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HERALD ARTICLES
Linda Oppelt

Community engagement a key component of St. Mary’s

By Joe Trechter

The Gospel of Matthew records the last earthly words of Jesus before his Ascension as He gives the disciples (and us) the Great Commission: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

The evangelical roots of our commission from Jesus are bold action words: “go,” “make,” “baptize,” and “teach,” and students at St. Mary’s High School live out this commission in their service to the community. Well, honestly, students don’t do anything directly about “baptize,” but our students embody the faith and knowledge they learn at St. Mary’s through their witness of service in the community.

St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours.”  Students have plentiful opportunities to become Christ’s hands and feet. Individually, many students seek out volunteer opportunities at local non-profits as they complete a minimum of 150 hours of service before graduation. More visibly, the entire student body participates in larger, school-sponsored community service days. In serving others, our students enjoin our Great Commission as well as fulfill key elements of the school’s mission statement including being formed into responsible leaders who are well prepared for life beyond high school.

While the physical service of our student body is one aspect of the community pillar at St. Mary’s, another aspect of community is the vast network of alumni, alumni families, and supporters that extends far beyond the walls of the school. Our school simply would not exist if not for the faithful and generous alumni and families who have stood strong in ensuring Catholic high school education endures in the Colorado Springs community for the last 138 years.

Our families, both current and past, recognize the indelible impact St. Mary’s has made in their lives and financial gifts to the school reached record setting levels over the last three years, to include two years where the community financial support exceeded one million dollars in addition to the long-term endowed funds reaching one million dollars in assets for the first time in school history.

Celebrations are integral to developing strong a community. The school began this Lenten season by planning regular community celebrations of the Stations of the Cross in the school’s beautiful St. Leo chapel followed by family fish fries in “The Cove,” the school cafeteria.

Looking to the future, on June 10, St. Mary’s will celebrate some more by hosting the first-ever “St. Mary’s Family Reunion” to welcome all alumni, alumni families, current families, and supporters to campus. The reunion is another means of keeping the current school family connected with our alumni family from all eras. The reunion will feature food, fun and some friendly sports contests between alumni and current student-athletes.

The St. Mary’s Community pillar is a constant reminder that Jesus calls us to more than a private faith, to more than an individual focus on knowledge. He calls us to joyfully live out our Great Commission in community as the witness of our lives teaches all around us about the immense love Jesus has for each of us.

To learn more about the joyful “Faith, Knowledge, Community” experience offered by St. Mary’s High School, read about the school’s Core Beliefs at https://www.smpirates.org/page/core-beliefs.

Families with school-age children, who are looking for something uniquely better than the standard education offerings in the world today, should contact the St. Mary’s Director of Enrollment, Dr. Raquel Krasovec, admissions@smhscs.org, 719-635-7540.

(Joe Trechter is the Director of Development for St. Mary’s High School.)

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