St. Marys' Heartfelt Christmas Tradition

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School's Heartfelt Christmas Tradition
Posted on 12/19/2023
Present decorated with cards for St. Joseph's Villa

In the winter of 2020, amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, a beacon of compassion emerged at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School. Stephanie Hrynkiw, then a freshman, noticed a poster encouraging students to volunteer at St. Joseph's Villa, a local seniors' home. Little did she know, this simple prompt would give rise to a heartwarming Christmas initiative that has since become an integral part of the St. Mary community.

Stephanie's initial attempt to volunteer faced a setback due to COVID-related restrictions at the seniors' home. Undeterred, she pivoted her focus to address the potential loneliness felt by the elderly residents during the holiday season. Approaching Mr. Don Hall, the school's Chaplain, Stephanie proposed a Christmas letter-writing project.

With Mr. Hall's support, Stephanie took to the school's morning announcements, unveiling her vision to the entire student body. What transpired over the next two weeks was nothing short of remarkable. St. Mary Catholic Secondary School transformed into a hub of creativity as over 500 Christmas letters and hand-painted cards poured in, filling the Chaplain's office to the brim.

As Stephanie packaged and personally delivered the heartfelt messages to St. Joseph's Villa, a profound connection was forged. The seniors, starved for companionship, embraced the initiative with open hearts, and the impact resonated for years to come.
Stephanie's story is just one shining example of the many worthy student initiatives throughout our HWCDSB school community. Each effort, big or small, contributes to the rich tapestry of compassion that defines us.

This Christmas initiative serves as a testament to the resilience and generosity within the St. Mary community. Initiated as a seed of compassion in 2020, it has flourished into a remarkable project that unites students in spreading warmth and joy during the holiday season.

In the culmination of this heartwarming effort, all the Christmas cards and letters were be presented to the residents and staff of the St. Joseph's Villa following the school’s recent Advent/Christmas Mass. This symbolic gesture aims to reinforce the enduring connection between the students of St. Mary and the residents of St. Joseph's Villa, bringing the spirit of Christmas full circle with a message of love, hope, and community.

Students at Mass, smiling with teacher

Students receiving communion

Student speaking at podium during MassStudents greeting the parish priest Students singing and playing instrumentsMass decoration and cards