Sharing our faith through service to others is a common thread woven into every area of the educational experience at St. Thomas the Apostle. It begins with the study of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Option for the Poor and Vulnerable; The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; and Care of God’s Creation.
Teachers guide students to reflect on these themes as they study all subject areas. For instance, during novel studies students may be asked to evaluate decisions made by characters in the book and determine whether they reflect Catholic Social Teaching themes such as Solidarity. In science class, students learn about the Earth’s fragile eco-systems, and discuss the need to Care for God’s Creation.
Students quickly make connections between these themes and the personal choices they make in their daily lives. With a little direction and lots of creativity, they discover how they can positively impact the world around them in little and big ways:
Upper school students enjoy sharing a book with younger students who are just learning to read as an opportunity to Call to Family, Community and Participation; Students make monthly visits to a local nursing home as a way to honor the Life and Dignity of the Human Person; Annual coat drives and monthly food drives benefiting those in need throughout the Hartford area empower students to give Option to the Poor and Vulnerable; Weekly recycling of shredded paper and food scraps from the cafeteria contributes to the compost bin in our organic garden, demonstrating our commitment to Care for God’s Creation; The ongoing support and pen pal communication with our friends in Masooli, Uganda allows students to experience Solidarity with children their own age living across the globe.
These projects help students explore the Catholic traditions of social justice as we guide them to become compassionate and active citizens in a global society.