Practicing Our Faith
At the core of the Sisters of Saint Joseph's mission is the “Neighbor with Neighbor, and Neighbor with God” philosophy. We provide many opportunities for our students and families to grow in their relationship with God, develop a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, and practice the “Neighbor with Neighbor, and Neighbor with God” way of life.
In addition to our daily religion class, we at VME participate in the following:
Our students attend Mass once a month on campus as a school (grades K-8). Holy days of obligation are observed, in addition to our monthly offerings.
Each grade level takes turns planning and assisting with the carrying out of the Mass. Students attend with their Big/Little buddies, sing contemporary praise songs (led by our eighth grade cantors), and receive meaningful and insightful messages to carry out in their own lives from visiting pastors and priests. We take great pride in living the call to be catholic (universal), and therefore nurture an ecumenical environment at Mass by calling everyone forward during communion. Our Catholic students that have received the sacrament of First Holy Communion through their parish come forward and accept the Eucharist, while our younger students and non-Catholic brothers and sisters (students and faculty alike) come forward and receive a lovely blessing from the Eucharistic Minister or the Priest (usually by placing a hand on the child's shoulder and repeating a common blessing like, "May God bless you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."). We believe this is the most appropriate way to respect the many faiths of our students/faculty, and yet still come together as a communion of believers.
Morning mass is also offered every Wednesday before school. Families, friends, students and neighbors are all invited to join us at 7:30am in the chapel.
The rosary is said each Tuesday at 7:30am in the chapel. Please join us in praying to our namesake!
Praise and Worship
When a leader is available, glorious, upbeat music fills our chapel before school. Praise & Worship begins at 7:30am on Friday mornings, and all are welcome to join us in singing!
Each classroom has a designated spot for students to pray, read the Bible, and spend time in reflection on their faith. These corners offer tools such as a Bible, a crucifix, a rosary, and candle.
Various retreats are offered at all grade levels (K-8) throughout the year and provide a special time out of our regular academic schedule to focus on our spirituality.
Living Stations of the Cross
During the Lenten season, our students in grades 2-8 study and prepare for the acting out of the Stations of the Cross (the 14 scriptural events that occurred from the beginning to the end of Jesus' crucifixion). The students work with their teachers to bring these stations to life in a living prayer service usually held on Holy Thursday here at the school for students and families to attend. Meditating and reflecting on the Stations of the Cross has become a longstanding Catholic tradition that we believe is very powerful and effective in our faith journey as Christians.
Classes have access to the second floor chapel for further development of faith and practices learned in daily religion class. Prayer services, praise songs, and group discussions all have regular homes in our chapel. It is also open for personal prayer time for our VME family.
Buidling Virtue - Defending Love
With the help of the Erie Diocese and the office of Natural Family Planning and Chastity we are able to provide a short introductory program for our students and parents in regards to respecting the human body and the beautiful gift it is from God. The lessons for this program are provided below for parents, so they can support the efforts of the school in its efforts to empower young people to respect their body and those of others as well.
Villa Maria Elementary has a proud history of giving to the community. Some of the activities through which we've been involved include: