Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

student walking with book

The 47th annual Catholic Schools Week is coming up, and this year’s theme is “Faith. Excellence. Service.” At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, we believe these three words perfectly represent Catholic education. We will be launching our Catholic Schools Week with an open house Sunday, January 31st, and we welcome anyone who is interested in our school to join. Here is what we will be celebrating that week:

Emphasis on Faith

Faith is the foundation of a well-rounded Catholic education. Our students participate in daily prayer and gather weekly for Mass. By incorporating faith into our education, we remind students that their belief is an important aspect of daily life. Every step of the way, our students know that God is by their side. This is just one of many ways we help our students become responsible citizens of the world.

classroom with plexiglass

Promoting Academic Excellence

Challenging students with academics that prepare them for the real world is a priority at our school. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education awarded St. Charles Borromeo the honor of being a Blue Ribbon School, placing it in the top 200 schools in the nation for academic excellence. Every year, we aspire to maintain this level of achievement with a rigorous curriculum that helps students reach their full potential. 

children packing lunches

Service to our Community

As part of our curriculum at St. Charles Borromeo, we strongly encourage students to help those in need. Some service projects take place during school hours so our students can work together toward a common cause. We also believe parent involvement is crucial to building our school community, so we established a parent volunteer program called P.A.W.S. With every family doing their part, our school can help every part of our Orlando community.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Who was the Real Saint Nicholas?

Saint Nicholas painting

While we celebrate Advent, we should reflect on why we celebrate the way we do. Our first priority is celebrating the birth of Jesus and watching and waiting for His second coming. Most families also recognize the tradition of Santa Claus, a jolly round man with interesting origins. We wanted to take a deeper look into Saint Nicholas, the saint who brought us so many traditions for Christmas that we still celebrate today.

Early Life

Saint Nicholas, also known as Nicholas of Myra, grew up not wanting for anything. His wealthy parents raised him as a devout Christian. Unfortunately, they both died in an epidemic when he was young. Young Nicholas used his inheritance to assist the needy, sick and suffering. He became well-known as a friend and protector to everyone in need. He would go on to become one of the most popular saints in the East and the West.

Saint Nicholas Candy

Facts 

In Saint Nicholas’s life, the line between fact and legend is blurred. Saint Nicholas protected anyone in need, especially orphans, poor families, sailors and prisoners. During the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire, Saint Nicholas was imprisoned for defending religious doctrine, later to be released under Constantine the Great. The reputation that followed Saint Nicholas gave way to legends that he performed miracles, a popular subject of medieval art and liturgical plays. 

Legends

One of the most popular legends of Saint Nicholas involves a family in need. In this story, he anonymously gave dowries to three young women whose father could not afford to marry them off, which would have led to a life of destitution. Another legend is that, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, he prayed during a storm that would have capsized the ship, causing the storm to let up and allowing the voyage to continue. This story helped secure his place as the patron saint of sailors. 

Santa Claus

Becoming Santa Claus

The first step to seeing how Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus is looking to the legends. Much of Europe celebrated Saint Nicholas as a benevolent gift giver. However, the legend that led to our Christmas traditions is the one of the poor man’s daughters. When Saint Nicholas threw gold into the house, it is said to have landed in stockings or shoes, which is the origin of the Christmas stocking. 

During the Reformation, the Netherlands began to celebrate St. Nicholas, calling him Sinterklass. They later brought this tradition to the U.S. The English-speaking country adapted “Sinterklass” to “Santa Claus.” In the 19th century, Saint Nicholas fully transformed into Santa Claus through written works and fables. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, we consider learning about all of the saints to be an essential part of a faith-based education. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Meet St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borromeo

Every year on November 4th, we get together to celebrate the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo. The namesake of our school, St. Charles Borromeo is the patron saint of bishops, catechists and other spiritual leaders. As one of the most important bishops of all time, he continues to inspire our mission to this day. At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, students from Pre-K to 8th grade learn how to live as St. Charles Borromeo did — with faith leading the way.

Early Life of St. Charles Borromeo

St. Charles Borromeo grew up in an aristocratic, wealthy family and the third of six children. At the age of 12, St. Charles Borromeo decided to dedicate his life to serving the church. The only money that interested him was what he needed for education and his work with the church. As a young adult, he worked as secretary of state for his uncle, Cardinal Gian Angelo de’Medici, also known as Pope Pius IV. St. Charles Borromeo helped draft a catechism and contributed to the reform of liturgical books and music, then became a bishop at the age of 25. 

