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Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)

All-School Mass marks beginning of a new year for Prep, Villa, Mother Teresa Academy


Daily worship is a big focus at Prep, Villa, and Mother Teresa Academy. Because they are all Catholic schools, events such as Mass are held regularly to allow students at the school to profess their faith.
Outsiders may wonder why the all-school Mass with students from Prep, Villa, and Mother Teresa is a tradition at the start of the school year.
Fr. Mike DeMartinis was one of the priests who concelebrated the Mass. Fr. Mike plays a major role in the theater program at Prep and Villa, as well as teaching some of his own classes that revolve around theater. He had a lot to say regarding why the all-school Mass is so important at the beginning of the school year. “We start the school year with mass [and prayer] as we would like any class during the day.” He went on to explain that our identity (meaning the schools in the Prep-Villa family) as Catholic is very precious. It’s good to celebrate and be joyful, and the all-school mass allows us to do so.
Unlike the weekly school mass, the all-school Mass is significantly longer. The extra time allows for additional songs from the school’s music ministers and allows everyone to enjoy the peace of being around one another in the moment.
Mass is also very specific in terms of its order of events. It begins with the a few songs, then moves to the Liturgy of the Word (readings from the Old and New Testament and then the Liturgy of the Eucharist when the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Catholics then sing at the end because they have received Jesus through the Eucharist and are sent to live out their faith in the world. In fact, “Mass” means “to send.”
So, why does Prep schedule an all-school Mass at the end of the first week of school? It is to celebrate the beginning of a new year with Jesus Christ and to share that celebration with everyone else. Not only because it is more enjoyable when more are present, but also because it strengthens the bonds of the student body with each other and with Jesus himself.

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