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Understanding the Extraordinary
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SJND students put their 'Faith in Action'

can put words
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Pupils aid prison ministry

Learning that leads
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placeholder January 18, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic Schools Week

St. Leander pupils sent messages to inmates attending a retreat.
Courtesy photo

Pupils aid prison ministry

Pupils at St. Leander School responded to Bishop Barber's call to practice the corporal works of mercy by participating in the prison retreat ministry called Kairos. Parishioner Robert Caruso, who helps facilitate the three-day retreat program, reached out to the school children to explain that Kairos is a weekend-long retreat that takes place within the walls of the State Correctional Institution at Vacaville.

Pupils decorated handprints to be placed all around the walls of the room in which the retreat takes place, providing an atmosphere of "blessing" with positive thoughts, prayers and affirmations.

Caruso shared with Principal Lynne Mullen the emotional reactions of the men participating in the retreat as they read these heartfelt messages from the students.

This year's messages included these thoughts from the children:

"God loves you.
"Everyone deserves another chance.
"God is watching you—Happy Halloween!
"God will never abandon you.
"May the light of Jesus shine upon you.
"I am praying for you!
"God gives His hardest battles to His strongest soldiers!"

This is not the first project involving the incarcerated that St. Leander pupils have participated in.

For a number of years, the children supported the "Get On The Bus" program, which reunites incarcerated mothers with their children for one day on the prison grounds.

Pupils decorated lunch bags with positive and affirming messages and filled them with snacks for the long trips to and from the women's prisons.

In preparation for their role in both programs, pupils learned about the importance of their faith and how the power of their prayers can inspire others as they practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

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