On Friday, May 1, 2020, the St. Joseph School community came together for a First Friday Virtual Prayer Service to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The prayer service was the first school-wide, virtual event and it was a huge success! The Prayer Service began with a welcome from Principal Michael Hackenson, followed by Fourth Grade instructor Sr. Jeanne Marie Akalski explaining the history of the devotion attributed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who was born in France in 1647. Sr. Jeanne explained, “At the age of 9, she (Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque) received her First Holy Communion but shortly after that she fell ill and could not walk. After four years of suffering, she was cured when she prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for her. She became a Visitation Nun and Jesus appeared to her, asking her to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart.” Then, as the participants watched attentively, Sr. Jeanne asked all the students and faculty to continue the beautiful devotion of honoring Jesus on each First Friday.
The Opening Hymn, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” began playing and the words “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise Him above Ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” flashed on the participants’ screens. When the song ended, Sr. Mary Ann Papiez, St. Joseph School Religion Instructor for 5th – 8th Grade students, recited a verse from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 4, verse 32: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” After the scripture reading , Sr. Jeanne asked everyone to look at the Heart of Jesus and notice the thorns circling the Heart. “The thorns represent our sins by which we hurt Jesus and sometimes we forget how our actions offend the Sacred Heart,” she explained. She asked the students several questions including, “Have you disobeyed your parents? Have you been mean to your brothers or sisters? And, have you neglected your schoolwork?” Then, all participants in the virtual prayer service recited the Act of Contrition.
The virtual event concluded with a special video presentation that all students, faculty, and staff were asked to participate in by submitting prayer requests and prayers of thanks. Submissions included prayer requests for family members affected by COVID-19 or those that have passed away, while others prayed for health care providers, truckers delivering supplies, people with medical deficiencies who don’t have easy access to health care at this time, and those who are lonely and sad. Other prayers included teachers praying for their students, students praying for strength and patience for their teachers, and requests for guidance so we may continue to do God’s will for the good of all His people. The video brought many to tears. Some cried because of the pandemic, while others cried tears of thanks for the opportunity to see the school together again in prayer.
St. Joseph School will continue to utilize virtual events to encourage and support its community and share the St. Joseph School experience with others. On Monday, May 11th at 6:30 p.m. St. Joseph School invites current families as well as families interested in learning more about our Preschool through First Grade programs to join faculty and staff at a Virtual Open House. Please call 508-943-0378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.