by Cori Hilsgen
St. Joseph Catholic School sixth-grade students in Susan Huls’ classroom have been busy crafting and making items for the Friday, Dec. 6, Winterwalk Christmas Arts and Craft Sale, to fund their Catholic Social Teaching action projects this year.
The Arts and Craft sale is from 4-8 p.m. and students plan to host their booth during all shifts.
Huls said the students will be selling yarn bracelets, pottery ornaments made by the fifth- and sixth-graders with the help of The PotSpot in Avon and melted crayon canvas wall hangings.
They will also be selling several cloisonne rosaries for Kathy Rennie, founder of the We Share Program, to support the Catholic missions in China.
All funds earned, except those earned from selling the rosaries, will go toward helping offset the costs of the students’ Catholic Social Teaching action projects.
Several students commented about the projects and why they are hosting the booth at the craft sale.
“We are trying to make them for a good cause,” said Aquiliana Wolf.
Wolf’s mother, Lisa Wolf, spearheaded the craft sale idea and organized two craft projects the students created.
“Yes, to raise money to help others,” said Josie Eastman. “In general, we are trying to help people who don’t have basic necessities, like food.”
“Some of the pictures send good messages,” said Grace Nicoll, about the crayon canvas wall hangings. “Like ‘Home,’ or ‘Dare to be different.’ I think I’ll put the word ‘Peace’ on this one.”
If shoppers who visit the students’ craft booth want to “commission” a crayon-art wall hanging with a certain message, Lisa Wolf said they could chat with her that evening to negotiate prices for the special orders.
The sixth-graders plan to complete three action projects this year, with the possibility of a fourth. Projects they plan to do include packing meals, along with fifth-graders, at Kids Fighting Hunger; helping with food prep, visiting with participants and cleaning up at least four times for the Joe-Town Table free community meal served at the American Legion in St. Joseph; and collecting school supplies in spring and delivering them to the St. Joseph Community Food Shelf for next school year.
Even though the projects are action projects, the students would like to earn some money to help cover some of the costs.
Huls said all projects are inspired by the words in James 2:16, 24: “What good is it, brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.”
This was the first Bible verse memorized by the sixth-graders this year. Molly Weyrens, of the Central Minnesota Catholic Worker, came to their classroom in September to teach students more about Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic-Christian works and the works of Dorothy Day.
Weyrens spoke to the students about how important it was to begin to move from the inside of the church to the outside of the church in order to experience the church. She also taught the students the steps to becoming an action-oriented Catholic youngster: Pay attention. Be astonished (at the problem you see). Tell about it. Do something.
Students also learned about the Catholic Social Teaching Principles of solidarity, dignity of the human person, options for the poor, and community and participation.
Huls said students are doing these things because they are old enough to start doing good in outreach to the community and to others around the world.
These teachings also connect to St. Joseph Catholic School’s mission of kindness throughout the year with the guiding questions: “How can I help spread goodness? How can I do kind things for others? What does it mean to be kind? What does it look like to be kind?”
The students will also be holding a Sunday, Jan. 26, bake sale during Catholic Schools Week.
The We Share program was started in 1994 by Kathy and Dave Rennie to help the Vijayapuram Diocese, the poorest Catholic Diocese in Kerala, India.
Kids Fight Hunger is a humanitarian food relief organization. Volunteers help package food to be distributed locally or globally.
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.