Participating in a tradition beloved by schoolchildren around the world, pupils at Mar Qardakh International School this week celebrated the Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls Day as a student body. Arriving to school in a variety of outfits, students joined in games, a school-wide prayer, and shared about their costumes, recounting the lives of the saints who they represented. 

PYP and KG students spent the morning in celebration, playing games that taught them more about the saints and learning songs and dances as well. Each hub gathered together and students were selected to describe the lives of the saints they had chosen.

While preparing for the celebration, religion teachers encouraged their students when researching their saints to dig deep into looking at their lives and not just their costumes. In speaking with a group of students from MYP4, several pointed to the impact their saints had on them and their day to day lives.

 As Maryam Martin shared ¨learning about Saint Maria Goretti inspired me. Whenever I have courage I know it is from her because I went to her in prayer. She knew that to sin hurt God and said she would rather follow God and die than do something wrong just to save her life, and I want to learn from that example.¨

Keeping in mind All Souls Day, middle school students also participated in the Mexican tradition of building an ofrenda or altar decorated with photographs of deceased relatives. Throughout the day, students stopped by to look at the pictures of family members and at assembly on Thursday, PYP2 laid flowers on the altar as they recited a prayer for the deceased.

During the last class of the day, students from MYP and high school gathered in the school gym to listen to speeches. Ranging from modern day Blesseds such as Sandra Sabattini to great theologians including Ignatius of Loyola, the speakers shared their personal connections to the saints and lessons taken from studying their lives. MYP5 and high school students also shared the history behind the feast day and a presentation on our calling to holiness as Catholics.

Raoul Anas chose to depict Blessed Carlo Acutis, a popular choice among his fellow classmates. Looking back on the life of the holy millennial he mused ¨ Blessed Carlo showed me that saints are not just the religious, priests and nuns that is, but they can also be normal people like me.¨