Diocesan schools ready for yearlong celebration

by Joy Batteh-Freiha

Schools in the Diocese of St. Augustine are taking a quote from Saint Augustine’s book, Confessions, and are blazing through the diocese with their participation in the 450th anniversary of the founding of the City of St. Augustine and the first parish.

Rhonda Rose, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School stands with students from her school who are ready to pass on the Cross and Treasure Box to the kids of St. Michael Catholic School in Jacksonville. (Photo by Woody Huband)

“In his book, Saint Augustine wrote, ‘You touch me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours,’” said Stephanie Chinault , principal of Christ the King Catholic School in Jacksonville, and lead person for the diocesan school celebration. “This quote sets our theme for the diocesan schools’ yearlong 450th anniversary celebration. The symbolism of fire and treasure represents the gift of faith and knowledge that our students receive in Catholic schools.”

Using the theme of fire and treasure, each school in the diocese – beginning with the oldest and ending with the newest – will have the opportunity and privilege of hosting the Evangelization cross, a candle (representing fire) and a treasure box for one week.

Photo by Woody Huband

Each school is asked to start their host week with a devotional ceremony or Mass, light the candle or torch, and then include in the treasure box, a picture or symbol that represents the school’s mission.

After the host school’s week, the designated school ambassadors and chaperones will accompany the torch and treasure box to the next school in chronological order.

Established 139 years ago, St. Joseph Academy in St. Augustine was the first school in the diocese to host the candle/torch and treasure box on Aug. 18.

In addition to the traveling candle and treasure box, a digital presentation of each school in the diocese and a book will be created, and presented to Bishop Felipe J. Estévez in April at a ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.