For many Prep and Villa students, Catholic Schools Week is seen as a week to unwind, as students and faculty are permitted to dress up in different fashions for each day. However, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a usually normal Catholic Schools Week had to be altered into a safer variant. And while the current circumstances have changed a lot about Catholic Schools Week, the spirit of the week still remains the same.
As expected, the COVID-19 regulations changed the original plans and preparations for Catholic Schools Week in 2021, according to Fr.
“A lot [of limitations were put on Catholic Schools Week,” he said. “There was not a lot that we could do because of gathering either together or because the activities were just not deemed safe by the the current regulations. So we tried to get creative by offering a simple Catholic Schools Week, but still honoring in the best way we could.”
While limitations were put on during this week, preparations for what could’ve been a “normal” Catholic Schools a Week changed before 2021 even began. Fr. Jason mentioned that, “there was not a lot we could do because we start planning Catholic Schools Week in October and
November, and so the original draft was already tossed out the window in early December because of the regulations that were put out by the government.”
This year’s CSW donation collection was St. Patrick’s Haven, an Erie homeless shelter that provides temporary housing for homeless men. Both Prep and Villa students and faculty are permitted to bring in supplies to donate based on their class, such as freshmen specifically donating adults’ winter socks.
When asked about why St. Patrick’s Haven was chosen as this year’s donation, Fr. Jason said, “St. Patrick’s Haven was actually chosen by Villa’s Interact Club, and so it’s a way that we’re trying to work with our sisters at Villa and to continue to bring about the education that we have
here at Prep. Yes, it starts with faith, but it has to be lived out through works. So we are trying to help out a local agency that is specifically in need that we haven’t been able to help out before.”
Father Jason also hopes to the supplies gathered through donations will be able to help the homeless center up until the weather starts to heat up.
“We hope that we are able to give them enough supplies that will help them for at least two months,” he said. “That it will get them through the bulk of the winter season, as they [St. Patrick’s Haven] do a wonderful service to the greater Erie community for homeless men.”
Father Jason also hopes that even during a period of time marred by the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic Schools Week can give the Prep and Villa student body valuable lessons about the attribute of faith.
“In Catholic Schools Week, it’s always set as a thematic day,” he said, “And so, instead of honoring the national themes, we used our own: The F.I.R.S.T. core values that Mr. Hagerty has given to us. And what is first is Faith, and so from faith flows the other four understandings of these themes. So we hope that everybody’s able to take, not just in Catholic Schools Week, but every day of their life here at Prep and/or Villa to remember our calling as people of faith and so that they can live out these core values every day.”
Just like most of the Prep and Villa community, Father Jason is among those who hope that Catholic Schools Week can be just like old times once life gets back to normal in our country.
“I would hope that we are able to go back to emphasizing faith through activities, service through activities, and also the fraternity in the community through activities.,” Father Jason said.