Only at St. Francis High School
The Advantage of Attending a Faith-Based High School – A Sample of SFHS Opportunities in Fall 2020
Saint Francis of Assisi radiated love, and his dedication to God and neighbor is central to our identity. We offer academic excellence in an environment where people belong and connect. Joy and peace feel real here. We call it “The St. Francis Way.” It grounds us in the gospel values, Roman Catholic tradition, and Franciscan virtues. St. Francis High School is about forming faith in students and forming the whole person.
Faith formation at SFHS envelops the students, faculty, and staff in a unified vision of Christ-like character development in all pursuits. Students are taught to be respectful, compassionate, and about the love of God. It is a lifestyle developed, understood, and lived out daily in our school community.
All-School Daily Prayer.
Dr. Diane Mercadante, Director of Pastoral Ministry: “It’s really important to have a common reflection of the day. We are joining with the world and reflecting on the Scripture message, so we too can put those qualities into action. Praying the Prayer of Saint Francis as a community every day is something that brings our community together too. Those qualities and words we say have an impact on how we live our lives. The more you say the good words of the prayer, the more they reveal themselves. For example, “Make me an instrument of your peace…” It reminds us of the call of God in our lives and to live in community.”
Student Caelynn K. ’21: “My favorite thing about the importance of prayer at St. Francis is that the teachers implement it into every class, every day. Even when we are online, the teachers pray with us as soon as the class starts. While in school, we pray every class and take intentions, which I think shows the community and how safe we feel sharing our personal intentions with the class. Another part about prayer that I love is the morning announcements. Sometimes people can be in a rush in the morning, but as soon and the announcements start and we all pray together, everyone stops what they are doing to take time and pray as a class, which is something really special. Overall, the concept of prayer at St. Francis is so strong that it really brings us together and contributes to our growth in faith.”
SFHS celebrated the first all-cohort Mass of the year earlier this month to honor the feast of our patron, Saint Francis of Assisi. Students, faculty, and staff all gathered on our new athletic field for the outdoor liturgies.
Mr. Michael Page, Religion teacher and Pastoral Ministry Team member: “Our liturgies provide a great opportunity to gather together and celebrate the abundant gifts that God has given us. All-school mass at St. Francis is beautiful because it is all about sharing and generosity—God has shared with us, Christ gives his body and blood, we give our talents and our energy through gathering, music, storytelling, and serving one another, then we are nourished and sent out to share ourselves with the world. Our liturgies are a joyful expression of God’s presence in who we are, all that we do, and all that we have yet to be and become.”
Dr. Mercadante: “Christian service asks that we give more of ourselves. It is transformative and involves an encounter with another in order to accompany and stand in solidarity with those who need resources, such as food, clothes, shelter, or healthcare. Typically, we ask students to complete a minimum of 15 hours of service to the community focused on people who live on the margins and in circumstances that call for a Gospel response of love. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking students to consider creative ways to contribute to the community through direct service, indirect service, and/or education/advocacy.”
Fr. John Honiotes, Vice President for Mission & Chaplain: “The Mass is the most powerful prayer God has given humanity and it is offered every day before the school day begins. Jesus is deeply thankful for this sacrifice because it allows Him to connect with us in prayer and in receiving Him in the Eucharist.”
Daily Religion Class.
Ms. Kristen Ras, Religion Department Chair and Pastoral Ministry Team Member: “For people of faith, understanding their religion is an on-going process that is a constant part of their development. Studying religion is an essential component when educating the whole person. For a Catholic student, our hope is that religion classes will provide more opportunity for formation and transformation. Non-Catholic students do not need prior Catholic ‘training;’ all students in religion classes are provided the opportunity to learn the material. SFHS tries to follow the example and tradition of Jesus Christ as well as the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi, which means everyone has a place and opportunity for personal enrichment.”
Men’s & Women’s Spirituality Groups.
Student Will G. ’22: “Men’s Spirituality is a group of men coming together and taking their faith seriously. I have met so many new people through this group and I have grown in my faith in so many different ways. My favorite memory with Men’s Spirituality is the annual retreat we go on, I learned so much about myself as well as developing and strengthening my relationships with old and new friends.”
Mr. Page: “Experience and intuition are the primary way we come to know and understand God. Our retreats bring students together to build on their feelings and insights from everyday life. Our classroom content and conversation are amazing, but retreats provide something different—the time and space apart from our normal routine gives all of us unique opportunity to grow in relationship with God and one another.”
Student Jack Z. ’22: “My favorite part about retreats is the bond that we form with our fellow students. I just got back from Junior Retreat and I am now closer with the people I already knew. I also met a few transfer students and people I had never seen before. The retreats help us to grow in our faith with those around us, an opportunity we don’t get often. I am excited for Kairos next year.”
Student Ministry Team.
Ms. Ras: “The primary responsibilities of SMT are to help coordinate and lead the community in areas of prayer, service, and retreats.”
Student Maggie G. ’22: “I joined the student ministry team as a sophomore. In SMT, we reflect on scripture and ponder the meaning of what it means to be part of the Catholic community. We lead the student body in retreats and set a faith example in both the classroom and our extracurriculars. Since I have become a part of this team, my faith has grown so much. As an SMT captain this year, I also have the incredible opportunity to lead others in their faith. As a team, we all grow together as a family in Christ.”
Fr. John: “Confession is available every Monday and Tuesday during Activity Period. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a powerful gift from Jesus that completely restores our relationship with God and the Church.”