Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 10, 2005
Clergy take to the books
Priests, brothers invited to St. Bernadette School 'Read-In'
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
WCR Staff Writer
Student Erin Baker, 8, gave Oblate Father Mike Dechant two thumbs up for reading a book to his Grade 3 class. "He did a very good job," he said. "He helped us learn to read."
Dechant, a member of the Oblate Youth Ministries, was one of eight priests and brothers from across the city who went to St. Bernadette Elementary School to read to the students Oct. 5. The visit was part of Read-in Week, a week that seeks to encourage and promote reading among children.
Last year the school brought in a bunch of local celebrities to read to the students. "This year we decided to have Clergy Day," explained principal Troy Davies. "We thought this would be a great link between faith and learning and to show that our clergy supports our efforts towards literacy. I think it's great for the kids to see the priests come into the classroom."
The mix included diocesan and religious priests and brothers as well as priests from the Ukrainian Eparchy.
Share a story
Dechant read Stranger in the Wood, a story of friendship, caring and curiosity, to the 16 Grade 3 students. In return, they gave him a copy of the book.
"I enjoyed this very much," the priest said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to share with the young people, to get to know them by name and share a story and connect with them in their little eyes and share a little bit of who we are with them."
Grade 3 teacher Cheryl Howorko was pleased to see her students sharing with the priest. "I think it's amazing because a lot of times they think of their heroes as hockey players and it's really nice to have someone who is in their lives and helps them towards their journey to God," she said.
Franciscan Brother Dan Gurnick read M is for Maple, a story about Canada and Canadians to the Grade 4-5-6 class. "It was good, I really enjoyed it," Gurnick said. "It's important to be a witness; probably they have never seen a Franciscan before. I'm also happy to encourage them with their reading."
"(Brother Dan) did a great job; the children really enjoyed his reading," said teacher Judy Richard. "I think is wonderful in the Catholic system to have clergy coming out and giving a different perspective."
Andrew's Loose Tooth
Grade 6 student Justina Graham was equally pleased. "It's good that he came," she said shyly. "He is really nice. He reads well and talks to you about God."
Wearing an Oilers shirt, Father Patrick Baska, the pastor of St. Alphonsus and of St. Bernadette School itself, read to the Grade 2s. He read two stories from a collection of short stories: Andrew's Loose Tooth and Amy Get Up.
"I always enjoy these opportunities. I've come a number of times before so it's always great to visit with the children and encourage the value of reading," he said. "I enjoyed their expressions as I read to them. They really get into the story with you. That's always a great treat."
Kindergarten teacher Carol Martz said Redemptorist Father Stan Liska delighted the children with his reading of You Are Special, a story about self-esteem by Max Lucado.
"This is wonderful," she said of having priests read to children. "It helps the little children understand what a priest looks like and what a priest does."