Our St. Joan of Arc School

by Rev. Gabriel Baltes, O.S.B.  |  07/07/2024  |  A Message from Our Pastor

Dear Parishioners,

Last week our school principal (Mrs. Picchione), vice principal (Mrs. Barenbrugge), and I met for our annual review of the past school year. This meeting is designed to recognize the successes and challenges of the past year, and then suggest changes that might improve the upcoming year.

One of the many and, perhaps the most public success of the 2023/24 school years was our reception of the National Blue Ribbon Award. We also recognized certain challenges that will be addressed. But one of the topics we discussed at great length was how we might deepen our Catholic Identity as an elementary and Jr. High school. Various suggestions were proposed that will be given further exploration. My purpose in writing this article is to share with our parishioners what our school already does to promote Catholic identity. Since the school is a longstanding apostolate of our parish which we hope to always perpetuate, I believe it is essential for the members of our faith community to know and celebrate the features of our Catholic tradition that are formative of our students. The following is a list of most of them.

Weekly celebrations of the Eucharist and all Holy Days of Obligation at which the students:

† Serve at the altar

† Proclaim Scriptures and Universal Prayers

† Lead music as choir members, cantors, and instrumentalists

† Bring forward non-perishable food items for the local food pantry

† Weekly rehearsals for the liturgical choir

† Weekly individual preparation with the student lectors

† Weekly liturgical music rehearsals with the entire student body on Friday afternoon followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

† Blessing of the school and individual classrooms at the beginning of each school year

† Blessing of Throats for St. Blasé Day

† Reception of Ashes on Ash Wednesday

† All Saints’ Day Word Service with the entire student body at which the First Graders dress as a particular saint and offer a brief description of him/her

† Lenten Presentation of Living Stations of the Cross by the eighth graders at which the entire student body is present with parents invited

† May Crowning of an image of the Mother of God during a Word Service followed by Rosary at which the entire student body is present with parents invited

† Veterans’ Day Prayer Service near November 11 † Christmas music concert † All Day adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on or near Jan. 22, -- National Day of Penance and Prayer for greater respect for human life

† Entrusting each classroom to a saint

† Annual visit of appreciation by the eighth graders to the Lisle Police Station on or near Sept. 29, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of police officers

† Annual tour of St. Procopius Abbey by 8th Graders on March 21, the Solemnity of St. Benedict

† Tour of the Holocaust Museum in Skokie by 8th Graders

† The incorporation of 2nd Grade First communicants in Corpus Christi procession † Classroom visits by the pastor during Advent and Lent/Easter

† Presentation of the Benedictine Medal to all 8th Graders near the time of graduation

† End of year public recognition of student liturgical ministers

† Baccalaureate Mass with parents and student body

† 8th Grade graduation in context of Word Service

† Religious artwork placed throughout the school building

Daily prayer for the entire student body:

  • Beginning of day – Morning Offering
  • Noon -- Angelus
  • End of day – Act of Contrition

The celebration of the Sacraments of:

  • Penance and First Communion for second graders
  • Confirmation for eighth graders

† Religion Class for each grade five days a week

† Annual 6 hours of catechesis provided for all teachers and aids

I know our parishioners take great pride in St. Joan of Arc School. Unlike many schools, ours is not located in the midst of a bustling city or situated in a prominent public arena. Rather, our school is found in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by the homes of families, many of which are members of St. Joan of Arc Parish. This gives us a quaint remote- ness that reinforces the value of family life which we hope is always reflected in our school. Nestled among the houses and other public buildings in the historic Village of Lisle, our goal is to always cherish the Catholic tradition that has shaped countless lives and to bring forth a vision for the future that ennobles both the church and the world.