Last Monday morning we gathered in Colman Hall to recognize all of the students who had been selected by their peers and teachers as children who most exemplified the November GEM quality of being “prayerful.” I shared with our students that prayer is often thought to be an ongoing dialogue of intimate conversation with God. God invites us to pray—He does not force us to do so. And more importantly, no one can force us to be sincere when we do pray. Prayer comes from the heart, and that’s what’s beautiful about it.

I asked the students to think about all the things they pray for, and then ask themselves, “Do I mostly pray for myself, or do I pray for others who might be in desperate need of prayer? Am I always asking God for something, or sometimes am I sincerely thanking God for all that I have?” I tried to gently point out that we don’t always get what we pray for. There are undoubtedly many moments in our lives when we feel as if our prayers have not been answered, as if God is not listening. But God sometimes has other plans for us. The example I used to help them understand this important lesson is someone desperately praying for a new puppy, but being blessed with a new baby brother or sister instead. Many of the students laughed, but the meaning was clear for them.

It’s important for our students to understand that prayer is not always about getting a new toy, or being allowed to do something fun. It is also about being a good person, becoming a better person, giving to others, and loving everyone. That’s not always easy to do. But know that when we pray, God is listening, and He is planted in our hearts. So just like we exercise to build the muscles in our bodies, when we pray, we are building our spiritual muscles. This will certainly help us grow in our faith, and our devotion to God. Congratulations to the following students for being beautiful examples for all of us.

  • TYKE – Grace Doyle
  • Kgn. Bonny – Eoin Kerr
  • Kgn. Tucker – Annie Tran
  • Grade 1A – Mia Grady
  • Grade 1B – Abigail Hoffman
  • Grade 2A – Audrey Medlin
  • Grade 2B – Kolby Vu
  • Grade 3A – Josephine Love
  • Grade 3B – Samantha DiCrisi
  • Grade 4A – Cianna Gagliardino
  • Grade 4B – Cameron Le
  • Grade 5A – Julia Smith
  • Grade 5B – Ocean Nguyen
  • Grade 6A – Piper Tyssee
  • Grade 6B – Mallory Mottles
  • Grade 7A – Christian Teske
  • Grade 7B – Kelley Rood
  • Grade 8A – Kevin Sullivan
  • Grade 8B – Cristina Gotuzzo

Joining us at the assembly was our guest speaker, Jacob Shipley. Jacob was a graduate of SSJ’s Class of 2011. It was a pleasure to watch him grow in his faith throughout his elementary years. His enthusiastic participation in our parish liturgies became such an inspiration that he received special recognition at graduation for his active role as an altar server. Jacob’s involvement in liturgical ministries did not end as he began his journey at Mater Dei High School for it was then that he started “going the extra mile” and taking on larger liturgical responsibilities in our parish. We are very grateful for the role model Jacob has become for all of us, and wish him much success in his future endeavors.