LEIPSIC — More than 500 students are celebrating Catholic Schools Week in Putnam County this week and participated in the day Wednesday with Mass, prayer and song.
Students grades kindergarten through eighth grade from SS. Peter & Paul School, Ottawa, Leipsic St. Mary school and Columbus Grove St. Anthony school attended an event at St. Mary in Leipsic. Students and teachers met in the chapel for Mass, song and prayer.
The chapel service was led by Father Steven Schroeder, of St. Mary Church, and Father Matt Jozefiak, of SS. Peter & Paul.
“This week is to promote Catholic education and is the coming together to help the students understand the Catholic faith is bigger than one group,” Schroeder said. He educated students on the Catholic faith and told them the word “Catholic” means universal and includes everyone in the church who wants to be a member.
He told the students the 10 commandments tell how to live their lives, and each person who attended Mass took communion.
Jozefiak said all of the schools are members of the same faith that is universal and brings them together.
“We all love Jesus, try to follow him and obey the commandments and learn about him in our Catholic schools,” Jozefiak said.
The students took turns praying for world leaders, the sick and suffering and for students and staff who are of the Catholic faith.
Kylee Schroeder, St. Mary sixth grader, said it has been fun celebrating the week.
“We have gotten to dress up in different things like camouflage, spirit wear and dressing in the past,” Schroeder said.
The Mass ended with the students singing “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love,” and a reading of the Lord’s Prayer.
Scott Knueven, St. Mary general music teacher, led the music for the Mass and was once a student at the school.
“From family to family, being Catholic is a big deal to us to practice the faith,” Knueven said.
Michelle Knippen, St. Mary principal, said the week brings the three parishes in the Putnam County area together.
“We want everyone to have fellowship, fun and prayer and get to know other people from the area and share in our faith,” Knippen said.
Following the Mass, students stood in the shape of a cross in the chapel to take a photo and played bingo and enjoyed lunch.
Connie Niese, SS. Peter & Paul principal, said the week gives the schools a week to showcase who they are.
“We can show what we do as a school by celebrating our faith and our faith makes us who we are and how we grow,” Niese said.
She said the week allows students to meet new friends and rekindle old friendships.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.