A new school year has begun at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School!
We are also welcoming back our residential students to Liberia Mission. They returned on Sunday, September 2, accompanied by their parents or guardians. With them, they brought various items, such as clothes, bowls, and soap. Bringing these items teaches them responsibility and appreciation for what they receive while also helping to contribute to Liberia Mission's communal life. Although these students may lament the end of their summer break, everybody was happy to be back--in their “super suits” no less! ("Super suit" is the nickname the students gave to the hospital scrub uniform that they wear while at the mission.)
The first days of the week were filled with orientations and handbook reviews. Our Director, John Raymond Alpha, informed the residential students student that they will participate in activities such as Bible dramas and spelling bees this year, in addition to their agriculture time when they work on our farm and in our piggery. This will teach them a diverse set of valuable life skills.
As all the students return, we tell God thank you for all the improvements our high school students made to the Mission over the summer. They built our new school bathroom, improved our piggery and farm, and even painted the school! The new bathroom is especially exciting for everyone. This will mean we have the necessary sanitation and wash rooms needed for our 450+ student body. It is a wonderful facility that was envisioned by one of our B.W.I. students, Jacob. Jacob studied drafting and used those skills to design the bathrooms. Thanks to the hard work of many--and generosity of our donors--our students will now have clean, new bathrooms on campus. Thank you!
Our teachers and school administration are also back in action, working harder than ever to help St. Anthony of Padua remain one of the best schools in the country. Through weeks of training sessions and curriculum preparations, they too are working hard to break the cycle of poverty for youth in Liberia by being agents of quality, Catholic education.
On Friday, September 7, Fr. Yao, pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, came to celebrate Holy Mass for the first school Mass of the year. There was a vibrant moment of Liberian style praise and worship singing before Fr. Yao arrived. The atmosphere was electric! In his homily, Fr. Yao preached to the students about the importance of doing well in school by looking ahead toward the future and leaving behind the shortcomings of our past actions. We are very grateful to Fr. Yao and Fr. Charles for the Spiritual Providence they bring us, despite their busy schedules!
It is yet another new beginning at Liberia Mission. We are celebrating our 15th anniversary in November; as we contemplate the joys, sufferings, accomplishments, and setbacks of the past fifteen years, we can only give thanks to God. Secondly, we thank our benefactors who have faithfully contributed to the prosperity of Liberia and its youth. If we all continue together with Jesus, there is no doubt we will celebrate countless anniversaries to come. Thank you and God bless!