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St. Matthew School seventh grade social justice: Learning in action

October 01, 2015 | posted by


By Jennifer Granardo
For Today’s Catholic

SAN ANTONIO -- Students at St. Matthew School have begun reading their first class novels of the school year. The seventh grade Language Arts classes are reading Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. The book chronicles the journey of an affluent, Mexican girl who is forced to leave her country and travel to the United States. She becomes a migrant worker and experiences the hardships many immigrants face today. The sevnth grade honors class is reading Lupita Manana by Patricia Beatty. This book also documents the struggles and hardships of a family immigrating to the United States.
Today’s Catholic recently featured a story about immigration issues. St. Matthew School contacted Today’s Catholic to obtain copies of this empowering publication to utilize it in the classroom. A series of stories on students’ progress and transformation will be provided as students put their faith into action and inspire others.

St. Matthew Catholic School also contacted J. Antonio Fernandez, president/CEO of Catholic Charities, to learn more about the current situation of immigrants in need of assistance here in San Antonio. A unique and immediate opportunity has arisen to help those in need through Catholic Charities. Locally, over 300 women and children are in need of supplies. Many have escaped the violence and life-threatening circumstances in Central and South America, have travelled by foot through Mexico, and received asylum in the U.S. Many left with nothing but the clothes on their back. All are in desperate need of assistance. Students have been invited to make a difference by creating Courage Kits as each student has been asked to create at least one kit.

Students at St. Matthew’s are excited about the project and the opportunity to serve others. When asked about earning service hours, a student replied, “I want to meet them [the women and children] and learn about their struggle.”

Through service, students realize they can truly make a difference in the lives of those in need. In response to the opportunity to create the Courage Kits a student replied, “It diminishes the barrier between immigrants and people already here by showing they are also human beings who need help and compassion.” Students are not only learning the Catholic social teachings of the church -- to serve the poor and treat everyone with dignity and respect -- they are also living it. As students learn about social justice they are able to put words into action to truly living as Christ taught us to live.