April: Month of the Holy Eucharist

communion cup and plate set at altar

After the reflective period of Lent, Easter comes around, and then Catholics dedicate the entire month to celebrating Jesus’s presence in their lives. Known as the Month of the Holy Eucharist, April is a time when the Catholic Church focuses on the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This is unique to the Catholic Church as we believe that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Holy Eucharist

The Month of the Holy Eucharist, also called the Month of the Blessed Sacrament, celebrates Jesus manifesting himself in the Body and Blood while still under the appearance of bread and wine. The institution of the Eucharist started at the Last Supper by Jesus Himself, the last time Jesus and his disciples gathered before his crucifixion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Eucharist as “the source and summit of our faith.” In observation, everyone at Mass kneels in adoration during the transfiguration, the point that the bread and wine change into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  

Ways to Observe

Catholics celebrate the Month of the Holy Eucharist in many ways. Here are a few:

  • Begin to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, an ancient prayer that presents a path to praying through the Book of Psalms throughout the year.
  • Recite the “Jesus Prayer” by repeating the phrase “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner” until it brings you peace.
  • Read about the life of a saint, and pray by his or her side. Many saints have their own prayers regarding the Eucharist.
  • Pour out your heart directly to Jesus by telling Him all that comes to your mind, and listen for a response. 
  • Pray the Rosary, and ask Mary to join you while you do so. 

Soul of Christ (Anima Christi) Prayer

Anima Christi is a prayer that you can say as an act of adoration, thanking Jesus for his continued presence on Earth. This prayer is from the 14th Century and is commonly said after receiving Holy Communion:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me

Body of Christ, save me

Blood of Christ, inebriate me

Water from Christ’s side, wash me

Passion of Christ, strengthen me

O good Jesus, hear me

Within Thy wounds hide me

Suffer me not to be separated from Thee

From the malicious enemy defend me

In the hour of my death call me And bid me come unto Thee

That I may praise Thee with Thy saints

and with Thy angels Forever and ever

Amen.

At St. Charles Borromeo, we believe that having a strong foundation of faith helps children excel in all areas of life. Our 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.

The Days of Holy Week

holy-week-cross

To mark the end of Lent, Christians celebrate Holy Week to commemorate the final days of Jesus’ life and His resurrection. Each day has its own significance and is celebrated differently. Take time with your child to help him understand the meaning of each of these days. Here is a guide to Holy Week from an Orlando Catholic school:

Palm Sunday

The sixth and final Sunday in Lent is known as Palm Sunday. This commemorates Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. To celebrate, churchgoers wave palm branches like the crowds of the time. Showing humility and fulfilling a prophecy, Jesus rode in on a donkey. On this Sunday, crowds observing Passover in Jerusalem proclaimed Jesus the messianic king. In some churches, worshippers wear crosses made of palm fronds. Palm Sunday is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” because “passion” comes from a Latin word meaning “to suffer.”

Holy Thursday

The first day of the shortest liturgical season, the Easter Triduum, is Holy Thursday. This day commemorates the last day before Jesus was arrested. To represent the Last Supper, churches celebrate the Last Supper Mass and the last Communion before Easter. Other events include the betrayal of Judas and Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Certain sects refer to this day as “Maundy Thursday,” with “maundy” meaning “to give,” “to entrust,” or “to order.” Aside from giving Communion, churches celebrate with the ceremonial washing of feet, just as Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles this night. After Mass, the tabernacle empties out, and the hosts move to another location for adoration. The church is truly empty during these days of remembrance leading up to the Easter Vigil. 

Good Friday

On this day of Holy Week, Christians do not celebrate but take time for reflection, honoring the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made. Good Friday commemorates the arrest, trial, crucifixion, suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ. No one hosts a Mass celebration on this day anywhere in the world, rather a musicless, dimly lit gathering and sometimes a Communion service. There are a couple ways this day is observed. Eat church will have a Veneration of the Cross, where worshippers bow before or kiss a large cross. This is also a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means we eat smaller meals for breakfast and lunch with a normal sized dinner and not eating between meals. Abstinence means we avoid meat on this day. 

Easter Vigil and Easter

On Saturday, day 7 of Holy Week, Christians practice quiet meditation while remembering the faithful and honoring martyrs. Catholic churches host a candlelight vigil after sundown that begins outside the church with a fire and the blessing of the Easter Candle. All at once during Mass the lights in the Church will come on and we will sing Alleluia as Jesus has risen from the dead and conquered death! Then, all day Sunday, worshippers celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. The music, communion, and celebratory nature return. After church, families get together for brunch, Easter egg hunts, and dinner, traditionally serving lamb to mark the end of Lent. At our Orlando Catholic school, we believe Holy Week is important for children to observe and understand.

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.

Give Up Waste for Lent

online shopping

Over the next 40 days of Lent, Christians around the world will take time to focus on their relationships with God. One step that many take is giving something up for Lent. In the past, we have recommended sacrificing soda, negativity and screen time. This year, we recommend giving up waste. The environmental impact of discarded products, such as single-use plastics, cannot be overstated, and now is the perfect time to consider what you can go without. Here are our recommendations:

Reduce Your Consumption

During this time of preparation for Easter, stop shopping. Rather than buying whatever makes you happy in the moment, narrow down your list to items that you need. Depending on your current habits, this could mean making food at home or avoiding the allure of online shopping. This also means not buying your beloved child the toy he picks out at every store. Be mindful with your spending, and you’ll be amazed by how much you can save. Once Easter comes around, consider donating some of the money you would have otherwise spent. 

bamboo utensil set in cloth

Switch to Reusable Products

Plastic has been a convenient material for years, and it’s especially popular because it doesn’t break down. Unfortunately, this is also a major downside to plastic, especially single-use plastics that end up in landfills and oceans. Consider purchasing items that can be used multiple times, like metal or bamboo straws, bamboo or thermoplastic utensils, and metal or BPA-free reusable water bottles. Buying these items for the whole family and making sure everyone uses them will remove more waste than you may realize.

full clothes closet

Recycle What You Don’t Need

Unless you have already taken serious time to declutter, chances are, you have items you don’t need. Each day, go into a different area of the house, and look for items you can donate or, if no longer usable, throw away. We recommend donating as a way to give back to others, but there will be items that you’ve held onto that have seen better days. Think about how long it has been since you used each item, not how quickly you may use it again. Encourage your child to do the same, and help him choose items that another child might love.

At St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando private school, we believe every person can make a difference and that Lent is the perfect time to create better habits. 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.

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.