By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
The Catholic Messenger serves as a resource for students in 10 Catholic schools in the Davenport Diocese. We asked schools to share the value of the weekly diocesan newspaper in their classroom. Here are observations from those who responded:
Lourdes Catholic School, Bettendorf
Religion teacher Megan Rutledge (grades 6-8) said she reads The Catholic Messenger and if she finds an inspiring story, “sometimes we read it as a class and discuss it. We have also participated in contests in the Messenger, such as the Flat Amos drawing earlier this year.” Third-grade teacher Jennifer Burman said, “If there are articles about other schools doing social justice projects or service projects, I like to share that with my students because it gives them an opportunity to see how other people their age are helping the community.” Principal Jennifer Alongi said the school’s main office uses the Messenger to see what other schools in the diocese are doing and to get ideas for possible implementation at Lourdes.
Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School, Burlington
Religion teacher Nita Carlson said that in the school’s religion classes “we often have the students read some of the articles and summarize them for their classmates. I usually put my students in pairs and assign them a page. They choose an article to read and then summarize for their classmates.
“I use the editorial page for my seniors. We will pick an editorial and discuss the topic and the writer’s point of view. Or we may take the topic and debate it and look at all possible positions. It makes for great discussions.”
Notre Dame Elementary School, Burlington
“Our elementary uses The Catholic Messenger every week,” Principal Bill Maupin said. “It is an important part of our curriculum and supplements the other materials we use in our classes.” Religion teacher Jon Riffel said that in his class “the students pick out an article they would like to read about. They write a few sentences about the article. Then they present a 60-second overview of the article to their classmates. It is kind of like a short book report. They are given 5 points in religion class for each presentation. Once in awhile, I choose the article for group discussion. Thanks for getting these to us.”
Prince of Peace Catholic School, Clinton
Third-grade teacher Karen Moeller said she uses The Catholic Messenger as a resource. In her classroom they have talked about how the newspaper educates Catholics and spreads the faith. They participate in some of the contests the Messenger offers.
Fifth-grade teacher Allison Schultz said she uses the newspaper as an education piece. She has shared articles with her class to start discussions. She uses the Messenger to stay up to date with what is going on in the Catholic Church, which is a valuable resource for a religion teacher. She said the children love the photos.
Sixth-through-12th grade religion teacher Jennifer Nansel responded: “If there is an article that is relevant to what we are studying I will have them read it and answer questions or we will discuss it in class. Also, we try to participate in the contests that the Messenger has. I gave students the opportunity to take a picture of Flat Amos and themselves for extra credit and to submit to the Messenger. (Editor’s note, one of her students, sophomore Emma Kitteringham, won the contest.) Also, if we have students, staff, etc., in the Messenger I try to point it out to them.”
All Saints Catholic School, Davenport
“All Saints Catholic School uses The Catholic Messenger in many ways and here are some examples,” says Principal Jeanne Von Feldt:
1. Followed the pope’s visit to the United States as the Messenger listed many of the events such as his mingling with the people from the popemobile, his historic address to Congress, and his visit to Catholic Charities in Washington D.C.
2. The Messenger has provided good information about this Extraordinary Year of Mercy, what it is, and how we can participate. The Messenger shared how Bishop Amos opened the Door of Mercy at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
3. We follow parish events, our own school news and happenings at other schools in the diocese. Whenever there is a story about All Saints in The Catholic Messenger we put the link to that story on our website and our Facebook page.
4. The Catholic Messenger covers Catholic School Week events throughout the diocese. Students like to see coverage of various events like the Blessing of the Pets, Christmas Card Contest, science fair, band and service projects.
5. Teachers find the readings for Masses for the coming week, the bishop’s schedule, and editorials and columns.
6. Eileen O’Brien, a fifth-grade teacher said, “All of this gives a clearer picture of the church, from local to diocesan to national and worldwide. We realize we are part of something big and we learn and grow from that.”
7. Our music teacher, Mike Barry, said he found the article “Singing Does Good for the Soul,” especially good and found that some of the things that the pope said were very useful. He used them with some of his classes that week.
Assumption High School, Davenport
Our religion classes reference it, of course, but we also have a current events (social studies) class that uses it as one of their regular sources,” said Principal Bridget Murphy. “Additionally, there are articles that have been discussed in Spanish class. The following is from our Spanish 3 instructor: ‘The articles on the Virgin de Guadalupe were discussed in Spanish class and also the information on Las Posadas. It helped the students understand the culture and the traditions associated with those articles.’”
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School, Davenport
Principal Julie Delaney said eighth-grade teacher Julie Valleroy uses The Catholic Messenger with her eighth-grade class as part of current events.
St. Joseph Catholic School, DeWitt
Lola Blaser, the middle school religion teacher for St. Joe’s, said: “I use The Catholic Messenger mostly for activities to see how others in our universal church fulfill their ministry. Example: when we talk about how the early church was recognized by their ‘message, community, service, worship’ we look for examples of how the universal church and our local diocese is still recognized by these characteristics today. Or we may look for examples of corporal and spiritual works of mercy being carried out.”
“Teachers and staff also receive a copy of the newspaper each week. The paper is a resource for catechesis and their own personal spiritual reflection,” Principal Sharon Roling said. “We are so blessed to have this weekly publication to share the good news of our universal, diocesan and local church.”
Holy Trinity Catholic Jr./Sr. High School, Fort Madison
Shelley Sheerin, admissions director of Holy Trinity Catholic Schools, says “the junior/senior high teachers use The Catholic Messenger for supplemental classroom work when articles are found that relate to topics of current course work. Religion teacher Jan Jacobs copies articles and hands them out for use in her eighth grade and 11th grade religion classes. The class reads the article and discusses how that correlates to what they are currently learning. She also reproduces pictures or articles about HTC students and adds them to her “Way to Go!” board in her classroom. Science teacher Gail Kunch uses The Catholic Messenger for classroom discussions when articles pertain to environmental issues. Teachers also read The Messenger to keep current on diocesan happenings, especially topics that relate to schools. Teachers also like to see what is happening in the parishes of our priests who had previously been a part of our school.
“The Marketing Office uses the Messenger regularly to promote Holy Trinity Catholic Schools by sending pictures and brief explanations of our students doing community service projects such as our religion classes doing yard work for the elderly or contributing to the local food pantry. (We also like to read about what other schools are doing to promote service within their communities!)
“We also like to send any press releases that are going to the local papers to The Catholic Messenger as well. We try to include state athletic visits; National Honor Society inductions, Honor Band and Honor Choir awards, State Speech awards and valedictorian/salutatorian information. Marketing uses the Messenger to advertise for job openings, as needed.”