“Catholic Schools Raise the Standards” is the theme for National Catholic Schools Week 2013. This year it runs Sunday through Feb. 2.
The 2013 theme supports the recent launch of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools. They are designed to ensure the effective operation and responsible governance of Catholic schools nationwide, promoting high academic standards and Catholic identity.
Schools of the Archdiocese of Omaha, the Dioceses of Lincoln and Grand Island, and the Dioceses of Des Moines and Sioux City will join the week of celebration and recognition.
One annual event in Omaha is a Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral for eighth-graders from metro-area Catholic schools. A representative from each school will carry a banner designed to represent the school and the week's theme.
The 10 a.m. Thursday Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop George J. Lucas and the schools' pastors.
To close out the week, Music in Catholic Schools will hold a benefit dance, silent auction and dessert sale from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church Parish Center, 11802 Pacific St., with music by the Swingtones.
Free swing dance instruction will be given from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Tickets, $15 per person, are available at the door or in advance at the Music in Catholic Schools Office, 3212 N. 60th St.; Dietze Music, 13015 West Center Road in Omaha and 20th Street and Cornhusker Road in Bellevue; and at Schmitt Music, 7355 Dodge St.
Proceeds will enable students with financial need to participate in band at their school.
Music in Catholic Schools is a parent-pay band program in 25 Catholic and four Lutheran elementary schools in the Omaha metro area.
Here is a sampling of other Catholic Schools Week activities planned; schools are in Omaha unless specified otherwise.
Carroll Kuemper of Carroll, Iowa: Activities will include Dress Casual Day for $1, with proceeds going to Mary's Choice; Student Council members delivering thank-you notes to area businesses; and an all-school Mass.
Elkhorn Mount Michael: Speaker Jason Angelette will speak to students about chastity on Wednesday. Other events will include an all-school Mass, war ball event, the Night of Knights kick-off luncheon, Youth Frontiers Responsibility retreat for juniors and seniors, a reverse schedule day and special dress day.
Mary Our Queen School: Student Council members will speak at all weekend Masses. Faculty and staff will be recognized at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday Masses. The school also will have a series of friends and family Masses during the week. Other activities will include a rally, service project to provide supplies for a school in Guatemala, music program by Jim Nailon, Showcase of Knowledge Day, patriotic dress day, cup-stacking tournament, read and feed with popcorn, and spelling bee.
Omaha Marian: Activities will include grandparents day Mass and breakfast, chastity presentation by Jason Angelette, student talent show, breakfast of gratitude for faculty and staff, and Alumnae Fan Night from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the basketball game.
Omaha Gross: Monday will bring a casual day for faculty and staff with lunch provided to them by the National Honor Society. Other activities will include special dress-up days, going on a service retreat to Mosaic, lunch with parents, student Olympics, Minute to Win It-style games and Mass with students from St. Bernadette, St. Stanislaus and Holy Ghost Schools.
Omaha Mercy: Activities will include a teacher appreciation lunch sponsored by Mercy's Parents Club, prayer service for students and faculty and Mercy House of Pancakes at which the faculty will flip pancakes and serve them to the students before school.
Omaha Roncalli: Activities will include an all-school Mass, faculty versus students dodge ball game, special dress-up days, and talent show.
Our Lady of Lourdes School: Student Council members will speak at Sunday Masses and student-made fliers will fill Sunday bulletins. Other activities will include all-school Mass, art show, science fair, special dress-up days, Drop Everything and Read Day, staff versus students volleyball game, spelling bee, canned food drive and book fair. Grades five through eight will attend a Mark Brown anti-bullying program at Holy Cross School.
Sacred Heart School: Students will make banners to represent their grades as well as the Catholic Schools Week theme, then have an all-school Mass with a procession of the classroom banners. Other activities will include a spelling bee, group reading, all-school obstacle course and weeklong canned goods drive.
Sioux City Bishop Heelan in Sioux City, Iowa: Weeklong supply collection for Mission Honduras, the annual Honduras mission trip set for March. Other activities will include Mass at Cathedral of the Epiphany with Bishop R. Walker Nickless and an all-school prayer with the rosary.
St. Albert School in Council Bluffs: Open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Gleason Campus. Other activities will include parent-grandparent luncheon with students, mitten day for kindergarten, Junior High Leadership Group and Student Council and the Elementary Student Council writing thank-you notes for supporting the school, all-school Pennies for Patients fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, all-school Mass, all-school ice cream social, dodge ball tourney and speaker Jason Angelette for grades seven through 12.
