During the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis wants all believers to both experience God’s mercy and compassion and bring it into the lives of others through corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

As part of their celebration of Maine Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 31-Feb. 6), St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick plans to help many in need through three special service projects.

“When there is a chance to help the students learn about helping others, we see this as a way to help them grow into caring Catholic adults,” said Patricia Berthiaume, principal of St. John’s. “These projects are mercy in action.”

Throughout the week, students, staff, and school families will make and gather donations to benefit:

Catholic Charities Maine and Tedford Housing

Items from a schoolwide clothing drive will be donated to Catholic Charities Maine’s Threads of Hope thrift stores and Tedford Housing in Brunswick. Proceeds from Threads of Hope thrift stores in Portland and Sanford support over 25 Catholic Charities Maine programs statewide, while the three thrift stores in Aroostook County support the Catholic Charities Food Bank. Tedford Housing provides shelter, housing, and services that empower community members in need.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program

Items from a non-perishable food collection will be donated to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick. Last May, the entire student body stood side by side, stretching from the school to the program’s facility on Union Street and passed over 600 items of food to be donated.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The students will collect and donate pennies in a “grade against grade” competition to see which grade raises the most money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The organization is the world’s largest non-profit health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services.

The service projects are part of the annual Maine Catholic Schools Week which celebrates the mission of Catholic Schools: to evangelize students by nourishing faith and encouraging academic excellence while accentuating the importance of community and service in a nurturing environment.

As part of the weeklong celebration, St. John’s will host a variety of special events, including the creation of Valentine’s cards for homebound parishioners and nursing home residents, and welcoming representatives from different religious communities to speak to the students about vocations. For a complete schedule of Maine Catholic Schools Week activities at St. John’s and other Catholic schools, visit

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