Working as one

Family day of service brings St. George Parish and School together

 volunteers working on lawn
Students and parents from St. George Parish and School in Seattle braved the damp, chilly weather May 4 to beautify the school grounds. Photo: Courtesy St. George School


By Kim Haub

Some families wore yard-work clothes to Mass, while others dressed up and brought flowers. All of them came to St. George Church in Seattle to honor Mary and participate in the first school-parish family day of service.

“By combing the work party with the May crowning, parishioners get to see what the kids are learning and the kids learn that they are part of a parish community, not just the school,” said Monica Wingard, principal of St. George School.

After the student-led Mass and crowning ceremony on May 4, volunteers completed projects around the parish and school campus — cleanup in the school’s computer lab and pressure-washing and weeding despite the cold, damp weather. Families also donated household goods to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Afterward, the Knights of Columbus hosted a barbecue for the volunteers.

“It is not enough if we pray separately, we must go out and be visible and work together,” said Father Felino Paulino, pastor of St. George Parish. “Our devotion to our Blessed Mother is a sign that she still bring us all together.”

Since St. George School draws students from several parishes in the area, one of the day’s objectives was bringing school families together to share a common Mass, Wingard said. “We are a family of families and taking care of our school, our home away from home, is what Mary would do,” Wingard said. “And it honors St. George, our patron saint, who protected the church and supported priests.”

The school focuses on faith, academics and service, so that students learn to walk in the footsteps of Jesus’ disciples, she said. “There are people alive today who can make a difference and you don’t have to be Bill Gates to that,” Wingard said. “Just a little elbow grease for a few hours, and you’ve made a difference.”

May 8, 2014