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‘Faith and fun’ to celebrate patron saint

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Every year, the community of Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Potomac Shores celebrates the feast day of its patron, St. John Paul II, the 264th pope. John Paul Day last month was filled with a variety of fun activities and seemed to be a great stress reliever for many students as the end of the first term approached. Instead of attending classes all day, students socialized with friends and explored aspects of the Catholic faith. 

Richie Schott, a senior attending his last John Paul day, had a great time with his friends, but also said that he grew closer in his faith. For this senior's last John Paul Day as a student, he enjoyed a healthy mix of praying and playing.

"My favorite part of the day was playing Wii table tennis,” Schott said. But during Mass and Benediction, Schott said that he felt closer to God.

St. John Paul was a man who knew the importance of recreation, and opportunities for recreation were well-integrated into the day's itinerary. For junior Cecilia Jones, the time spent outside was the highlight of her day.

"It was fun to go outside and let out all of our energy, like when we played capture the flag and freeze tag," she said. Similar to Schott, Jones believed the day provided the opportunity to grow in her faith. "I thought adoration was going to be boring, but I was able to really concentrate and go to confession," she said. Although she enjoyed the whole day, she said that she was pleasantly surprised by her religious experiences.

Along with outdoor games, there was a nature hike led by science teacher Mark Moran that some students went on, again incorporating St. John Paul's love for the outdoors. Moran guided the hike and taught students about the life of the Virgin Mary. Dominic Camarca, a sophomore who attended the retreat, said that was his favorite part of the day.

The John Paul Day seemed to be quite a success. Students gave rave reviews of their experiences and spoke highly of the experience. The staff of John Paul the Great believe it is important and worthwhile to celebrate the feast with a mix of faith and fun.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019