Blessings Back to School Print this post

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic


Children across Southwest Florida flocked back to school in early August, for the students at the 15 Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, one thing was definitely different: they were blessed upon their return.

Father Matthew Grady, Administrator of Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, blesses the backpacks for students on the first day of school on Aug. 10.

On Aug. 10, Father Matthew Grady, Administrator of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, blessed the students at the parish school with Holy Water, along with their backpacks; praying that each student gains the most from the school year while accompanied by Jesus Christ. This scene was repeated at Catholic Schools across the Diocese.

Young students at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples participate in morning prayer on Aug. 11.

At Incarnation Catholic School, Father Grady has been instrumental in bringing the entire Parish Community into supporting the school. This was evidenced during a parish clean-up of the school, when more than 40 volunteer parishioners helped to get the school ready for the new year. Father Grady not only lent moral support but got involved by repainting the white fence that divides the school from the church parking lot. The parishioners were instrumental in getting the employee lounge renovation complete, adding personal touches to make it special.

Students at St. Ann Catholic School walk to their first school Mass in Naples on Aug. 11.

“This s a wonderful school that really focuses on the family, including them in every aspect of education,” Father Grady explained.

Students at St. Andrew Catholic School get assigned lockers on the first day of school in Cape Coral on Aug. 10.

To help improve his understanding of education, Father Grady recently earned a Master’s in Education from Notre Dame University in Indiana, where he has been taking classes the past several summers.

Cheerleaders welcomes students back to school at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers on Aug. 10.

“I felt it was important to have a strong knowledge about education at all levels,” he said. “I now have a firm foundation upon which to make decisions, versus coming at issues with little knowledge.”

Students at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples particpate in morning prayer on teh first day of school on Aug. 14.

Father Grady also urged the starting a new garden behind the rectory, next to the large parking lot of the school. He personally bought the seeds and supplies needed to make sure it can begin right away.

The choir performs during the first school Mass of the year at Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota on Aug. 11.

“Father Matt is wonderful,” said Incarnation Catholic School Principal Colleen Curlett. “His dedication is unsurpassed. He has a passion for education that is felt in the school and in is resonating in the parish.”

In other school news

Academy in Ave Maria now Diocesan Catholic School

The number of Catholic Schools in the Diocese grew by one in August when the Donahue Academy in the Town of Ave Maria formally opened Aug. 17. Purchased in the spring, the summer included the hiring of a new principal, renovations to the school and hiring of new staff.

St. Mary Academy receives award

St. Mary Academy in Sarasota, which focuses on educating student with special learning needs, has been selected for the 2017 Best of Sarasota Award in the Catholic Schools category by the Sarasota Award Program. Each year, the Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local entities that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community which help make the Sarasota area a great place to live, work and play.

Cape Coral School receives grant

In Cape Coral, St. Andrew Catholic School received a professional development grant from Cape Coral Community Foundation​. Foundation representative, Sally A. Jackson, awarded the school the grant in the ​amount of $22,898. These funds have been designated toward STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, art and mathematics academic focus) and technology, as well as development in the International Baccalaureate-Primary Years Program. Faculty and staff gathered for two days in May for intensive training which encompassed standards and practices, transdisciplinary themes, curriculum mapping, and an in-depth inquiry into the IB – PYP framework.  St. Andrew continues to work toward IB-PYP certification with ongoing development and best practices in education thanks to community support.

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