We enrolled Dema in a private Catholic school two years ago. Best decision at the time. He had a life changing fourth grade teacher and he continues to love his school. We are not Catholic, but I spent a lot of time in Catholic Churches over the years because many of my friend were/are Catholic. There are things that bother me from time to time, but they are far outweighed by the positives. The ways the school and the kids attending the school give back to the community make me very happy and Dema really enjoys them. The kids help regularly at local soup kitchens, adult daycare facilities, rake leaves for people in need, etc. As far as I know, there is no judgement or attempts to convert people, just good deeds for the community. Dema has never felt like an outsider for not being Catholic.
The kids also say a Hail Mary prayer when someone gets hurt on the playground or they hear an emergency vehicle. This last thing really speaks to me. We used to live in the DC area (pre-kids) and most days we would see an accident and the rubber necking that follows. This always bothered me and I would take a moment to empathize with those affected by the crash and hope they were okay before going about the rest of my life. When my mom was dying in the hospital thirteen years ago, I remember thinking how is everyone just going about their normal lives when someone is dying?!. Of course, this is a silly selfish thought, but there it is. We all go about our lives every day and people die all the time. I try to think of them from time to time. The people I see driving down the road or in the store...what are they going through? Are they taking care of someone who is sick or worse? I take my father to all his doctor appointments and I look at those people in the waiting room and try to empathize, if only for a brief second. This is why I really like the kids saying Hail Mary. It takes the them outside themselves just for a minute to keep others in their thoughts and send positive energy for those who need it.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.