WILLIAMSPORT – Amid many fun and engaging activities that take place during Catholic Schools Week – the importance of faith and religion never take a back seat.

Every Catholic school in the Diocese of Scranton held special Masses during Catholic Schools Week – and some like Saint John Neumann Regional Academy – also prayed the rosary when they came together on Jan. 31, 2024.

Students from Saint John Neumann Regional Academy in Williamsport gather for Mass at Saint Boniface Parish Jan. 31, 2024, in celebration of Catholic Schools Week.

“We had all three of our buildings here. We bring the whole Academy together to celebrate Mass, our identity, to live out our mission,” principal Alisia McNamee said.

The Mass, which was held at Saint Boniface Parish, featured older students sitting next to younger students – a hallmark of a ‘mentorship program’ that has positively impacted many kids.

“Since I came here, the seniors mentored me and since then I’ve been mentoring kids younger than me and it helped me to develop as a person,” senior Aidan Vogt explained.

The Catholic Schools Week Mass at Saint John Neumann Regional Academy was celebrated by Father Bert Kozen, V.F., Chaplain, and concelebrated by Father Glenn McCreary, V.E., Pastor, Saint Boniface and Saint Lawrence Parishes; Father Sean Carpenter, Pastor, Resurrection Parish; and Father Shawn Simchock, Administrator, Saint Ann Parish.

Senior Malachi Coleman says Saint John Neumann Regional Academy has taught him many Christian values – including how to be humble, help others, and have love and dignity for all people.

“They really do shape you well with Christian values, to help you go out into the world and be a shining light,” he said.

Elizabeth Weller, another senior at Saint John Neumann Jr./Sr. High School, agreed.

“I live out my faith just by being kind and lending a hand to others. If anyone is struggling, I always try to help them.”