As a school, we are committed to the principles ofCatholic Social Teaching (CST) and how it is intentionally incorporated into The Franciscan School. Several times throughout the year, a day is dedicated for teachers to provide age-appropriate activities that reinforce a more concrete understanding of each of the seven principles.
Service, which is also a pillar of TFS, has its roots in the truth of the incarnation. The incarnation was the inspiration for why St. Francis lived his life of poverty in service to others. He saw God in Christ Jesus coming to us in humanity, and it humbled him radically.
It is the incarnation that causes service to be the physical outflow of our faith. Tim Fasano, Coordinator of Justice and Peace for St. Francis of Assisi Church, describes it like this: “Service puts into concrete form our relationship with God and our relationships with others.” It is important as Catholics that we recognize that our faith is to shine as a light to the world, and service is a representation of our faith and our relationships.
The Catholic Church calls our response to God’s love, “Two Feet of Love in Action.” This phrase breaks down the two key ways we can put the Gospel into action: through works of charity and works of social justice. Charitable works respond to immediate needs and specific situations, while social justice works respond to the systems and structures causing the problems facing our world. Both are important and necessary.
The CST team at TFS has been working hard to make service more of a reality on CST days each month. St. Francis of Assisi Church partners with over 30 organizations and ministries, and Fasano will be helping facilitate hands-on opportunities for classes with many of these organizations. This will look like preparing meals for families in need, creating curbside care packages, and more. “We want to create opportunities for our students to engage in service projects, not just for their fulfillment but to really address needs in our community,” says Fasano.
Teachers will also be diving more into the CST curriculum provided by The United States Council of Catholic Bishops around service, so students will have their knowledge and experiences built upon as they progress through TFS. Age-appropriate materials will help keep learning fresh for students as they continue to develop and grow in their faith.
Principal Dawn Smith reinforces the importance of service for our students: “We continually stress the integration of age-appropriate service opportunities that assist our students in understanding how they can make the world a better place. As Catholic educators, it is our responsibility to show our students that we are followers of Jesus and have a calling to care for others.”
This school year will be a beautiful one of growing together in being the hands and feet of Jesus to our community and world.