February 9, 2019

Positivity: Why these high school students built a chapel and Marian shrine at a local school

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Battle Creek, Michigan:

Feb 7, 2019 / 01:47 pm

When two Michigan high school students were planning for a community service project, they decided they wanted to help younger children learn to pray. So, they fundraised, designed, and managed the construction of a chapel and Marian shrine for the local Catholic middle school.

Adam Sprague is a junior and Jacob Thome is a freshman at St. Philip Catholic Central High School in Battle Creek, Michigan. As part of earning their Eagle Scout badges, Sprague oversaw construction of a Blessed Sacrament chapel and Thome worked to build a Marian grotto.

Father Christopher Ankley, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, was involved with both projects. He told CNA that St. Joseph Catholic Middle School was in need of more prayer spaces, especially for students at the school.

“Just to have the Blessed Sacrament in the school is a good way to have that presence of Jesus with them all the time and to help them grow closer to our Lord and holiness,” he said. “It’s just one way to increase our Catholic identity and stress the importance of our faith.”

Both Sprague and Thome initiated their projects last year and completed them in December. As part of the Eagle Scout initiative, the students had to manage volunteers and work with interior or landscape designers on the projects’ layouts.

Sprague fundraised over $4,000 for the project by promoting it after weekend Masses. The money was used to purchase altars and pews. A local construction company donated free labor and tile, and a parishioner, who is an interior designer, also consulted on the chapel’s layout.

“I’m just glad how everything came together especially so that we can have kids start praying more and getting closer to God. I think it’s really special that there is adoration in there every Friday to increase that faith formation,” Sprague told CNA.

The chapel is named after St. Jose del Rio, a 14 year-old martyr who was executed for his faith during the Cristero War in Mexico. Sprague said the name was voted on by the middle school students, noting that the saint best represented the community.

“We have a very diverse community,” he said. “We wanted to go with the saint that they could connect with. We wanted them to be represented in terms of the name.” …

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