Best of the Week 2019-2020: Holy Cross Values
"PROJECT HOPE" EMPOWERS THEOLOGY STUDENTS TO FIND SOLIDARITY IN HOLY CROSS CHARISMS & PANDEMIC EXPERIENCES
St. Ed's Theology department was inspired by "Project Hope," a contest that the Holy Cross Brothers used to hold at St. Ed's, to create their own version to wrap up the final semester of the 2019-2020 school year. "Project Hope" would challenge each grade level on core themes about being "men with hope to bring" and the Theological Virtues. Rooted in Holy Cross charisms, the project empowered teachers to customize the project to best suit their students and the content they're learning in their Theology courses. The Theology department accepted this challenge to create a virtual "Project Hope" that combines academic rigor with students' spirituality and their ability to look within their hearts and reflect on their current experiences influenced by the pandemic.
"One of my central goals as a Theology teacher is to provide a space for my students to share their lived experiences of God's Providence," says Theology teacher Mr. Owen Williams '13. "I want students to leave my class knowing two central truths, that they are the Father's beloved and that they are called to not only recognize, but to be the Hope of the Resurrection for the world." Keeping students engaged with the Theology curriculum while feeling connected through their own experiences while being apart, "Project Hope" challenged students to discover new ways in which God continues to reveal Himself to us, especially during a time of such despair throughout the world. "The work my students submitted blew me away," says Mr. Williams. "From poems, artwork and music to short videos and podcasts, all of these creations showed our students' commitment to continuing the work of Theology from their own homes."
"Many of my seniors' projects expressed their gratitude for all the ways St. Ed's has helped them grow over the last four years and they are hopeful that they can embrace and contribute to the future, even with the challenges that lay ahead," says Theology Department Chair Mr. Chris Merriman.
Isaac Cudnik '22, who wrote a poem for his "Project Hope," shared how he was able to connect the content from his Theology unit with current events and his own experiences. "'Project Hope' allowed me to reflect on the hope that has come from this global pandemic and the challenges that also come with it," says Isaac. "With each death comes a resurrection and this project helped me to look deeper and find those recognitions and find hope in despair. It's important to remain strong in faith and hope during this time. If we don't, we will lose sight of what's important. Knowing that my fellow peers and I have all been working on this same project and to promote the same message of hope has been so powerful. I never imagined that my poem would touch so many people and I've enjoyed seeing how it has brought hope to so many."
"Studying Theology is about so much more than gaining content knowledge," says Mr. Williams. "Ultimately, it's about discovering God's immense love for humanity, and in doing so, we discover what it means to be human. That's why I get so fired up in class, even in a virtual setting. How could that not get somebody to almost jump through their computer screen in excitement!"