Sunday Mass, which is celebrated in our Rosary Chapel, is a regular part of our resident life. Day students and their families are always welcome as well. Significant Masses are also celebrated during the school year with the entire Upper School community attending our Opening of School Mass, our annual St. Catherine of Siena Mass, and our Baccalaureate Mass. Our special Candlelight Mass for the Christmas season is a highlight for our students and a long-standing tradition at school.
Weekly Chapel Services
Since spirituality is at the heart of our identity at Santa Catalina, we come together each week for a Wednesday chapel service. Gathering to pray together is supportive and nourishing for our community. These weekly services usually include hymns, readings from scripture, communal prayers, a time for meditation, and an opportunity for a student or faculty member to share an experience or some thoughts with the rest of our school community.
Chapel Service Themes
Examples of some of the themes for our Chapel Services throughout the year include the following:
- St. Francis of Assisi and the Care for Creation
- Student International Service Activities
- Catalina Children's Fund
- All Saints Day
- Model United Nations Club
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Chinese New Year
- Santa Catalina's Food Fast
- Cum Laude Society Induction
- Change of Office Ceremony
- Art and the Spiritual
- Jubilee Year of Mercy
- Senior Induction into the Alumnae Association
Each class spends time during the year on their service retreat. Students and faculty together provide service at some of the local following sites:
- Gateway Center in Pacific Grove: Our students participate in outdoor gardening and, over the years, have been involved in painting a mural in this home for challenged adults.
- Food Bank in Salinas: Students package and distribute food for people in need.
- Bureau of Land Management: Students have engaged in habitat restoration and planting at the Bureau of Land Management off highway 68.
- Dorothy’s Hospitality Kitchen: Students engage in the preparation and serving of food for homeless clients and people in need.
- AgAgainst Hunger: Students harvest fields and collect food for people in need.
- The Sand Dunes in Seaside: Students have participated in habitat restoration and a beach cleanup at this location.
- Meals on Wheels: Students prepare and deliver meals for senior citizens.
Santa Catalina has also provided community service trips for students during the Easter Break and during the summer.
Confirmation classes are taught to juniors and seniors every other year. Bishop Richard Garcia, Bishop of Monterey, comes to school and administers the sacrament to the confirmandi.
An ongoing invitation for silent prayer is provided for students in the Rosary Chapel, which is open every day. Special weekly prayer services during Advent and Lent are offered as well. In addition, students participate in an ecumenical candlelight Taizé prayer service each year.
Spiritual retreats are offered to students each spring and fall. In the past, these retreats have included a trip to the Camaldoli Monastery, where students attend Mass with the monks. These retreats give students an opportunity to see the beautiful Big Sur coast, share meaningful conversation with friends, listen to the silence of the forest and ocean, and explore more deeply their own spiritual lives.
Working for Peace and Justice
As Pope Paul VI said, “If you want peace, you must work for justice.” Our students learn about important social justice issues in their Religious Studies classes, and students are encouraged to put their concerns into action in a variety of ways at Santa Catalina. For example, students have had the opportunity to participate in the following:
- The Christian Children’s Fund. Student leaders collect funds and package donated items for a number of needy children from around the world.
- The Peace and Justice Club. The Peace and Justice Club was founded in the fall of 2001, bringing together several different social action groups on campus. It continues to meet weekly to help students learn how to become agents of change to make the world a better place. The following is from our Mission Statement: We the members of the Peace and Justice Club seek to contribute to the establishment of peace in the world by working in whatever ways we can to promote the just treatment of individuals around the globe. We utilize well-established agencies to fulfill our mission. We work with and through Amnesty International, Pax Christi, Catholic Relief Services, the United Nations Association (including Model UN) and other non-profit organizations that share our concern for justice and especially for the poor.
- The Annual “Food Fast” Fundraiser. This activity raises awareness about poverty gives students a concrete way to see how their actions can make a difference in the world. Funds are raised for Catholic Relief Services. This effort has raised over $85,000 in the past sixteen years to help alleviate hunger and suffering around the world.
- The Local United Nations Association, the International Red Cross, and the Monterey Institute for International Studies, all provide our students with opportunities to learn of the value and purpose of community service and provide opportunities for them to see how we all have a responsibility to help make the world more just and humane.