Our mission statement reads,” Saint Joseph School, a Catholic, co-educational, elementary school promotes academic excellence rooted in Gospel values, fosters the minds, hearts and spirits and encourages growth in responsibility and service.” There is no better evidence that these values are important in our world than the fact that in a survey conducted in late 2018, parents stated that their number-one reason for choosing SJS for their children is that it is a faith-based community and that the school has a positive impact on each child’s faith development.
Throughout the school—in the foyer, hallways, stairwells, classrooms—there are external symbols of Catholic devotions and teachings. But more important than the exterior symbols, one cannot help but notice that the students are growing spiritually as well. Fostered by religion classes, Eucharistic liturgies, sacraments, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and para-liturgical events, the students’ Catholic identity is evident in the charity and care shown to one another both in the school community and beyond.
The Gospel values of charity, compassion, justice, fairness, and integrity are manifested in myriad daily encounters and in events that serve others who may have greater needs. Service projects have included food and toiletry drives for the parish food pantry, “bear-hugs” stuffed animals donated at Christmas to patients at Children’s Hospital, baby items for Our Lady’s Inn and Hand and Hand, cards and decorations for the Prime Timers and residents at nursing homes, and assistance to victims of natural disasters. These activities help fulfill a school goal of greater knowledge and participation in the Church’s social justice teachings including human dignity, pro-life, family life, and protection of the environment.
Since the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith, students participate in a class-level Mass and an all-school Mass every week. They also serve in the ministries of altar servers, lectors, cantors, choir, musicians and gift presenters. The sacrament of Reconciliation is offered to the students during Advent and Lent and in times of sacramental preparation.
The pastor, parish priests, and seminarian are engaged in teaching religion at all grade levels. Their homilies at Mass enhance the catechesis and formation of the students and faculty. The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus serve as administrators and teachers sharing their charism of the love of the Sacred Heart. Our dedicated lay co-ministers serve as role models for the students through both their teaching and Christ-like example.
Our school philosophy states, as the Church teaches, “Parents are the first educators of their children in knowledge and faith.” The philosophy then expresses that priests, administration, teachers, and staff are here to help parents pass on their Catholic faith. Catholic identity is a hallmark throughout our school community. We feel truly blessed by the privilege of ministering to both our students and their parents in their journey to God.