Cary Anne Fitzgerald
PDHP Parent/Community Outreach Coordinator
One last feel of the sea spray and the mix of the hot sun on my skin. Through the rush of waves, I can hear my uncle call, “Time to go!” One last victorious jump and I barrel out alongside my cousins to the embrace of soft, sun-warmed terry towels wrapped around us by our mothers. One last look at the rolling waves before we retreat to the car. My father heaves his coveted and heavy stainless-steel jug, still sloshing the remnants of whatever sugary, powdery drink mix us kids requested for this week’s jaunt. All the adults are laden down with all the necessary supplies to assist in the creation of yet another perfect day at the beach. I think they must be weary from all this work but instead a quiet contentedness fills the car as Van Morrison fittingly croons, “…smell the sea and feel the sky…” One last taste of salt water on my lips before I lean my head against my balled-up towel and close my eyes, sealing all this day into my memory.
One more touch of the grittiness of the hot sand slipping through my fingers as I lay out on my towel, drowsy from the day of sun and surf, the hearty laughter of my friends encircles me.
One more look at the way the sun sparkles on the calm bay as my daughter sits crisscross-applesauce right at the shoreline, the water lapping up gently, wet sand cupped in her hand, eyes squinting under the sunshine. One more song stirs in the background, “…let your soul and spirit fly…”.
Our senses are closely linked to our memories. Can we use them to bring us back to those times we felt content, safe, happy? Can we recreate similar experiences for our children to retrieve from the recesses of their minds when they need the reassurance of better times? The beach is always my happy place, no matter the season in fact; a picture alone can reset my calm. Shannon Pearce, PDHP Counselor for Saint Sebastian in Woodside and Our Lady in Ozone Park, shares that affinity and reminded our staff last week the grounding that being in or around nature can bring us. Maybe the beach isn’t your thing. Take a walk, open a window wide, feel the breeze, note the scene. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, smell? Not for you? That’s ok…take a breath, smile. Now, ask the same questions of your children. You just gave them a memory; you just gave them their calm.
In moments of instability, it can be easy to succumb to feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. You may feel overwhelmed by your work or personal life. You may be struggling to offer the type of awareness and guidance that your children need from you. Regardless of the reason, turning to faith in moments of uncertainty can help you rebuild a foundation of security and hope that will propel your forward through the darker days.
Study the Bible instead of Simply Reading It
Actively reading the Bible is the first step to understanding the Catholic faith at large as well as your personal understanding of its stories, messages, and lessons. How do the words on the page make you feel? How do they reveal God’s love and the power of Jesus’s sacrifice? Each day, make an effort to read and reflect on a passage from the Bible, and consider keeping a journal to record your thoughts, emotions, and reactions as you read. Take your time when you study the passages in order to strengthen your understanding of the language and the true meaning of faith behind the stories.
Incorporate the Rosary into Your Practices
When you pray the rosary, you open yourself up to a stronger understanding of your faith and the relationship you’ve built with Jesus through the sacred Mysteries. In times where you need prayer, the rosary serves as a means of grounding you, and it allows you to focus your energy and attention on reflecting upon God’s love for you. Feel the beads between your fingers and close your eyes as you recite each prayer. Make an effort to clear your mind and allow yourself to reflect wholly on the Virgin Mary and Jesus’s infinite love and compassion.
Share Your Love of Jesus with Your Spouse and Children
The best way to foster an environment based in faith is to share your love of Jesus with the people who matter most – the members of your family. If you haven’t already, begin to build routines and traditions around prayer and reflection. Ask your spouse to say grace at the dinner table, and pray with your children each evening before bedtime. By sharing your faith with the people closest to you and encouraging your spouse and children to practice, you will continue to grow as a family in love and happiness.
We hope that the ideas & activities presented here have come in handy for those moments when you just don’t know what to do.
Going forward, each week will focus on a different theme. We are beginning with the theme of “Ocean”…let’s set sail!
All Things Animal Channel
The “All Things Animal” channel on YouTube contains short videos (under 2 min) about animals geared toward kids. The following link is for the sea turtle but this channel also has many other similar videos including sea lions, otters, fish, and whales
Aquarium Live Cam
Check out the Live Cams at Monterey Bay Aquarium for some under the sea action. Views include penguins, sharks, sea otters, and more
National Geographic Kids
Nat Geo Ocean Portal featuring videos, articles, and games about different ocean creatures. Games include dolphin diving and a shark personality quiz. (Gr. 2+)
Ocean Themed Writing Prompts
- What can you do to save the oceans from pollution? Write a letter to a state representative to share your ideas.
- Create a picture of a new type of fish or sea creature then write to describe what it looks like and what it does.
- Imagine you could have a sea creature as a pet. Which would you choose? What special items would you need to take care of it?
Ocean Songs and Dances
Under the Sea (Little Mermaid)
Materials: Paper plate, coloring items, yarn or ribbon
Have your child paint or
Material: Paper, Scissors, Glue
Cut out a fish shape. Fold in half length-wise and cut slits from the middle to close to the edges. Unfold and use thin strips of different colored paper to weave back and forth between the slits creating the checkboard pattern. Afterwards, add eyes, mouth, and fins.
Materials: Scrap paper, scissors, glue stick
This activity is best suited for grades 4+ as it requires following multi step directions. Use the link below to create the fish
March 27, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians of Catholic Academy and Parish School Students,
We have just completed another week during an unimaginable situation that is affecting everyone. For each of us, we have been faced with many changes and challenges. During these difficult times, we need to ensure that we all remain safe and healthy. Our continued prayers are needed for the health and safety of everyone.
