St. Joseph’s Academy gathered as a community on January 18 to celebrate the Respect Life Mass. Father Jason Palermo, pastor of St. Joseph Church in French Settlement and St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Maurepas, was the presider for the Eucharistic celebration in the Academy Student Center.
Senior Andrea Matus welcomed the large crowd. “We gather today to celebrate our good and gracious God’s precious gift of life and to recognize our call to respect the dignity of life in its totality,” she said.
Freshman Camila Cuadra read from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. Junior Nicole Mann and senior Ploy Sanguanruang led the prayers of the faithful.
Aimee Cronan directed the Liturgy Choir. Juniors Caroline Feduccia and Annie Blanchard served as cantors. They were joined by freshman Kelsey Brown and senior Aliya Trapp for a special vocal performance. Musical accompanists were Michael McDowell, piano; Stephen Barrios, percussion; and Hugo Andricain, guitar.
Following mass, Principal Stacia Andricain reflected on our call as Christians to accept and protect life from conception to the moment of natural death. “Here at St. Joseph’s Academy, we strive to spread the gospel of life, the gospel of Jesus,” she said. “Oftentimes, when people think of pro-life, the topic of abortion is brought to mind. While it is a significant issue for the pro-life movement, we must remember that ‘respect life’ goes far beyond the womb. Respecting life includes such issues as genetic engineering, adoption, immigration, human trafficking, capital punishment, euthanasia, care for the elderly and more. All of these are issues that the Sisters of St. Joseph hold dear as they challenge us to work for justice alongside them.”
Andricain asked the assembly to remember in prayer the 36 SJA students who are in Washington, D.C., to participate in the March for Life. She also recognized the students who organized and hosted the second SJA Justice for All Ball, which provided the opportunity for young people with special needs to experience the joy of a high school dance.
She encouraged students to participate in the upcoming annual Habitat for Humanity Youth Build and told them to look forward to the Community Builders for Peace group’s sponsorship of the Week of the Woman February 25-March 1.
Senior Aliya Trapp closed the gathering with the singing of the alma mater.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine