Our Mother Mary Overlooks the Marianist Cross
Article by Taylor Catalano, Class of 2015
As students of Kellenberg Memorial High School return from their summer vacations and get back into their daily school routines, things can get overwhelming. Because students are caught up in their schoolwork, sports, and activities, they tend to forget about God and their faith. Thankfully, Kellenberg offers plenty of opportunities that take students’ minds off of their schoolwork for a little while and give them quality time with God. Before the start of every period, everyone in the class, including the teachers, pray. This enables the students to take a moment to appreciate God before the start of each class. There is also an option to go to chapel before every lunch period.
The structure of Kellenberg Memorial High School is one that emphasizes the presence of Jesus in our everyday lives. The first thing that I see in the morning when I get off the bus and arrive at school is a shrine of the Holy Family. This shrine shows Jesus as a teenager with his parents, Mary and Joseph. It reminds me that He wasn’t always preaching and recognized as the Messiah. He was an ordinary child and grew up just like all of us. This shrine challenges me to be like Christ each day as a student. On my way to lunch, I stop and see the wood mosaic in the Auditorium of Jesus the Teacher. He is preaching to children just like the teachers of Kellenberg are teaching the students about the faith and about God. The last item I see each day is Jesus on the Cross outside of the school in the parking lot. I pray before I leave Kellenberg Memorial each day that I have faith like Jesus, whatever the rest of the day might bring. Not only does He carry the wooden cross up Cavalry, but He also carried a heavy cross, or burden, of our sins. He could have stopped His suffering at any moment, but He didn’t because He knew that He must go through all of the pain in order for our sins to be forgiven. A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is on the outside facade of the school directly across from the Cross. It is as if she is looking down on her Son and watching Him die for us. When all of the students gathered around the Cross, just two weeks ago, the statue of Mary was standing above them, watching over them and caring for them as their Mother.
In order to rededicate this Cross, Kellenberg Memorial organized a ceremony on September 14th called the Triumph of the Cross. This event welcomes everyone, including all of the Kellenberg students, teachers, family, friends, and even the students of St. Martin de Porres Marianist School. Everyone was given a cross to wear around their neck during the ceremony. Each year, our chaplain, Father Thomas Cardone, S.M., blesses the crosses, and I keep them each year as a reminder of this event. This year was my fifth year attending the Triumph of the Cross because I have been a member of the Kellenberg family since I was in the sixth grade. When I attended this ceremony while in the Latin School, I did not initially feel the impact that it had on my faith. As I got older and my faith got stronger, I started to really absorb what was being said. This year, Father Tom challenged us to get involved in the Church’s Year of Faith. He spoke about the different ways that we can become more active in our faith life and even bring others closer to the faith. As a new member of Parish Religion Education Program, an organization run by Kellenberg Memorial that asks students from tenth to twelfth grade to teach religion to kids from as young as kindergarten, I was really moved by this. I knew that the Year of Faith applied to me, and it motivated me to become the best religion teacher that I can be. The whole idea of the Year of Faith is to bring yourself and others closer to Jesus, and that’s what I have been called to do. I must take the examples of my teachers, and in turn, enliven the faith of the surrounding youth.
One of the many things that Kellenberg Memorial has taught me is that being Catholic isn’t just about going to Church. It is also about teaching others about the faith and bringing them closer to Christ. When Pope Benedict XVI declared this year the Year of Faith, he wanted people to get excited about God. Even though it is sometimes hard for us to be good Catholics, we must remember that Jesus gave up everything for us and we must do all we can do to try and repay him for His sacrifice. I remember that each day at Kellenberg when I look at the Cross, and will do my best to be a model of faith to my religion students!