Aquinas College Center for Catholic Education releases resources for Year of St. Joseph

A crucifix and a statue of St. Joseph are seen as Pope Francis leads his general audience at the Vatican in this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo. Pope Francis has declared this year the Year of St. Joseph, and shared an apostolic letter titled “Patris Corde.” CNS photo/Vatican Media

During this Year of St. Joseph, parents, teachers, and catechists have a new tool to guide them in the rich Catholic teaching about this important saint. The Center for Catholic Education at Aquinas College released a resource for teaching and cultivating devotion to St. Joseph.  

“This Year of Saint Joseph, given us by the Church, should be a channel of hope for us helping us to trust deeply in the Lord who loves us,” said Sister Elizabeth Anne Allen, O.P., director of the Center for Catholic Education. “St. Joseph, through his example and his intercession, helps us to live justly, relying firmly on the goodness of God.” 

Many of the popes through the ages have offered prayers to St. Joseph, as well as teachings about his role in the life of Jesus. The resource includes a treasury of quotes from the saints and popes explaining why the Church takes St. Joseph as a model and intercessor for holy fatherhood, obedience to God’s love, spiritual guidance, and Christian virtue. A section is also dedicated to ideas for activities for home and school.  

Adorned with photography of sacred art depicting St. Joseph from around the world, the St. Joseph resource includes links to many shrines dedicated to the saint, and websites exploring ways to celebrate the holy year.  

Pope Francis proclaimed the holy year dedicated to St. Joseph in the apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), marking the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX.  

The Resource for the Year of St. Joseph is downloadable for free at the College’s website, 

Father Ryan students set new record with recent Canned Food Drive

Students at Father Ryan High School collected 14,142 cans of food and more than $4,300 during the school’s annual Canned Food Drive, which far exceeded the previous record. The food and money were donated to several agencies that help feed the hungry.

Father Ryan High School set a new record for the annual Canned Food Drive this year, collecting 14,142 cans and more than $4.300.

The number of cans donated dwarfed the 2,980 collected last year.

The food and money were donated to the Ladies of Charity, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Nashville, and The Little Pantry That Could.

The donation to the Ladies of Charity was timely, according to Margie Druffel, chair of the organization’s Christmas/Food Basket Outreach program. A grant to help the organization provide food to the needy had run out, she said.

After Amy Duke, Father Ryan’s House Director, reached out to ask if the Ladies of Charity could use the food, Druffel said, “We were still trying to get bags of food out to the hungry in North Nashville, so I was thrilled to get her call.”

The donation was much larger than Druffel expected. “I arrived at the school in my small SUV with my son in his car, expecting that we would have enough space in our two vehicles to handle everything. Was I wrong,” she said. “We filled our two cars and went back in the morning with three more cars.  That still didn’t hold it all.  Father Ryan brought two more truck loads and a trailer to the Ladies of Charity with the rest. 

“They did an incredible kindness, and we are busy getting the food in bags and to where it is needed,” Druffel said.

“Hunger is a very big problem in our city, in every neighborhood, and the more people we talk to, the more we discover who need our help,” she added. “Father Ryan’s donations have helped us answer ‘yes’” more often.  We are grateful.”

Christ the King sponsors first solo Habitat build

Christ the King parishioner Jim Bryan and Deacon Brian Schulz volunteered for the parish’s first solo Habitat for Humanity build, which will be completed March 21. Photos by Theresa Laurence

Working alongside homeowners Shirdon Gelle and Rahma Elmi, volunteers from Christ the King Church in Nashville have spent the last few weeks building a Habitat for Humanity house from the ground up.

“When we came on the first day I had no idea it was going to be a truly blank slab,” said Christ the King parishioner Leah Holland, who was volunteering for the second time on March 12 with her husband Tom and their daughter Grace, a sophomore at Father Ryan High School. “It’s nice to see it mid-phase,” Holland said.

Shirdon Gelle and Rahma Elmi, pictured here with their five children, worked alongside Christ the King parishioners to build their new Habitat for Humanity house. Photo courtesy of Christ the King

On a muddy gray late winter day, the Gelle and Elmi family home was starting to come together. The exterior framing, some siding, and interior drywall has given definition to the house. The weekend of March 12-13, volunteers worked diligently to install interior doors and staple trim around windows and doorways.

The Hollands were happy to have an opportunity to volunteer as a family, see the fruits of their labor, and get to meet the people they were helping. “They’re actively involved, that part is meaningful,” Tom Holland said of the Gelle and Elmi family.

The new homeowners’ participation in the process is one of Habitat for Humanity’s hallmarks and what makes their model successful. Applicants must be willing and able to put in “sweat equity” of attending homeownership classes for several months, volunteer to build their own home and/or others’ homes, and volunteer in the Habitat ReStores.

On the March 12 build day, the couple’s excitement was palpable for the new home they will soon share with their five children.

Habitat for Humanity supervisor Joe Roland explains to Leah Holland and her daughter Grace how to install trim around the window of the house.

 “It’s going to be my own home, that’s good!” said Gelle, who came to the U.S. 19 years ago from Somalia. The family is currently living in a cramped three-bedroom apartment and is looking forward to owning their own home with a small yard.

Christ the King has participated in “Catholic builds” in the past, teaming up with other Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Nashville to build Habitat homes, but this is the first time they have done a solo build.

Christ the King Deacon Brian Schulz works outside the Habitat for Humanity house that the parish sponsored for a family. Homeowners Shirdon Gelle and Rahma Elmi, parents of five children, worked alongside Christ the King parishioners to build the house in four weekends.

“Although many Protestant churches sponsor their own house each year, to my knowledge, Christ the King will be the first Catholic parish to do so,” said Christ the King parishioner and Habitat volunteer Jim Bryan.

To build the house on their own, Christ the King had to raise $63,000 and provide 20 volunteers each day for four full weekends of builds to meet Habitat requirements.

Bryan said at first he was concerned about getting 160 volunteers to sign up, but “we’ve been fortunate that almost every day we had a wait list for volunteers.”

A large and active parish, Christ the King is committed to volunteering for causes that support the corporal works of mercy, especially those that “welcome the stranger,” Bryan said, including immigrants, refugees, and those with disabilities.

“It’s important for us to focus on providing shelter for those in need,” Bryan said.