Local Catholic students help students, schools in Africa
By Julie Filby
Schools and parishes in the Denver Archdiocese continue to teach children the virtue of charity by supporting their international brothers and sisters.
Photo by James Baca/DCR
Third-graders at St. Thomas More School—Juliette Bruner, Quinn Filby, Samantha Guerrero, Andrea Hawbaker and Michael Dudzic—share the poster of the Tanzanian student the combined third-grade classes are sponsoring.
The student body at St. Thomas More School in Centennial has broadened their stewardship outreach by sponsoring students in Tanzania, Africa.
Photo by James Baca/DCR
Each class, kindergarten though eighth grade, is sponsoring a student in a corresponding grade level—with an annual donation of $300. The sponsored child then “moves through the grades as our students do,” explained Barbara Markulik, middle school assistant principal.
When the student starts high school, sponsorship will continue with funding from the Student Council.
The Tanzania schools, operated by the Discalced Carmelites, were introduced to STM by former parochial vicar, Carmelite Father Marlon Rodrigues, the school’s first chaplain. Father Rodrigues moved to Tanzania last November to serve as the regional vicar of Carmelite Friars in Morogoro after serving three years at St. Thomas More Parish.
“At that time 63 students were available for sponsorship,” said Markulik. “That number will eventually grow to about 400.
“This is our chance to support Father Marlon’s efforts to help impoverished children in a distant land receive an education not readily available to them.”
Support comes from the Children’s Charity program established by parish pastor, Father Andrew Kemberling. This program helps educate children of the school and parish—from age 5 to 14—about stewardship by encouraging them to tithe weekly. The account is also funded by a 10 percent tithe of profits from school fundraisers.
In addition to financial support, the STM students provide spiritual support by praying for their sponsored students regularly.
“Posters of our ‘Tanzanian classmates’ hang on our classroom walls and we will strive to communicate and develop a close relationship with them and their families,” said Markulik. “We are grateful to Father Marlon for inviting us to help him and the children he serves.”
Nativity of Our Lord, Broomfield
Students at Nativity of Our Lord School in Broomfield, along with the parish community, have formed a relationship with the Diocese of Kasana-Luweero in Uganda, Africa by working to establish a school in Kibengo, one of the poorest rural villages in the diocese.
The new school, which the community considers their sister school, will be named Nativity Secondary School.
“I’m delighted Nativity can have a substantive ongoing effort that’s in tune with what’s most vital in the Church, which is a whole and integral education of the young,” said pastor Father Michael Carvill, F.S.C.B. “We decided to rebalance our tithing fund to give a heavier weight to support the Nativity school in Kibengo.”
During Catholic Schools Week, kindergarten through eighth-grade students at Nativity School raised more than $2,500 participating in “Penny Wars,” according to principal Kathy Shadel.
“Anybody could bring in pennies,” she explained. “And when you put silver into the jar, it would be subtracted … so by the end of the week, it really was a ‘war.’
“It was a lot of money to raise in one week,” she said.
This week the school will present a check to United Children’s Fund, the nonprofit coordinating the school in Uganda. UCF was founded in 1994 by Nativity parishioner Sammuel Donelson and Holy Ghost parishioner Norman McKinney. The organization focuses on education development, AIDS prevention and education, building schools in remote areas, rural development, and working with pharmaceutical companies to provide AIDS antiviral drugs to rural areas.
Children in Nativity’s religious education programs raised $600 through “Coins for A Cause.” This program encouraged children to do chores at home for coins then donate the money. Their donations helped fund gasoline needed to haul concrete to the new school.
“They allow us to share in their journey in the Lord, by helping accomplish the goals they have for the growth of their school,” said Father Carvill. “We’re honored to be able to participate.”