As a child growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, you would be hard pressed to find a radio station that wasn’t playing the band out of California named The Eagles. This talented group of musicians blended a soulful sound of soft rock and country music. I suppose the music fan in me always seemed to connect with the smooth and the harmonious sound of this legendary group. Fittingly to this point, their debut album in 1972 included a gentle melody that was comprised within the song entitled “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. As I reflect on why this song resonates so well with me, I imagine that it begins and ends with the first word in the title. As Catholics, the expression of “peace” is a wonderful gift that has been granted to us as one the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit (as listed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1832).
The symbolism of these Fruits can be further understood within Matthew 7:17, “every good tree bears good fruit”. This central belief serves as the premise for our educational ministry in support of forming students of virtue in heart, mind and soul. Furthermore, it is this principle that guides our intentional formation of the young people we help our parents to develop.
Teaching our students to be instruments for peace requires creative, multi-disciplinary efforts aimed at sharing the Light of Christ to others within our broader community. In view of these efforts, on February 22, our entire school community brought their “peaceful easy feeling” to the elderly and infirm residents of Frederick Villa Nursing Care Center. In preparation for this “Peace Parade” event, our amazing Art teacher, Ms. Heather King, arranged a special class project where our older students worked with their younger prayer partner students in constructing handmade pinwheels. As is typically a hallmark of stewardship within Catholic schools, this Art class project was conceived as an inexpensive, yet creatively designed assignment where the students built a construction paper pinwheel. In addition, this particular model used donated wooden chopsticks as the dowel of the pinwheel. Also, this service-minded educational experience included learning songs of peace which our students prepared for in class with our ever talented Music teacher, Mr. Dan Baker. On this late February day, it was such a special gift to witness our 3 year-old to 14 year-old students parade through the hallways of Frederick Villa sharing their smiles and presenting peace pinwheels to the residents. This joyous site then brought even larger smiles at the end of our parade as the students gathered in the Frederick Villa dining room. There they shared the gift of peace as they sang: “He’s got the whole world in His hands” and “Let there be peace on earth”.
Knowing that “every good tree bears good fruit”, at St. Agnes School, we nourish the roots of our students through educational experiences such as our “Peace Parade”. Events such as this cultivate a compassionate and loving heart, an inquisitive mind, and a faith-filled soul within the children who call our school home. Each day we pray with hopeful thanksgiving that the Holy Spirit will continue to bless the young people in our community.