It is not enough to educate a child academically. CCHS also educates each student socially, culturally, physically, and as a Catholic school, spiritually; that is, the total child. The Department of Campus Ministry seeks to serve the faith formation needs of our student body, faculty, and staff in a variety of ways.
We worship as a school community on all holy days of obligation, as well as at the opening of the new school year, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Catholic Schools Week. Students take on ministerial roles such as greeters, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and as members of Music Ministry. Each class is assigned a holy day to plan and in which to take part.
Rites of Passage are also celebrated within the context of liturgy. Our Juniors receive their class rings at our Thanksgiving mass, and on the evening prior to graduation, our Seniors and their families worship together at a Eucharistic Baccalaureate. Our Honors Assemblies are framed in prayer.
Similarly, certain feast days and civic days are remembered. Here at CCHS, we come together in prayer on the anniversary of 9/11, World Hunger Day, the Feast of Saint Joseph, and Earth Day, to name just a few.
Traditionally speaking, we carry out the Blessing of the Throats to honor the Feast of Saint Blase, the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday, and we honor the Blessed Mother on the first school day in May with a prayer/crowning service on the front lawn of the school. Each student is also given a Miraculous Medal to wear on the lanyard.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered twice a year, once during Advent and once during Lent. If a student has need of a priest at any other time, arrangements will be made.
Although we do study the Sacrament of Confirmation at a number of grade levels, we do not do sacramental prep for this. Students should prep at their home parishes and receive the sacrament with their parish family.
Classes have the opportunity to come together away from the traditional school setting and participate in a Class Day of Reflection. Periodically, overnight retreat opportunities are offered to our students. These may be set up by the Campus Minister or offered through the diocese. Our students have participated in the Journey Retreat, and a Campus Ministry sponsored overnight retreat held at Christ the King Center in Greenwich.
Administration, faculty, and staff members of Catholic Central also participate in a "day away" from campus for prayer and reflection. This is usually held in March.
The diocese offers CLI (Christian Leadership Institute) a five day experience which teaches the participants how to use their gifts and talents in such a way as to deepen their faith journey. Students come back from CLI energized and eager to share their experiences with others and ready to lead their peers.
Through the Diocese of Albany, students are also invited to participate in SALT (Service Action Learning Team), a five day experience of living in community and being of service to those impacted by hardship. This past summer, the team worked in Rotterdam Junction, severely devastated by Hurricane Irene in the summer of 2011. Participants lived together in community at St. Margaret of Cortona Parish in Rotterdam Junction.
We have had students participate in the National Catholic Youth Conference, held at various sites across the country. Here our students join approximately 25,000 other young people in deepening their awareness of Jesus in their lives. Our students are encouraged to participate in Youth Ministry events through their parishes to take advantage of this opportunity.
Speaking of service, the CCHS student is encouraged to complete ten hours of service to the communityat- large. In addition our school has several clubs which also promote service: Key Club, Student Council, and National Honor Society.
Our school has been blessed with being able to introduce quality national and international speakers to our learning community. We have hosted Mike Patin and Jesse Manibussan most recently. Through their wit, humor, and gift of song, they have been able to bring the Gospel message to our students in ways that are entertaining, as well as thought provoking.
Our students participate annually in Public Policy Day held each March. We lobby government officials with people from across New York State on items that impact the Catholic Church. We work with the NYS Catholic Conference on this endeavor.
A ten member team is sent each year to the Character Education Youth Summit sponsored by the Sage Colleges. This is held in December.
In addition, our students have attended the Leadership Conference at Westpoint and the Fair Trade Conference at Siena College. We also sponsor a Fair Trade Day at school on the day of report card conferences each November.
Ann Pawlik, Campus Minister