The Eucharist is, as Vatican II states, "the source and summit of Catholic life." As a Eucharistic people, we celebrate this important Sacrament as a faith community at least once a month and on every Holy Day of Obligation that falls on a school day. In addition to these celebrations, liturgical services are held during religion classes on a rotating basis throughout the school year. Finally, the Eucharist is always reserved in our chapel for adoration and meditation throughout the day.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered several times throughout the year. There are all school celebrations during Advent and Lent, as well as opportunities during retreat experiences.
There are also several prayer services that are held at various times during the year. Our Advent Prayer Service ties into our Adopt-A-Family program and is a nice send off for Christmas Break. A prayer service is also held before Easter Break, which sometimes includes a Living Stations of the Cross. Prayer is an important part of the STVM community and we do it often.
Students are encouraged to take part in this important ministries of the Church.
Our Eucharistic Ministers are called to carry out the special and important ministry of distributing the body and blood of our Risen Lord to their brothers and sisters in our faith community. They have undergone specific training and participate in our all-school masses as well as our class masses.
Our Lectors are trained to proclaim the Word of God to our community at our Masses and Prayer Services.
Our Altar Servers assist the priest at our Mass celebrations.
Peer ministers at STVM are juniors and seniors who have responded to God's call of service to others by offering that service to their peers within our faith community. They begin the year by participating on our Big Sib program. Each Peer minister is paired with an incoming freshman to welcome them to our school and to help ease their transition from grade school to high school. This initial contact with members of our faith community has resulted in many life-long friendships for our freshmen.
Peer ministers also help plan and put on our Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Day of Reflection retreats. They can also assume leadership roles in our Annual canned food drive, our Adopt-a-Family program, and other service opportunities.
Our retreat program at STVM is designed to give our students the important experience of God necessary for a solid and fruitful spiritual formation in Catholic Christianity. The themes of each retreat address important and specific topics in adolescent spiritual formation, such as "Who am I in the eyes of God?", and sexual morality.
We offer retreats for each grade level that are day-long, mandatory experiences led by our Peer Ministers. The freshmen day of reflection focuses on being confident in who you are and growing in faith at the school. The sophomore day centers on issues of self-esteem, friendship, and relationships. The junior day is about justice and service. The senior day helps them see how to take their faith with them after high school.
The junior retreat is an optional, overnight experience at Loyola of the Lakes Retreat House.Â This retreat helps students to take a closer look at God’s involvement in their lives and how they can take more responsibility for their faith life.
The Senior retreat is our Kairos retreat which is explained in detail under another tab.
Kairos is a retreat for our seniors grounded in Christian incarnation theology. It is an experience of Christian community, with a series of talks given by peers and adults. God's love is visible and enfleshed. It was so in the person of Jesus, the Son of God. We find it so in one another. The mission of the Kairos Retreat experience is to create an environment away, a moment in "God's time", in which participants may be awakened to the ever-present love of God and come to an awareness of "God in all things."
The Kairos experience attempts to make real this relationship through peer ministry, Christian leadership, support, and community. The talks on Kairos are grounded on and centered around the revelation of God's love to us, through all people and experiences of our lives. It is an experience of Christian community!
Prayer and the sacraments are an essential part, as well as the participants' involvement in discussions and various exercises and the program lasts three and a half days. It is not a cure of itself, but a deepening experience in one's Christian life. The retreatant will not necessarily leave the program with a lot of answers, but hopefully will have a greater awareness of herself/himself, others, and the Lord. GOALS of the Kairos program are:
- For students to grow in relationship with God; a God they will meet in the people of their everyday and in life's ups and downs;
- For students to see the deep connection between their own life's journey, the call to Justice and the unconditional love of their God;
- To build a sense of community among students;
- To enable students to hear significant life stories that lead them to reflect upon their own lives;
- For students to grow in appreciation of their own self-worth;
- For students to be better able to see the difficult times of life in balance and perspective and as a possibility/opportunity for personal growth.
Irish Athletes for Christ