St. Charles Borromeo communion

Accomplishments of St. Charles Borromeo

After becoming a bishop at such a young age, St. Charles Borromeo went on to become the first resident archbishop of Milan in 80 years. He founded a literary academy, colleges and other schools along the way. He gave most of his money to the poor, and he helped nurse and feed families during the plague. Along with helping his fellow man, he reorganized the diocese, established seminaries, enforced standards of morality and founded a confraternity to teach Christian doctrine to children. This was not popular with everyone, however, and an attempt was made on his life. 

Relatively unscathed after the assassination attempt, St. Charles Borromeo went on to work in Switzerland to help combat witchcraft and other heretical teachings. He died in 1584 at the age of 46, and Pope John XXIII dedicated a feast to him later that year. In 1610, St. Charles Borromeo officially became a saint. 

Celebrate the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo

There are several ways to celebrate the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo. The most popular, of course, is to eat. In honor of the patron saint of Italy, it is customary to eat an Italian meal. Cook together as a family, allowing your child to participate in making the food to honor this saint. Tell his story to your children so they can appreciate the rich background of their school. 

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Say a Prayer While Washing Hands

Your child’s safety and health has reached new heights this year. Handwashing has likely become tiresome for your child, and his hands may be peeling because of it. Continue warding off germs with gospel words and songs to remind your child that although germs are everywhere, so is Jesus. Cleanliness is Godliness, after all

Healing the Sick
Praise God while praying for your health and the health of those in your community. Offer your prayers to the sick by asking God to use His healing to give comfort and strength to them. In Psalm 103 of the Scripture, verses 2–3 reads, “Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget his gifts, who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills.”

“Amazing Grace”
This classic song is everybody’s favorite. It’s easier to become fearful during a time like this. With lyrics like, “‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,” this hymn will remind and reassure your child that God is taking care of his safety and security. 


“The Lord’s Prayer”
When Jesus’s disciples asked him how to pray, he responded with “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s likely that you and your child know the words by heart. Keep the tradition alive by reciting the words to cleanse not only your child’s hands but his mind and soul. Lines like, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” gives your child hope that God will not harm him.

Blessing Healthcare Workers
Your and your child can give your blessings to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. You can make your own prayer by simply saying, “Bless are all the healthcare workers, those who hold the heaviness of life and death. May God protect you during this.”

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Ways to Volunteer from Home

Service is a major part of the Catholic religion. Therefore, at St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, our curriculum emphasizes ways to give back to the community. We have developed a list of ways your child can volunteer even while social distancing at home!

Coronavirus Care Packages
Contact your local homeless shelter to check in. Ask the shelter if they need any coronavirus supplies for their residents to remain safe, including masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant cleaners, and more. You can even make coronavirus care packages for anyone who is homeless that you may meet outside!

Grocery Bags
Some families are not visiting the grocery store right now or may be dealing with a financial crisis. Whether you’d like to visit the store or use a shopping service, donating grocery bags is an essential way of giving back to those in need. Fill the bags up with healthy and nutritious foods that can help combat viruses! Find a food bank near you on Feeding America’s website.

Adopt a Family
Adopt a family with children and have your child present during the process. Search for families online or through a faith group. Shop for the families and send them presents during the holidays! Online shopping makes it easier to stay safe with no-contact delivery. Demonstrating this sort of kindness teaches your child to be compassionate and loving towards other families that may be less fortunate.

Healthcare Contributions
In the event a person becomes sick, they may not have access to healthcare. Some healthcare centers may be unable to accommodate the growing patient population. Help ensure a healthy outcome for patients by paying for a bill or donating to agencies that collect funds for the low-income. Teach your child that a small gesture like this can have a life-impacting result!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. To help provide the very best Catholic education to students — present and future, please consider contributing a gift to our Spirit of Giving Annual Fund. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On the third Saturday of August, Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This commemorates Mary, the mother of God, was assumed body and soul into heaven and reunited with her son Jesus. Learn about the tradition and the ways you and your child can observe it.

Purpose
The doctrine of her departure states at the end of her life, Mary was taken body and soul, both physically and spiritually, from Earth to heaven. Our Blessed Mother’s body was able to go directly to heaven as it wasn’t stained by original sin.

