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Above: Visual Arts teacher, Mrs. Dunham and Religion teacher, Mrs. Slifka announce 8th graders’ newest social justice project centered on the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi and benefiting residents of the St. Francis Home in Richmond (and some furry, four-legged members of the local animal kingdom too!). Students have created social media posts, contributed to church bulletin inserts and starred in videos to encourage school-wide engagement and to elicit support from the community.

To See

When you hear the phrase, “to see and be seen,” you might think about dressing up for a big social event, priming yourself for some serious people watching and taking selfies to prove you were there. But if we take this phrase at face-value it becomes much more profound, requiring us to shift our thoughts from selfies to acts of selflessness. In this spirit, 8th grade students at Saint Mary’s Catholic School have developed a campaign inspired by the life and work of St. Francis of Assisi. Their project, centered on Catholic social teaching, has two distinct goals:

To see all of God’s creations as valuable, precious gifts. From people to pets, they will be raising awareness and collecting donations for the St. Francis Home and for animals in need in greater Richmond.

To Be Seen

To allow the residents and employees of the St. Francis Home in Richmond to be seen by members of our Saint Mary’s School and Parish community. Although St. Francis Home was founded as a social ministry by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in 1973, many people are not aware of its mission or the people it serves.

Throughout the week of October 4th, our school will be celebrating the Feast Day of St. Francis and highlighting the work our students have completed in religion class. Be sure to follow along on social media and in the Friday Flash!

Ways to Support our Students’ Work

(SEE RESULTS IN UPDATE SECTION BELOW!)

Students, families and members of the St. Mary’s parish community are invited to attend the annual Blessing of the Pets event at St. Mary’s Church on Sunday, October 3 at 2pm where 8th graders will be collecting donated items on behalf of local animal welfare organizations. Needed items include pet store gift cards, canned dog/cat/kitten food, Hill’s adult cat or kitten food, dog/cat treats, clean towels, bleach, paper towels, clay cat litter and scoops, handheld brooms/dustpans, 13 or 33 gallons trash bags and quart-sized or gallon-sized plastic storage bags.

Can’t make it to the event on Sunday? No problem! On Monday, October 4, you can make a donation to St. Mary’s fundraising page in support of the St. Francis Home’s Day of Giving. Students can also continue to bring in pet food/supplies throughout the week (Oct. 4 – Oct. 8).

UPDATE: 15 GENEROUS DONORS HELPED SAINT MARY’S EXCEED OUR $500 GOAL BY RAISING $685 TOWARDS A TOTAL OF $84,521 RAISED IN SUPPORT OF SAINT FRANCIS HOME IN RICHMOND. THANK YOU!

To learn more about our student’s social justice project, please contact our Middle School Religion Teacher, Mrs. Slifka or Assistant Principal, Mary Jordan.

For information on the St. Francis Home and it’s October 4th Giving Day, please continue reading below or contact their Director of Development, Christy Heinen, at (804) 237-5602 or cheinen@SaintFrancisHome.org.

Can I make a monetary gift by mail or phone?

Yes. However, due to the tight period of Giving Day, only gifts made online, by phone, or in response to Giving Day mailings count toward overall totals and competitions. If you would like to make a monetary gift to the St. Francis Home by phone on October 4, please call (804) 237-5602.

Is my Giving Day contribution tax deductible?

Yes, your monetary gift to St. Francis Home is entirely tax deductible. For donations made online, you will receive an email confirmation that may serve as your receipt for tax purposes.

Above: Promotional image created by 8th grader, Ella C.
Virtual Poster created by Anna R.
Poster hanging in Elementary School hallway to promote next week’s campaign.
Mrs. Slifka showcases handmade cards made to brighten the day of residents and staff at St. Francis Home.