Olivia Baker carefully colored the letters of a birthday card in a rainbow pattern. Her next step was to decorate a plain white gift bag, which was to be filled with a cake mix, icing and sprinkles and birthday candles.
The second-grader at St. Patrick School in Wentzville considered the ultimate destination of this birthday bag — the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul food pantry — and how it might bring some cheer to a person in need.
“I would feel really happy if someone made me a cake,” said the seven-year-old, noting that chocolate was her flavor of choice. “These are for people who might not have enough money to buy a birthday cake.”
Like many other Catholic schools in the archdiocese, service was a front-and-center component of Catholic Schools Week celebrations at St. Patrick School. Students celebrated the week with a superhero theme, noting that God is the ultimate superhero. They explored themes including courage, fortitude and charity, as well as strength in body, mind and soul — all gifts given to us by God.
“Our kids need to see that there are people out there who have genuine needs,” said principal Jill Gould. “The more they get to see that, the more they understand there are others out there who don’t always have the same things they do.”
Gould said the superhero theme was an opportunity to help students connect with God in a special way. “These kids love their superheroes, but when you start comparing them to God, we see He didn’t need a mask. God didn’t have to have superpowers — His superpower is the gifts He’s given to us. I think they’ve been able to connect that easily.”
Other activities on the school’s service day included seventh-graders making a visit to a local senior facility to play board games, fifth-graders making a visit to Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service for a tour and to donate boxes of cereal; and eighth-graders making fleece-tie baby blankets and baby sock “bouquets,” all of which were donated to Birthright in Wentzville. Those students, some of who recently returned from the March for Life, also prayed a Rosary, with a special life-related intention for each bead.
Second-grader Drew Schellert joined his classmates in making a birthday card and filling his decorated gift bag with birthday cake supplies. Afterward, he thought about how his donation might make someone else happy.
So was receiving a cake on his birthday important to him?
“Kind of,” he said with hesitation.
So what could be more important?
“Being around with your family,” he said. “Because they are the ones that love you, and without your mother you might not be in this world.”
Other Catholic Schools Week activities at St. Patrick School included several all-school Masses, praise and worship and adoration, a trivia competition for older students and mission carnival for younger students, and a visit with area first responders and their equipment, including a medevac helicopter.