December 6, 2011
Amarillo—There are many facets to the Christmas season; the most important thing about Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
The nine religion classes at St. Joseph’s School decided to participate in Operation Christmas Child to honor the birth of the Savior at Christmas time, according to Sister Mary Ana Steele, OSF, who teaches religion at St. Joseph’s.
“Operation Christmas Child is one of the projects developed by Samaritan’s Purse, a nondemoninational evangelical Christmas organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world,” she said. “Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine, with the purpose of sharing God’s love through Jesus Christ.
“The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus.”
Sister Mary Ana approached principal Angi Seidenberger about participating in the project and after receiving approval, had students in the Montessori preschool, two traditional Pre-K classes and Kindergarten through fifth grade involved in the project, which took place at the school Nov. 14-21.
“Children helping other children is powerful evangelization,” said Sister Mary Ana. “Helping young students to discover that things they take for granted daily are often unknown to children in third world countries is invaluable in their faith formation. Anything that takes the focus from self and centers on another helps us to fulfill the mandate of our Lord.”
What were the goals of the project?
“The main goal was to prepare for the Advent season by sharing something of ourselves with children less fortunate during the Christmas season,” Sister Mary Ana said. “This could be done by simply building shoeboxes full of fun and useful items, plus the message of the Gospel.
“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students for this project. They were shown videos of shoebox packing parties and of children opening these boxes last Christmas. The visual impact of seeing children of all ages taking delight in a small box full of ordinary items was remarkable. Each child was then asked to bring one item for the age and gender of a child assigned to their classroom. Many families sent bags and bags of new items that are fun and practical. We ended up with 20 bulging boxes.”