St. Bernadette School in Bellevue: The Junior High Choir will lead the singing at Sunday's 11 a.m. Mass. Other activities will include Masses with parents and grandparents, all-school Mass at Omaha Gross, grades five through eight to Holy Cross School for a Mark Brown anti-bullying presentation, movies, field trip and writing letters to the elderly in nursing homes and to hospitalized children. Eighth-graders will have lunch Thursday at Cascio's with Sts. Peter and Paul School eighth-graders after the Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral.
St. Bernard School: A pancake breakfast celebrating the school will run from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday. Other activities will include a magic show, spelling bee, sports day, celebrating the school's centennial by “dressing through the decades,” all-school Mass and talent show. Seventh-grade science fair, sixth-grade inventions, fourth-grade wax museum and the book fair will highlight the 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday open house with sandwiches sold in the cafeteria.
St. Cecilia Cathedral School: Open house from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Monday. Other activities include special dress-up days, partner reading, movie time with treats, “shopping” for surprises, family prayer service, teacher appreciation lunch, faculty versus eighth-grade volleyball game, all-school Mass and science fair/history day events. Students will bring in donations all week for the Siena-Francis House shelter.
St. James/Seton School: Activities will include cafeteria math, a spell-down, all-school talent show, making valentines for shut-ins and others, all-school speaker, special dress-up days, Mass with parents, read and feed, Battle of the Wits for sixth-graders, volleyball and more.
St. Leonard School in Madison, Neb.: Soup and pie will be served at the Knights of Columbus Hall after Mass from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday with students singing at 11:30 a.m. Other events will include special dress-up days, Catholic trivia contest, Minute to Win It contest, Husker Day, ice cream sundaes, talent show and Olympics games. The school will have Family Fun Night at the YMCA in Norfolk, Neb., starting at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1. The cost is $2 for students or $5 for a family.
St. Margaret Mary School: The school will recognize teachers at an 8:30 a.m. Feb. 1 Mass. The school also will have a Celebrate Life Prayer service at 2:15 p.m. Thursday. Everyone in the school sits according to the month in which each was born; each month is celebrated with the lighting of a candle and a reading about the month.
St. Matthew School in Bellevue: Throughout the week students will bring in school supplies for the sister school, St. Augustine, or for any Catholic charities that are in need of supplies. Other activities will include Catholic Schools writing winners posted in church bulletin, living rosary, special dress-up days, spelling bee, lunch with parents and talent show.
St. Patrick School: Students planned the weekend Masses at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Eighth-graders planned the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass. For Sunday, the seventh-graders planned the 8 a.m. service; sixth-graders, the 9:30 a.m.; fifth-graders, the 11 a.m.; and fourth-graders, the 12:30 p.m. Other activities will include an all-school Mass, students writing thank-you letters to parents, spelling bee, Human Rosary, no homework night, a performance by the Omaha Duchesne show choir, dress-down day and talent show.
St. Philip Neri School: Sunday will bring a Catholic Schools Week Kickoff Breakfast and school open house. Other activities will include students bringing in toothbrushes and toothpaste for the needy, making cards for the home-bound, games, teachers versus eighth-grade volleyball game, skating party and a daily Mystery Teacher contest.
St. Pius X/St. Leo School: Activities will include Mass with parents, book fair, The Amazing Arthur performance, Youth Frontiers Kindness retreat for fifth-graders and Courage retreat for seventh-graders, and drama club staging “A Midsummer Night's Dream” for students and parents.
St. Thomas More School: A monthlong St. Vincent de Paul Society canned food drive will finish with delivery during the week. Other activities will include a Mass, living rosary, dress-up days, spelling bee, making thank-you cards for parents, fifth- through eighth-graders attending the Mark Brown “Take a Stand” Anti-Bullying Presentation at Holy Cross School, All School Family Luncheon, class brain challenges, pingpong tournament, eighth-grade versus staff volleyball game and the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 1 Family Dance and Community Night in the gym.
St. Vincent de Paul School: Students will thank the parish community for its support by serving as greeters at Masses Saturday and Sunday. Students will have a penny war with proceeds going to the pediatric cancer center at Children's Hospital & Medical Center. Other activities will include an all-school assembly, dress-up days, Mark Brown “Take a Stand” Anti-Bullying Presentation, skating party, praying the rosary, lunch with parents, spelling bee, staff versus students volleyball game, teacher swap day, International Food Day and writing thank-you notes to those who help make Catholic education possible.
Sts. Peter and Paul School: The 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass will be followed by a pancake breakfast, with students wearing their school uniforms. Other activities will include special dress-up days, service project of “Pennies for Patients,” school spelling bee, all-school Mass followed by treats, grades five through eight to attend an Anti-Bullying Rally and Presentation at Holy Cross School, “Fuel Up to Play” activities, the Yo-Yo Man, students versus teachers volleyball game, pizza dinner and fun night.
-- Compiled by Sue Story Truax