Spiritual Life at St Joe's
St Joseph High School exists for the purpose of the education of its students. We believe education involves the complete human person, a unity of body and spirit as willed and created by our Almighty God. The Spiritual Life Office consists of the Spiritual Director and Director of Campus Ministry and strives to assist the spiritual formation of the students individually and as a community.
Implementing the school's broad mission in a concrete way, the Spiritul Life Office coordinates and provides opportunities for the student to engage and foster a relationship with Jesus Christ. However the goal of each activity we offer is to provide individuals of every faith and creed within the school an atmosphere which lends itself to spiritual growth. Any student is welcome to join Campus Ministry any time throughout the year.
Spiritual Life at St Joseph High School encompasses a broad range of activities, both in the classroom, in the chapel and beyond our campus.
The Religious Studies Department provides a curriculum that both instructs and challenges a student's spiritual development. In conjunction with the Spiritual Life Office, the department works for the betterment of each student's spiritual life.
As the Second Vatican Council taught, the Holy Eucharist is the 'source and summit' of the life and mission of the Church. Accordingly, we strive to place the Holy Eucharist ever more at the center of the life of our school. The sacramental life of St Joseph High School includes the following:
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated each day at 8:30am in the Alumni Chapel, during the school day, so that our students may attend. Typically, at least one teacher signs up his or her class of nearly 30 students for Mass on any given day. Students serve as lectors Mass, and the homily is geared toward what the students are learning in class. Mass is occasionally celebrated in one of the languages taught in our World Language program. Prior to Mass each day, students and faculty members have the opportunity to mention any particular intentions they would like to be remembered at the altar. Daily Mass is open to all.
School-wide Masses are celebrated periodically throughout the year. There is a Mass of the Holy Spirit at the outset of the school year, as well as Mass for the Solemnity of All Saints, the Immaculate Conception, St Joseph’s Day, and the Ascension of the Lord. There is also an all-school Mass during Catholic Schools Week in January, as well as an annual Mass and pastoral visits.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available to our students every Tuesday afternoon, from 2 to 2:45, in the Alumni Chapel. Additionally, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is made available to our entire student body once a semester. During school-wide Reconciliation, many guest priests from local parishes assist in hearing the confessions of the hundreds and hundreds of students who take advantage of this unique opportunity to receive the Lord’s pardon and peace.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also available to our students on a regular basis, affording a much-needed opportunity for silence and for contemplative prayer in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who is truly present – body, blood, soul, and divinity – in the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Holy Rosary is often prayed by class groups, especially in October and May.
The Stations of the Cross, a devotion often prayed during Lent, but suitable for any time of the year, is also popular with our students. A special multimedia prayer service of Stations of the Cross and Eucharistic Adoration is held during Holy Week.
The Freshman and Transfer Student Bible Mass is the first major liturgical event in the lives of the incoming freshmen each year. Each new student is presented with his or her own copy of the Holy Bible at this special Mass. By tradition, each student’s name is called individually three times during his or her years with us: at Commencement, at the Junior Ring Mass, and, for this first time, at this Mass, early in freshman year.
The Junior Ring Mass is celebrated each autumn, when our third-year students are inaugurated as upperclassmen. They receive their St Joseph High School rings in the context of the beauty of the Church’s Sacred Liturgy in one of our local parish churches.
The Baccalaureate Mass is celebrated just a few days before Commencement. A Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving is offered, at which the graduating seniors give thanks to God for the blessings of the past four years, and ask His continued protection as they move on to become alumni of St Joseph High School.
Ongoing discernment of each student’s God-given vocation in life is actively encouraged at St Joseph High School, as each student prayerfully considers whether Christ is calling them to serve Him in marriage and family life, in the priesthood, or in the consecrated life. Five alumni of St Joseph High School are currently in priestly formation for the Diocese of Bridgeport.
An extensive retreat program for all four years of a student's life is offered to provide an opportunity for more extensive spiritual growth. Retreat themes include: self-awareness and Christian identity; values clarification and understanding God's Word; good and evil and how to affirm the good and avoid the evil; conscience, morality, and the courage to be a Christian.
The retreats take place at off-site retreat centers, and are an integral part of each student’s St Joseph High School experience. Our freshman retreat is led by members of the senior class who have been especially trained for the presentation.
Additionally, retreats for both the Faculty and Parents are offered each year.
Students are always welcome to see the Director of Campus Ministry and/or the Spiritual Director for individual guidance or personal concerns.
In the age when our Catholic Christian beliefs and values are being challenged, we strive to enable the students to remain strong in their faith journey. We hope and pray that our work will be complemented by spirituality in the home. All must work together to foster spiritual growth and love for all our brothers and sisters.
Ms Jess Harris, Director of Campus Ministry
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Fr Michael Novajosky '01, Spiritual Director
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