STM Catholic is, above all else, devoted to the religious formation and spiritual well-being of our students. For this purpose, we provide instruction in the Catholic faith through required religion courses at every grade level. We promote active involvement in the liturgical, spiritual and sacramental life of the parish, with particular emphasis on certain essential activities, such as daily prayer, liturgical participation, sacramental preparation and participation, spiritual retreats, and support for vocations. But, perhaps most importantly, we make evident the ideals of our Catholic faith through the daily life examples of our administrators, faculty, and staff.
At STM Catholic, each day begins with shared prayer, read over the intercom by students in grades 1-8, or on special occasions, by a staff member. In addition to this, prayers are recited by students before and after lunch and at the end of the day. Prayer may be offered at any time during the school day; prayer at STM Catholic is not limited to religion class. Students recite formal prayers appropriate to their age/grade level and spontaneously make petitions for intentions they hold dear. In saying the Pledge of Allegiance, we boldly proclaim that our nation is one nation, under God.
Faculty members practice an active prayer life when we gather for early morning prayer before students arrive each day, as a beginning for all meetings, and as part of Staff Development Days.
The school community will participate in forty(40) Masses this school year, with the first Mass and last Mass of the school year being led by faculty and staff, and all others led by students in grades 1-8. Students serve as readers, offertory gift bearers, altar servers, and choir members. Students regularly visit the Adoration Chapel, and they also participate in the Worldwide Children’s Holy Hour and in prayer services for recitation of the Rosary and Stations of the Cross. Student altar servers in grades 5-8 serve at a daily parish Mass and at funerals scheduled during the school day.
Sacramental Preparation and Participation
STM Catholic supports families in the preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation through prayer, supportive instruction, and offering experiences of these Sacraments once they are received. Preparation itself occurs at home under the guidance of the church, not through the school. For information and registration for preparation of these Sacraments, please go to www.stthomasmore.org and follow the prompts for sacramental preparation.
In walking together on our journey of faith, the value of participating in spiritual retreats is recognized and emphasized. To that end, administrators devote one of our allotted Staff Development Days to a Faculty/Staff Retreat, usually held in September, to focus on individual and communal spiritual growth.
Very early in the school year, eighth graders enjoy a spiritual, team-building overnight retreat led by their middle school teachers at the YMCA of the Rockies.
Seventh graders experience their one-day retreat on campus. Their retreat focuses on how their actions can make a difference in other people’s lives and what they can do to help others and leave a footprint of themselves behind.
Sixth-grade students attend Outdoor Lab for two nights and three days in the mountains. They have an opportunity to grow closer to Christ through his creation. The John Paul II staff strives to help students grow in their faith and science knowledge through team building, scientific investigation, hiking, Mass, Adoration, confession and campfire activities. They also participate in the Archdiocesan-sponsored FOCUS 11.
Fifth graders make an annual retreat to the Mother Cabrini Shrine and enjoy a Mass with the Archbishop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver.
Support for Vocations
Throughout the school year, STM Catholic children are actively involved in an established program that recognizes and shows appreciation for our clergy, not just those seen at school and weekend Masses, but all clergy and religious who serve and/or reside within the boundaries of our parish. Created several years ago by our then Pastor, Father Andrew, this program includes school children and those children involved in parish religious education programs.
At the school, each class has “adopted” one or more clergy/religious from a list provided by the church Office of Stewardship and Communications. With this “adoption”, students pray for their adopted ones and send them cards or letters to recognize birthdays and dates of ordination/vows and to honor them during Catholic Schools Week. Some students invite their adopted one(s) to visit their classroom or to attend their class’s Mass. This year, students are showing appreciation in these ways to fourteen (14) clergy including priests and deacons. Beta Club members participate in this program as does Student Council, who has explained our program in writing and conveyed their gratitude to Archbishop Aquila, Cardinal Stafford, and even Pope Francis.
We invite families to support this program by praying as family for our clergy and religious, and, as we do at most children’s Masses, to pray for increased vocations to the priesthood and religious life.