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Jimmy Appel, an eighth-grader at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School in Ferguson, prayed with classmates Jan. 24 during a reflection on human dignity given by Alice Prince.
Jimmy Appel, an eighth-grader at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School in Ferguson, prayed with classmates Jan. 24 during a reflection on human dignity given by Alice Prince.
Photo Credit: Jacob Wiegand

Students at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School in Ferguson travel through the valley of ‘dry bones’ to make a connection to the importance of dignity of all human life

Students at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School use Scripture reflection to make connection to the dignity of human life

In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel is walking with the Lord in a valley of dry bones.

Alice Prince, diversity and inclusion consultant for the North County Federation of Catholic Schools, spoke to eighth-graders at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School in Ferguson.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
It’s a stark scene, with the prophet conversing with the Lord, who says He will breathe His spirit into the lifeless bones scattered throughout the valley. The metaphorical story is about God’s creation of a new Israel.

Alice Prince knew the vivid imagery of that Bible passage would resonate with students at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School in Ferguson. Prince, who serves as diversity and inclusion consultant for the North County Federation of Catholic Schools, visited with eighth-graders Jan. 24 for a Scripture reflection, which tied into a theme of human dignity. Prince regularly hosts reflections and discussion groups with schools in the deanery.

“Have you ever felt like the walking dead?” Prince asked. Maybe you’ve felt sad, ashamed, anxious, depressed or overwhelmed. “We have all felt that way, including me,” she said. “But let me tell you how it all changed for me … God took my mess and created a message. My tests became my testimony. My struggles in life became my strengths and my springboards to a better connection with Him.”

God wants a connection with all of us, no matter where we are in life, she said. That’s why it’s so important to understand the dignity of all human life, because we are all created by God.

Alice Prince, diversity and inclusion consultant for the North County Federation of Catholic Schools, spoke to 8th-graders at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School in Ferguson.
Photo Credits: Jacob Wiegand
Eighth-graders from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta saw that message firsthand at the March for Life last month in Washington, D.C. The annual march draws attention to the reality of abortion — killing God’s smallest and most vulnerable human beings — and bears a pro-life message.

It was the students’ first time attending the march as part of the parish’s youth group. In all, four students from the school and two from the parish participated.

“I was amazed at all of the people out there who were there to support life,” Jimmy Appel said. “It was a very amazing experience to march for the unborn children and be part of a movement. I felt like we definitely made a difference.”

While he was shocked at seeing graphic images of aborted babies, Dylan Clark said the imagery conveyed to him the clear picture that abortion is wrong and that we must have a respect for all human life.

God has given everybody special gifts and talents, said Ammoni Arrington. And others need to recognize that includes every human being, no matter how small. “Those children could have had amazing lives, but we will never know because they were aborted,” she said.


>> North County Federation

The Federation of Catholic Schools in North County was formed in 2010 as a collaborative effort to increase the viability, affordability and accessibility of quality Catholic education in North St. Louis County.

The federation now includes 15 parishes and seven Catholic schools in the archdiocese’s North County Deanery and facilitates collaboration among the schools with resources and reduces competition among schools for funding and enrollment.

The federation schools and parishes collaborate in four main areas: viability, affordability and accessibility of Catholic education; maintaining and increasing excellence in Catholic identity, academic programs, extracurricular activities and special programs; embracing increased diversity; and achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness by sharing resources.

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