Long Island’s Catholic elementary and high schools are places where our beautiful faith is seamlessly infused with a world-class educational curriculum to help create saints for tomorrow . The strength and character of our students and the closeness of our school communities have been a great advantage as we have had to embrace online learning over the past few weeks. Despite the current school closures due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the DRVC elementary and Diocesan high schools are finding innovative new ways to celebrate Holy Week with their school communities.
Many schools have created videos of the Stations of the Cross, which will be shared on their social media accounts. School retreats and prayer days are taking place virtually. Schools are sharing live streams of their local parish Masses, and schools like Notre Dame in New Hyde Park have placed stations around their exterior fence so families out for a walk can pray the stations. Both Holy Trinity and St. John the Baptist Diocesan High Schools are streaming daily and Sunday Masses and weekly Adoration. Holy Trinity has also shared a Virtual Stations of the Cross and Rosary. Schools are also providing prayers and activities for students to complete with their families in the safety of their homes.
Educationally, religion classes continue and come to the forefront of the activities during Holy Week. In religion classes, in addition to learning about Holy Week, students are praying the Stations of the Cross with their teachers and classmates. Our Lady of the Hamptons Regional School held its annual Seder virtually. Students are creating projects for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter in art classes, and families are getting back in touch with their faith by watching content about Holy Week on FORMED. Of course, students are still participating in service projects, maintaining our focus on helping those with greater needs. The St. John the Baptist community collected hard to find cleaning supplies to share with women and children in need through the Sisters of Life, and both Holy Trinity and St. John’s have been highlighting their graduates who serve their community as members of the local health care community. Students and schools are still finding ways to donate supplies for those in need, and our core value of gratitude has been an asset that has been shared across the schools’ social media accounts. This outpouring of grateful support can be found through images of students and faculty showing support and gratitude for first responders, the sharing of prayers for all those affected by the virus, and our youngest students making cards for first responders.
“The opportunity for our faith to play a major role in our lives has never been greater,” said Dr. Kathleen Walsh, Superintendent of Schools. “These challenging times are a reminder of the path our Lord took during this sacred week. Let us be reminded we are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.”