Ministry Team. They were awesome and are eager to meet their new sisters, the incoming freshmen for the next school year!