Local Schools

Paola teacher helps introduce ‘FaceTime’ with Jesus

Holy Trinity School in Paola kicked off a school-wide eucharistic adoration on Feb. 9. From left, seventh grader Meg Johnson, eighth grader Katherine St. Marie, seventh grader Leah Foster, eighth grader Isabella Lange and seventh grader Brielle Garcia take part in the school’s first adoration. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

PAOLA — Everything was set on Feb. 2 — during Catholic Schools Week — for the launch of one of the most important initiatives Holy Trinity School here has done in years: an ongoing eucharistic adoration program.

Everything . . . except for the weather.

Snow and temps in the teens canceled school and thus delayed the program. Plan B was to launch it on Feb. 9.

The idea for a school-based eucharistic adoration program, with the assistance and participation of Holy Trinity parishioners, came from school physical education teacher Jeannie Fedor.

“I was at Holy Trinity Church in [eucharistic] adoration,” said Fedor, when words came out of nowhere. “I heard ‘Let the children come to me,’ which blew my mind. I thought, ‘That’s Scripture!’”

So, she looked it up. It was “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt 19:14).

Students of Holy Trinity School in Paola take part in the school’s first eucharistic adoration event at the parish church. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

That was sometime in September of last year. It wasn’t until mid-January that something came of it.

“As I remained in prayer [the thought] just kept coming back,” said Fedor. “I had an idea to bring children to [Jesus] in adoration.”

She spoke with her pastor, Father Joe Sellas, and principal Michelle Gavin. Both gave her idea enthusiastic support. Gavin told her to put the program together in a matter of two weeks for Catholic Schools Week.

“Catholic schools should impart the faith first,” said Father Sellas. “Down the line, they will, in turn, spread the faith. It will enable [the students] to know the faith, love the faith and live the faith.

“Children, by nature, tell their parents. . . . Through the children, we are trying to reach out to all the families in the parish.”

Penelope Secrest prays the rosary during eucharistic adoration. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

He also told Fedor that by participating in eucharistic adoration when they are young, they will grow “roots” of faith that will help them to remain rooted when the storms of life come upon them.

Fedor consulted with parishioner Lesle Knop and Rick Cheek, the consultant for the archdiocesan office of evangelization and Catholic formation for youth.

All 102 students at the school, kindergarten through eighth grade, will participate in this ongoing program. Younger students will spend less time there than older ones.

Eucharistic adoration will be held in the church on the first and last Wednesdays of the month. It will begin after daily Mass ends at about 9:30 a.m., with each class successively taking their turn until about 2 p.m. At least a couple of Holy Trinity parishioners will be present from 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday until 7:30 a.m. the following Thursday.

The students of Holy Trinity in Paola chose the name “The Adoration Generation” for the school’s new eucharistic adoration club. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

The school let the students vote on the name of their program, and they chose “The Adoration Generation.” The school has formed a eucharistic adoration club.

Fedor expects the initiative to bear abundant fruit.

“It’s teaching our children how to have a closer union with Christ, and how to pray and talk to Christ as a best friend,” said Fedor. “I refer to this as ‘FaceTime with Christ,’ because students are so wrapped into this technology world.

“During the week, the students receive catechesis during part of their religious education program. I teach them about what adoration is, and how we can spend time with Christ, but more importantly to teach students how to sit in silence. That’s Our Lord’s number one language. We have a world with so much noise, so we teach them to be comfortable in silence so they can hear the Lord’s voice.”

From left, Katherine St. Marie, Leah Foster and Isabella Lange pray during eucharistic adoration. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

This initiative is important because many children and even many adults know little about eucharistic adoration, said Gavin.

“With anything we teach the children, the more they experience it, the more it becomes ingrained in their lives,” she said. “Just giving them the opportunity to sit in the presence of Jesus will help strengthen their relationship with Jesus. This is an important part of forming disciples. If we do this just once or twice, it won’t stick with them.”

Fedor hopes with parishioner support the school can increase days for eucharistic adoration from twice a month to every Wednesday. She also hopes that the idea will spread to other archdiocesan schools.

“Our goal is to get this in every school in the archdiocese,” said Fedor.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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