MOUNTAIN TOP – While students at Saint Jude School enjoyed motivational speakers and dress-down days as part of Catholic Schools Week 2023, they also focused on the importance of faith and religion.

The entire student body of more than 250 kids gathered for a special Mass on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at neighboring Saint Jude Parish. While the students regularly gather for Mass each week, many say the Catholic Schools Week liturgy is among their favorite.

Students from Saint Jude School celebrate Mass for Catholic Schools Week on Feb. 1, 2023, at Saint Jude Parish in Mountain Top.

“This school gives students an opportunity to learn not just academics but also faith and the understanding of what is real and what is truth in life,” eighth grader Connor Hillard said.

The church came alive during the Mass as the children recited prayers and sang several hymns including, ‘Here I Am, Lord.’

“Growing up in a community that is based on faith and going to Mass has really taught me on the weekends how to behave in Mass and has brought all the moral beliefs of religion into my life,” seventh grader Clare Grandzol said.

On the right side of the church, the oldest students from Saint Jude School sat with some of their youngest peers.

“The seventh and eighth grade classes take the kindergarteners to Mass on Wednesdays in the afternoon. I think it’s a great opportunity,” seventh grader Rhea Mascarenhas said.

“We teach them all the things we learned over the years,” eighth grader Izzy Wasley added.

Saint Jude School prides itself on its environment of faith and prayer and helping all students to hear God’s call and be able to respond and spread the Good News of Jesus through love, service and justice.

“We just did an Epiphany program in January. We do a Living Stations program and we do a Nativity program,” eighth grader Steven Rowlands explained.

Rowlands said he loves Saint Jude School for its “family environment” and was happy to point out that Catholic Schools Week is “the best week of the year.”

Many other students expressed the same feelings.

“It is a break from hardcore learning … Catholic Schools Week is our time for the students to shine and express themselves,” Wasley added.