Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Dyker Heights School Tops All in Mission Aid (with slideshow)

For the sixth year in a row, St. Bernadette’s School in Dyker Heights has raised more money for the missions around the world than any other school in the diocese. The students were honored for their efforts at a World Mission Sunday ceremony at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn. (See photos in centerfold.)

Last year, St. Bernadette’s donated $5,528 to the diocese’s Propagation of the Faith Office that sends assistance to the foreign missions.

St. Sebastian’s School, Woodside, was not far behind, providing $5,438 and earning top honors among Queens schools.

“Our student body, their parents and our faculty are very generous when it comes to the missions,” says Sister Joan DiRienzo, M.P.F., principal of St. Bernadette.

She said that students at the Brooklyn school have friendly competition among the classes to see who can raise the most money each month. The top class each month gets to display the school’s mission banner outside its classroom in recognition of its efforts.

Some classes sell snacks for the missions. Also, the Student Council’s Mission Committee sponsored a cutest pet contest that brought in revenue.

“There’s always been an interest in the missions in our school,” says Sister Joan, whose congregation – the Religious Sisters Filippini – sponsors missions in India, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Albania and Brazil.

Sister Joan says the plaques presented to the students by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio are proudly hanging in the school and that there was great enthusiasm and excitement on Monday when the victors returned home with their awards. About 30 students attended the awards liturgy at St. James Cathedral-Basilica.

Bishop DiMarzio, who celebrated the liturgy and preached, urged the boys and girls to pray for the missions as did St. Therese of Lisieux, the patroness of the missions.

“She never went to the missions,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “But she prayed for the missions.

“Few of us will ever get to go to the missions, but through our prayers we participate in the missionary life of the Church.”

The bishop pointed out that about 35 Christian missionaries around the world are martyred each year for their beliefs. He told the students that they may not be called to offer their lives for the faith, but they certainly should remember to offer their prayers for those who do.

Other schools that were honored for helping the missions included:

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sunset Park; St. Stanislaus Kostka, Greenpoint; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dyker Heights; Holy Family, Fresh Meadows; St. Matthias, Ridgewood; and St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor.

Also recognized were the Newman Club from Long Island University, which has consistently helped a mission project in Africa; and the religious education programs at St. Anselm’s, Bay Ridge; Our Lady of Sorrows, Corona; St. Brigid, Bushwick; and St. Pius X, Rosedale.

Deacon Louis Panico, who coordinated the ceremony in place of Msgr. Terrence Mulkerin, diocesan director of the Propagation of the Faith who is recovering from a fall, said that schools were honored according to the amount of money raised and according to the school’s enrollment.

Share this article with a friend.