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Advent projects at St. Michael School in Brattleboro deliver joy

Third graders Brendan Rose-Fish and John Mazzer explain the Jesse Tree project taking place in their classroom. “It’s something we do in Advent to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus,” John says. “The ornaments that hang on the (Jesse) tree tell stories that are in the Bible about the promise that God made to His people that He would send a savior,” Brendan adds. Vermont Catholic photo by Cori Fugere Urban Third graders Brendan Rose-Fish and John Mazzer explain the Jesse Tree project taking place in their classroom. “It’s something we do in Advent to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus,” John says. “The ornaments that hang on the (Jesse) tree tell stories that are in the Bible about the promise that God made to His people that He would send a savior,” Brendan adds.
O what charitable works the students at St. Michael School in Brattleboro are doing for Advent!
 
They are not just learning about the holy season of preparation for Christmas, they are reaching out to others with messages of compassion, hope and love.
 
Students in second, third, fourth and fifth grades, for example, are involved in projects to benefit residents of elder care homes. The younger children are making Jesse Tree ornaments with residents of Bradley House, a residential care facility. The older students are making Advent cards with O Antiphon and Advent wreath themes to be delivered by eighth, ninth and tenth graders when they visit nursing homes to assist Father Justin Baker, pastor of St. Michael Parish, with weekly Masses.
 
“Advent brings joy, and the joy our students bring to the nursing homes is twofold – joy for our students and joy for the senior members of our community,” said Elaine Beam, principal. “Advent is a season, not one event. This is an opportunity for students to prepare with senior members of our community for Christmas.”
 
The projects are among the ways students connect with members of the wider community through service.
 
Third graders Brendan Rose-Fish and John Mazzer explained the Jesse Tree project taking place in their classroom. “It’s something we do in Advent to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus,” John said. “The ornaments that hang on the (Jesse) tree tell stories that are in the Bible about the promise that God made to His people that He would send a savior,” Brendan added.
 
Among the symbols are an apple for the story of Adam and Eve and a rainbow to represent the story of Noah and the flood.
 
Every other Thursday the second and third graders visit residents of Bradley House as part of the Catholic school’s community service.
 
Brendan and John like to go there and hear residents’ stories and play games. “Jesus teaches us to do this,” John said. “He wants us to be nice to other people and love your neighbor as yourself,” Brendan added.
 
The fourth and fifth graders talked about their Advent card project as they colored, cut and glued their cards. “Advent is getting ready for Jesus to come, and we want people to feel Jesus is also coming for them,” said fifth grader Annabelle Thies.
 
“We’re doing this to lift up their spirits,” contributed Bobby Ellis, a fourth grader.
 
“They should know God is still with them even if they are lonely or sick,” fifth grader Emma Gragen said of the seniors who will receive the Advent cards.
 
O Antiphons accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from Dec. 17-23, using ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment of Old Testament and present hopes.
 
Among the O Antiphons are O Wisdom, O Key of David, O Radiant Dawn and O Emmanuel.
 
“Jesus inspires us to believe in Him…and to treat other people the same way you’d treat yourself,” fifth grader Kateri Laflamme said.
 
These are lessons students at St. Michael School learn and live there daily, not just during Advent.
 
“I hope it inspires people to believe in Jesus and to be kind to other people,” fourth grader Jayke Glidden concluded.
 
 
Last modified onTuesday, 13 December 2016 08:53
Cori Fugere Urban

Cori Urban is a longtime writer for the communications efforts of the Diocese of Burlington and former editor of The Vermont Catholic Tribune.

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