Prayer and charity define Lenten traditions at Cardinal Gibbons and help us prepare for Easter. Those traditions range from quiet reflection, food drives, and a Lenten study series, to spiritual renewal, a Stations of the Cross Prayer Service, and both a family day and an alumni day of service.
Educators and students have many opportunities for spiritual renewal. Among them is sharing in morning Mass in the chapel. And a group of students and educators will make our annual pilgrimage to Italy (now in its 25th year) and attend Easter Sunday Mass with Pope Francis
Our school community also acted in service to others and recognized in them the face of Jesus Christ. For example, students, at the start of Lent each year, bring in cans of food that are donated to Catholic Charities.
Another example is the more than 400 members of the Gibbons community who joined together on April 13th for a day of service and fellowship. During the morning, the Cardinal Family Association worked with 13 service groups throughout the Triangle to put together the Fifth Annual Gibbons Gathers Family Service Day. Starting at 8:00 a.m. community members participated in many different service opportunities - from sorting and processing clothing for Note in the Pocket to donating blood and working at the NC Food Bank.
At night, families enjoyed an evening of fellowship and celebrated the Gibbons parent community by attending the Spring Social.
A week earlier, 17 alumni, representing graduation years 1980 to 2018, spent several hours that April 6th morning hammering nails, sawing wood, and installing windows to ready two homes for deserving families.
Our students also continued the annual tradition of the Penny Challenge, with its focus on giving. This year, the challenge raised $23,000 which will be donated to local, regional, and national charities, said Theology Educator Pat Gallagher who also is the moderator of the Lancer Club, which sponsors the Penny Challenge.
For years, members of the Theology Department have given Easter baskets to educators’ children and grandchildren. This year, 120 baskets were distributed.
Also, for four Wednesday evenings in Lent Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82 and Theology Educator Patrick Dmytriw led a Lenten reflection series for Gibbons parents that took participants on a contemplative and scholarly journey through the season. The goal? Those who attended the series would find spiritual nourishment… said Meyerl.
And every Wednesday morning during Lent, Theology Educator Mark DeLaRosa led his as well as other theology students in a Stations of the Cross Prayer Service, in the Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden. The garden is dedicated in loving memory of Brandon James Allen and Thomas Austin Cope, Class of 2009. This year the garden is graced with 14 newly renovated stations of the cross.
On the last Wednesday before Easter, students prayed the Stations of the Cross through their movements. The dramatizations took place during three periods for the school community.
Of the prayer service, DeLaRosa says: “I do not know a better way to prepare our hearts for Holy Week…which is even more special this year because of the new stations of the cross.”
Kristina Frewerd ’21 added: This year the Stations have changed my viewpoint of Easter because I knew that they were made with love and they were blessed! I also know that Jesus is with me all the time when we pray with them… I hope the Stations inspire others to draw closer to Christ! Just like they have for me!
The Cardinal Gibbons school community wishes you a blessed and joyful Easter.