St. Joseph’s Academy gathered as a school community on February 11 to celebrate the annual Unity Mass. Father Jason Palermo, pastor of St. Joseph in French Settlement and St. Stephen in Maurepas, was the presider. The Eucharistic celebration was held in the Academy Student Center.
Sophomore Olivia Mack welcomed the large crowd. “The central charism of the Congregation of St. Joseph is ‘That All May Be One,’” she said. “This charism does not express a desire to make everyone the same; rather, it is about celebrating the many gifts we have in our diversity and bringing all of those gifts together in serving the dear neighbor. Our common bond is that we are all children of God, equally loved by our Creator and deserving of equal love from one another.”
Junior Jane Laville read from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.
Prayers of the faithful were offered in languages representative of the SJA community. Participating students and the languages spoken were senior Melanie Hasenkampt, English; junior Tiffany Tran, Vietnamese; senior Mary Claire Saia, French; sophomore Daniela Latil, Spanish; senior Shreya Reshamwala, Latin; senior A’ine Lusker, Tagalog; senior Bella Moushleb, Arabic; senior Jolan Taylor, Hungarian; and junior Bronley Whittman, German.
Katie Potts and Aimee Cronan directed the Liturgy Choir. Senior Sarah Gordon and junior Avery Boudreaux served as cantors. Featured vocalists were seniors Emma Durnin, Nicole Mann and Anna Leyrer; juniors Emma Grace Lambert and Christin Ransome; and sophomores Ava Dunn and Alana Buckley.
Percussionists were senior Rachel Sanchez; juniors Peyton Cerise and Zoe Vicari; sophomore Delaney Poiencot; and freshmen Susana Cuadra, Caroline Cashio, Amelia Fargason and Isabelle Gruner. Aimee Wiles played the piano.
Following mass, Campus Minister Alise Alexander described the Campus Ministry-sponsored activities which will take place at SJA during Lent.
Principal Stacia Andricain explained that the Sisters’ charism, That All May Be One, is an expression of the reality that we are made in the image and likeness of our Creator. “We are one, not in spite of our differences but because of them in that we each provide what the other needs by sharing our unique gifts,” she said. “We are one human family connected through the love of God. Life may take us in separate directions, but that does not break our connection.”
She said that the Congregation’s three sponsored schools – SJA, St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland and Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, Illinois – share the same focus to teach and live the charism. She said that a picture of the SJA-Baton Rouge campus hangs in the library at Nazareth Academy. “We are present on their campus as well as in their hearts and minds,” she said. “We will be returning the gesture” by hanging pictures of our two sister schools in the library.
Senior Lea Arcemont closed the gathering by leading the singing of the alma mater.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine