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Schools give thanks with services, donations

Kindergartner Adam Sargent, dressed as a pilgrim, performs a song with his class at Faith Christian Beginner School in Geneva.
Kindergartner Adam Sargent, dressed as a pilgrim, performs a song with his class at Faith Christian Beginner School in Geneva.

Friends, family and God are among the things kindergartners at St. Patrick Catholic School in St. Charles are thankful for this year.

Cooper Pizarski, 5, said he’s thankful for this brother. Jack Collins, also 5, said he was thankful for all of his clothing. Older students Isabel Shaw, 14, Fiona Flood, 12, and Colleen Molloy, 13, all said they’re most thankful for their family and friends.

“I’m thankful for all of God’s gifts,” kindergartner Norah Quinn said.

The students of St. Patrick Catholic School celebrated their annual Thanksgiving Mass on Tuesday before their holiday break. It provided an opportunity to recognize the holiday, which is today.

The Mass took the place of the regular Friday morning Mass, but Principal Joseph Battisto said it carries a more thankful theme.

“In the times we live in, it’s important that we do focus on what we’re thankful for instead of what we need – focus on the all the good things God has provided for us,” he said.

The Thanksgiving tradition also came alive at Faith Christian Academy in Geneva last week when Lisa Haboush’s kindergarten class performed a short play and made a dinner table staple.

Haboush said her students usually don pilgrim hats and Native American headgear for the annual Thanksgiving celebration that she has put on for the past 14 years. Part of that celebration is making butter.

“There’s not time for them to do a big mock feast, but it’s fun for them to see how heavy cream turns into butter,” she said. “It gets better almost every year.”

Students carried on their tradition at St. Patrick Catholic School by donating nonperishable foods. Before the holiday, children at St. Patrick Preschool helped sort food donated to the St. Patrick Food Pantry.

During the hourlong Mass on Tuesday, students in the school’s Positive People Group – an organization that stresses treating others with respect – carried nonperishable foods to the front of the church and placed them in baskets. Before giving communion, Father Moises Apostol preached about what it means to be thankful.

His sermon centered on his trip to a village in the Manila area, which housed about 4,000 people with leprosy. Apostol said the people there, some of whom were missing ears, fingers and noses because of the disease, were socially disadvantaged because many people were too afraid to visit for fear of contracting leprosy.

He said they were grateful they still could thank God they were alive.

“Many were just happy that we visited and that we cared for them,” he said. “ ... We’re lucky and blessed that we are in the best of health and yet are invited to care for others who are socially and economically disadvantaged.”

Apostol concluded his sermon with a story about a farmer who had found an eagle egg and added it to a nest of chicken eggs before it hatched. He said when the eagle egg hatched, the eagle picked up the same characteristics of the chickens – it scratched at the ground and didn’t really know how to fly.

When the eagle saw another eagle flying in the sky one day, it realized it could fly all along.

Apostol said that eagle has the same potential everyone else has. But, like the eagle, some people may not realize it.

“Are you willing to be better? You should be. Are you grateful for God? You should be,” he said. “God created us better than ordinary.”

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