Obligation
Many countries, including all of North America, celebrate this as a Holy Day of obligation and a festival. Every culture, from Roman Catholic to the Anglican Communion, celebrates on or around the same day. On these days, all faithful communities are required to attend Mass unless the day fall on a Saturday or Monday.

Celebration
Catholics all around the world celebrate the Assumption of Mary in different ways. For instance, in Italy and Italian-American culture, colorful processions and fireworks mark the celebration. Some Catholics carry a statue of the Virgin Mary through towns to a ceremonial floral arch. Here are ways you and your child can celebrate:

 

  • Attend a mass: Make it a priority to attend a vigil mass, usually held the evening before the feast. You and your child can display your love for our Blessed Mother and bring glory to her son.
  • Go to a procession: Processions for the Feast are either big or small. Go online and research how your area celebrates their love for our Lady. If you don’t find one, organize your own. Be sure to collect a statue, figurine, or image of Mary.
  • Plant a Mary Garden: A great bonding activity for you and your child, celebrate Assumption Day by blessing the summer harvest. Plant herbs, summer squash, fresh fruit, and more. 
  • Have a feast: Organize a special feast with your family that can be a picnic, formal dinner, cookout, or other dining activities. Be sure to use fresh herbs and vegetables from your Mary garden in your meal blessing, and incorporate the color blue, which symbolizes the heavenly skies.

 

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Prayers Your Child Should Be Saying in the Morning

The Scripture has a prayer for every situation. Morning  prayers, also called Lauds, are one of the most important hours in the “Liturgy of the Hours (the official prayer of the Catholic church).” Here are some prayers your child can say in the morning! We start it off with the Morning Offering written in 1844 by Father François-Xavier Gautrelet, S.J., one of the founders of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Morning Offering by Fr. François-Xavier Gautrelet, S.J.

“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day

for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart,

in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,

for the salvation of souls, the reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians,

and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.

Amen.”

“Children’s Morning Prayer” by Mary Fairchild

“Lord, in the morning I start each day,

By taking a moment to bow and pray.

Beginning with thanks, I then give praise

For all your kind and loving ways.

Today if sunshine turns to rain,

If a dark cloud brings some pain,

I won’t doubt or hide in fear

For you, my God, are always near.

I will travel where you lead;

I will help my friends in need.

Where you send me, I will go;

With your help, I’ll learn and grow.

Hold my family in your hands,

As we follow your commands.

And I will keep you close in sight

Until I crawl in bed tonight.

Amen.”

“Good Morning, Jesus” (Author Unknown)

Jesus, you are good and wise

I will praise you when I rise.

Jesus, hear this prayer I send

Bless my family and my friends.

Jesus, help my eyes to see

All the good you send to me.

Jesus, help my ears to hear

Calls for help from far and near.

Jesus, help my feet to go

In the way that You will show.

Jesus, help my hands to do

All things loving, kind, and true.

Jesus, guard me through this day

In all I do and all I say.

Amen.”

Morning Prayer for Children (Author Unknown)

“For this new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends.

For everything Thy goodness sends,

We thank Thee, dearest Lord.

Amen.”

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

 

Easy Catholic Snacks for Your Child to Make


Developing cooking and baking skills is essential for your child’s upbringing. Start teaching her how to work in a kitchen with these Catholic snacks. These delicious recipes are perfect for First Communions, Holy Thursday, and more!

Unleavened Bread
You don’t need to be a master baker to make unleavened bread. In fact, the process is simple and doesn’t involve yeast or rising. Not only does it provide a lesson in baking, but it also gives your child a lesson about the Last Supper. This recipe creates about 12 pieces and requires:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients, except the flour.
  3. Add the flour slowly and knead until bread is elastic.
  4. Put oil on your hands, then shape the dough into balls. Flatten them into a patty, and poke holes with a fork.
  5. Grease a pan, and then put the bread on it.
  6. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until golden brown.


Caramel Cross Krispy Treats
For any holiday, we recommend this caramel cross recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 package 10-oz marshmallows
  • 1 box purple Fruit-by-the-Foot candy
  • ½ cup caramel ice creaming topping

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  2. Add marshmallows in, and stir until completely melted.
  3. Remove from the heat, then stir in the caramel topping.
  4. Add in the Rice Krispies, and stir until fully coated.
  5. After oiling your hands or spatula, press evenly into a pan that is coated with cooking spray.
  6. Allow cooling for a couple of hours, or put them in the refrigerator.
  7. Once they are firm, use a cross-shaped cookie cutter.
  8. Cut the purple fruit snacks into strips, then drape them over the crosses.

 

St. Brigid Irish Tot-chos
If your child loves tater tots and nachos, then this snack for her! Perfect as an appetizer, it layers potatoes — an Irish staple that represents the Irish saint St. Brigid. St. Brigid was the patroness of dairy maids, which is symbolized by the sour cream and cheese piled on to cooked tater tots. She is also connected to pigs as well, which is represented by the layer of bacon bits. Finish it off with guacamole and green onions to symbolize the Irish green!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teach Your Child Religious Poetry

Poetry can teach your child all about creative writing, spelling, grammar, comprehension, structured writing, and more. Writing poems can be a part of your home learning schedule. Poetry is a great teaching tool to show your child literary elements, such as rhyme and similes, through language and expression. Use this guide to learn more about teaching your child religious poetry.

Picking the Poems
So that your child will be more likely to enjoy the experience, allow him to choose the poems he studies. Give him some control and independence so he doesn’t grow to resent the activity and experience. To prepare for the lesson, read it in advance before you share it with your child. Have discussion points like metaphors and topics ready. There are many great poems for children about Jesus and prayer, including:

 

“Pray Today” by Roger W. Hancock:
Before each day remember to pray,

 

that we be safe at play.

Pray at night, for it is right,

then sleep within God’s light.

All through the day, remember pray,

Jesus will guide each day.

 

“Bless the Father” by Prayers for Special Help:

 

Dearest God,

thank You for giving us

joy and love.

You have given us children

that gives us all we need

Happiness and joy

through all our days.

Bless Your name

and all your works

for without You

we will live in sadness

and madness will be with us.

Read Together
After your child chooses the poems and you’ve reviewed them, read them together. This creates a bonding experience, which makes your child feel more comfortable learning a new activity. Encourage your child to relax by creating a comfortable space and lighting candles.

Discussions
Start a dialogue about the poems. Ask him what he enjoyed about the pieces, or what he didn’t understand. Then get into literary points, such as tone, theme, and so forth. Then, re-read the poem, much slower than the first time. Have your child point out the literary elements as you go along. Pointing them out himself will give him a better understanding of what he’s reading and make him feel confident. Continue the process and have him memorize the poem so he develops his rhythm. 

Use Examples
When it’s time to write his own poem, use the poems he selected as a guide. Break down the structure of the poem into sections. Makes notes highlighting writing mechanics. Then, have him follow the guideline piece by piece.St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Origins of the Crowning of Mary

The May Crowning of Mary is a long-standing Catholic tradition that honors the Virgin Mary. Families typically hold a “May Crowning,” where Mary is presented with a floral crown and other handmade items. We hope that this information will help teach your child about the origins of this beautiful Catholic tradition.

The Traditions
Catholics have long honored the Blessed Virgin Mary in May. Most Catholic churches create a dedicated area that includes a picture or statue of Mary, surrounded by flowers and candles. This remains throughout the entire month of May to memorialize the importance of our Mother Mary in Church and in our personal lives. During “May Crowning,” we honor Mary as Mother of God and Queen of the Universe.

Why May
Throughout history, May has brought special observances, traditions, and devotions to Mary, which led her to be known as the “Queen of May.” In the medieval times, winter ended at the start of May because it was considered a time of new growth and beginnings. It was during this time that the “Tricesimum” (“30-Day Devotion to Mary” or “Lady Month”) period began. That’s when special devotions to the Mother of God started in May — spreading from Italy all around the world. Parishes traditionally have daily recitation of the Rosary in May. The final devotion on the last day of May is typically followed by a procession, where the structure or image of Mary is taken back into church. 

Mother, not Goddess
It’s important to note that we do not view Mary as a goddess, nor do we worship Mary; she is honored or venerated as the mother of Christ and Mother of God, the most important woman in our Catholic faith. She is the first to hold God within her and was conceived without the stain of original sin so as to be the perfect tabernacle of our Lord. She also holds a special place with her son and can intercede for us in a special way as shown in scripture. This is why we say “to Jesus through Mary.”

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.