On Thursday, April 28th at Padua Franciscan High School, Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice wrapped up another year with several highs about the 2015-2016 school year.
The meeting opened with prayer as usual and a review of what was accomplished by the group. Beginning with the October "Rally for Life" downtown and ending with the "Rock for Refugees" dance in April, CSPJ recapped events like the mini-summit on Modern Slavery and Migration, an adult social that was held for the first time for Theology teachers and Campus Ministers and a Gender Forum.
Schools present at this last meeting were Padua, St. Ignatius, St. Joseph Academy, Cleveland Central Catholic, Beaumont, Trinity, Holy Name and Lake Catholic. All together there were about 25 students and adults.
The main part of the meeting was devoted to a celebration of two awards that were given out. The first was the annual Bishop Pilla Award, which is earned by outgoing seniors of CSPJ schools. These students were nominated by adults in the Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice network and showed over their time with the group a commitment to being involved in the student leadership of CSPJ. In taking on leadership responsibilities, the students collaborated with their counterparts in the other high schools of the Cleveland diocese and put together many successful events that raised awareness on key issues such as modern slavery, poverty, respect for life and migration. The Bishop Pilla Award's description sums up why these students were chosen:
"The Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Peace and Justice Award, is a sign of our gratitude for his service to the diocese of Cleveland, and his inspiration to its youth. This award will be given annually, through the Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice network, which Bishop Pilla helped found. It is given to students who, through their involvement and leadership in CSPJ activities, were nominated and selected by the faculty of diocesan schools. Each school’s selected students will receive a plaque to commemorate their honor. In addition, a permanent plaque of honor will be displayed at the Diocesan Social Action Office."
This year's recipients were:
Ann Marie Brady - St. Joseph Academy
Jackie Kluznik – Beaumont School
Isaiah Maldonado - St. Ignatius High School
Mary Martin – Beaumont School
Emma Stalder - St. Joseph Academy
The second award is the first of a new annual award that will recognize a school's commitment to CSPJ through their students, adults and administrators that are part of the group. It takes a lot of effort, time and energy to put organize meetings, establish collaboration of 20 different schools and ensure the development of student leaders. With these ideas in mind, the adult leadership team of Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice decided this year to implement the Bishop Lennon Award. The description of the Bishop Lennon Award is as follows:
"The Bishop Richard Lennon Award, is a sign of our gratitude for his service to the diocese of Cleveland, and his inspiration to its schools. This award will be given annually, through the Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice network, which Bishop Lennon has greatly supported during his tenure. The Bishop Richard Lennon Award is given to a school who, through its involvement and leadership in CSPJ activities, was nominated and selected by the CSPJ representatives who attend the CSPJ meetings and events from the schools in the diocese and the CSPJ leadership team. The school selected will receive a plaque to commemorate the honor. In addition, a permanent plaque of honor will be displayed at the Diocesan Social Action Office, where CSPJ meetings are sometimes held throughout each year."
This year's recipient for the Bishop Lennon Award is St. Ignatius High School, a school that has been a major contributor to both the adult and student leadership groups over the years and since the inception of Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice, has provided multiple resources and guiding influences.
The CSPJ adult team will meet over the next months to discuss and schedule meetings and events for the 2016-2017 school year.