As a Catholic school, one of the most important events that start the school year is an all-school mass. The Welcome Mass on Aug. 24 was given the appropriate theme of “Guided in New Beginnings.” The Mass included the traditional favorites, like the handbells choir ringing to the melody of common Catholic songs and 700 girls singing as one to “Carry Your Candle”, but was also a reminder that a new and exciting school year is upon Marian. The environment of Mass at Marian is undoubtedly unlike any other. From hugging during the sign of peace to the upbeat and joyful music and the decorative environments for each mass, it is an experience that students would not find anywhere else. “I like the music because it gives a positive feel to the environment and adds to the sisterhood at Marian,” Gracie Kerr ‘21 said.
On Sept. 21 the Servants of Mary Mass with theme “Guided by Service” took place. Girls from the club Servite Connections walked arm in arm with the Sisters as they joined together in community. At this mass, the Servants of Mary commissioned the teachers and faculty to inspire the Marian student body to be confident independent-thinking leaders inspired by faith. The mass was an opportunity for students to thank the Servants of Mary for all they do to better Marian community.
The Faith in Action Team, FIAT for short, plans Masses and aims to increase spirituality among the members of the Marian community. At the head of FIAT is the FIAT core team. Sophomores, juniors and seniors can apply through Campus Ministry to be a part of the FIAT large group, and any junior or senior who has been on FIAT for one year prior can apply for core team. Junior members are Lily Weindel, Emma McClellan, and Anna Feldman, and the senior members are Lexi Schorg, Lauren Philips, Carolyn Griffin, Kate Williamson and Jenna Cusick. The core team’s duties includes deciding which organizations or causes to have drives and awareness campaigns for, planning masses, and forming a set game plan before each meeting of what the large group will do and discuss.
On Spirit Mornings with Bruce McGregor and Jen Brown, as a part of KVSS Spirit 102.7’s Heartland Tour, FIAT members Griffin, Philips, Feldman, and McClellan were interviewed on the live broadcast about their Campus Ministry experiences. “It was a rewarding experience to be able to share my faith experiences at Marian on live radio! I talked about how my faith has grown over the past few years here in a place I can now call home,” Griffin said.
At the end of the last school year, the core team decided on “Guide” for this year’s Campus Ministry theme. The theme will be carried out through the entire school year in Masses, Mass environments, and the Campus Ministry T-shirts. FIAT chose “Guide” to encourage the Marian community to encounter God in a new way as He guides them throughout this school year. “We felt like Guide was a really good word that showed where Marian is right now and encompassed all the changes our school is going through!” Lauren Philips ‘19 said. Students continue to be guided every day by people at Marian, including teachers, faculty, the Servants of Mary, and their peers.
Aside from planning and setting up for masses, the FIAT team also plans drives to help organizations in the community. In August, the team led the school supplies drive to benefit the Nelson Mandela School. “Students brought in enough supplies to fill over three boxes, which is amazing!” Philips said. This upcoming Oct. 22-26 FIAT is having the annual Operation Christmas Child drive to donate shoe boxes to children in need around the world for Christmas. In addition to drives, they also are in charge of the service board in the cafeteria, where they have upcoming service opportunities for Marian girls to be involved in. “Service is important because it is the Christian call to serve one another,” Deacon Kevin Fuller said. The board is updated monthly with new service opportunities for students.
This year the team is hoping to make FIAT more interactive with the rest of the school and to engage students in their goals. One objective the team is specifically focusing on is bringing awareness to poverty in the Omaha community. Many girls bring in peanut butter and jelly for Operation Others to get a day off of school, but FIAT’s goal is to bring the reality of poverty in Omaha to the eyes of Marian girls. “You hear about this problem and the suffering online and through others. I wanted to do a FIAT awareness week on poverty because I think we become blind to it sometimes,” Emma Gariot ‘20 said. To help do this, FIAT will be partnering with OO during the peanut butter and jelly drive in November to promote their drive and show girls why they should donate.
While annual goals may change, the overall goal of FIAT remains the same: to lead Marian in all things faith and nurture the spiritual community. FIAT encourages girls to bring any ideas for drives or awareness campaigns to the core team members. Core team wants FIAT to be a resource for any and all Marian girls who are passionate about service. Their goal is for supply drives to reflect what the student body sees as important in the community.