We appreciate you as partners in Catholic education, as we work together to maintain meaningful, faith-filled learning for our children during this crisis. The teachers, principals and school staff have responded in the most admirable and commendable ways, to continue the education our students deserve. Their efforts to provide ongoing distance and digital learning is incredible and the support of you, our families, is greatly appreciated.
The following is an update addressing recent questions and concerns. Many things are still uncertain. We will continue to communicate as frequently as possible throughout this crisis as the situation changes.
1) Attendance Expectations and Classwork
• Teachers are taking daily attendance.
• All assignments provided to the students by the teachers need to be completed in a timely fashion.
• Parents are asked to ensure that their child(ren’s) work is completed and submitted, according to the policies and procedures outlined by the administration of the Catholic Academy and Parish School.
• All assignments and assessments will continue to be graded. Additional information regarding 3rd trimester and final report card grading will be provided shortly.
2) Holy Week and Easter Break will be maintained as a break week for the children and teachers.
• Classes will not take place on April 9, 2020 (Holy Thursday), April 10, 2020 (Good Friday), and the week of Monday April 13 through Friday April 17th. No formal instruction or classes will take place during this time. Resources for parent and family-led activities will continue to be provided, to support you and your children through the blog page: https://news.catholicschoolsbq.org/category/parent-resources/
• Our teachers have embraced this challenge of shifting to distance learning and have worked around the clock to migrate their lessons to these new forms of delivery, to maintain meaningful instruction and connection with their students.
• Teachers and staff will do their best to reply to emails as quickly as possible. While we know you may need to send a message in the late evening or overnight hours, please expect a reply within 24 hours. Our teachers are working an increased amount of time to create online lesson plans and will make every effort to reply in a timely fashion.
3) Internet usage by children
• In this time where everyone is online more than usual, we need to increase our monitoring of our children’s online behavior, to protect them and ensure they understand safe and appropriate online behavior. Information from the Office of Safe Environment, and a copy of the Diocesan Acceptable Use policy can be found here Parent Resources.
4) PDHP and Counseling Services
• Even though the offices of the Program for the Development of Human Potential (PDHP) are closed, ongoing support is available for prevention and crisis resources. You may call 718-550-0025 for support. (Please use 911 for critical and life-threatening health and safety emergencies). Support and connection is also available through the PDHP Facebook account.
May God continue to watch over each of you, your children and family!
Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent~Catholic School Support Services
Almighty God, You reach into the darkness with hope, truth and light.
Stretch out your strong hand in this situation, hold and rescue those who have suffered.
Let your almighty love move mountains, cross seas and breathe life into the darkest places.
Light that redeems
Hope that overcomes
Light that restores
Hope that inspires
Light that heals
Hope that conquers
Light that protects
Hope that frees
Light that saves
Hope is your gift to the world
There is nothing higher, stronger or greater than your love. We trust you.
Investigate the Red Planet (Gr. 3-5)
Students can use a 3D model of the Mars rover to investigate the surface of the planet. This includes a short video explaining the rover mission and real images that were collected.
This website contains activities, projects, and videos for students to explore space.
The link below is geared more toward younger students (K-5) and includes videos, games, and activities about space.
National Geographic Solar System (Gr. 3-5)
This link contains short videos, articles, and photos about the planets.
Space Writing Prompts
- Create a list of the pros and cons of being an astronaut
- Pretend you discovered a planet. Describe what it looks like, its name, and how you would run the planet.
- What planet would you want to visit if you could space travel? Why?
“Add pictures to your writing to highlight important ideas“
Outer Space “We are the Planets (Gr. 1-4)
Eight Planets (PK-1)
Materials: Toilet paper roll/ paper towel roll, paint, scissors
Cut out slits in the side of the toilet paper roll then insert a wing shape cut out of cardboard. Cut out a “seat” on the top. Have your child paint and decorate the rocket. You can also give your child extra boxes and have them create then decorate their own rocket or spaceship.
Materials: Construction paper,
Materials: Cardboard, yarn, ribbon, string, or fabric scraps
Cut out a planet shape and cut small slits around the edges. Have your child use yarn to wrap the planet shape, securing the yarn in the different notches. You can also use different colors/ materials to create textures similar to the planets.
Pope Francis invites Christians all over the world to join him in prayer amid the global crisis triggered by COVID-19 pandemic. A message from Pope Francis: “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication, we want to respond to the virus pandemic through the universality of prayer”.
Live coverage begins on NET-TV at 12:45 PM on Friday, March 27, 2020. The coverage includes reflection from the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, on the significance of this Papal blessing and what it means for us.
NET-TV can be seen in the New York City area on Spectrum (Channel 97), Optimum (Channel 30), and FIOS (Channel 48).
You can also watch online at netny.tv/masses/.
In the midst of distance learning, there are some precautions parents need to take into account.
The internet, as we all know, has become part of our everyday life and our children’s education is no exception. As with any phenomenon, there are pros and cons to internet use. Parents should be aware of what their children are doing online at all times.
It’s natural for students to wander off onto sites and reveal personal information. In this time when everyone is online more than usual, we need to increase our monitoring of our children’s online
In addition, Child Lures Prevention has made their materials available to parents via their website. (password 4par3nts)
St. Francis de Sales was featured in the Queens Daily Eagle this week for their perseverance and innovation during this difficult time.
Catholic churches and schools across Queens are closed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, causing massive disruptions in the daily routines of thousands of borough residents. Though few could have foreseen a pandemic of this magnitude hitting New York, one Belle Harbor school was more prepared than most.
The St. Francis de Sales Academy is no stranger to hardship. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged Belle Harbor and the rest of the Rockaway Peninsula, bringing massive flooding, fires and destruction to the beachfront community. Read More