Announcements

During Lent, let us remember:
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that 
the world through Him MIGHT BE SAVED." -John 3:17-
This is good news for all Christians and can be the focus of growing our 
relationship with God during Lent. 

March: We begin the month of March on Ash Wednesday. The entire month of March 
will be in the season of Lent. This gives us the mental and emotional space to 
focus on our relationship with God.
The season of Lent should not make us be ashamed of our choices in life. 
Instead it is an opportunity to grow closer to God by putting Him and our 
neighbors first.
 
“To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled 
against him;” --Daniel 9:9

Thank you God. Thank you for Lent and thank you for your everlasting mercy.

March is Women's History Month!
Do you know the name of the first woman to run for the  presidential 
nomination from a major party?

Her name was Shirley Chisholm. In 1968, she was the first African-American 
woman elected to the US Congress, and in, 1972, she ran as a candidate for the 
Democratic ticket for president. She wasn't elected but she did receive 28 
delegates to the Democratic National Convention. 
She supported educational opportunities for all and worked to reduce 
poverty.If you want to know more about her go to: 
http://www.pbs.org/pov/chisholm/from-the-archives/ or 
http://www.biography.com/people/shirley-chisholm-9247015
(Or, ask me more--I met her when I was young!) 



February: As we approach Valentine's Day let us remember the words from 
Corinthians 13:4-7: 
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is 
not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not 
easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil 
but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always 
hopes, always perseveres.

And, February is Black History Month!
Have you ever heard of Abraham Galloway? 
He was born a slave on February 13, 1837 in Southport, NC. Twenty years later 
he escaped from slavery on a boat going north to Philadelphia. He worked as an 
Abolitionist (someone who wants to abolish--get rid of slavery) and, once the 
Civil War started, he returned to North Carolina and worked as a spy for the 
Union army.
He also fought for the liberation of all African-Americans, encouraged 
enslaved men to join the Union army, and in 1864, joined other African-
American leaders to meet with President Abraham Lincoln to ask him to help 
free all enslaved African Americans, especially for them to be given the right 
to vote.  
Despite not being able to read or write he was considered to be an excellent 
public speaker. He was a delegate from New Hanover county to the state 
constitutional convention in 1868. He was elected state senator in 1868 and 
1870. He died unexpectedly at the age of 33 in 1870. At his funeral two days 
later, around 6,000 people showed up to pay their respects to a man who was 
born a slave and but died serving in one of the most important positions in NC 
state legislature.

Learn about the life of Frederick Douglass, a former slave and important human 
rights leader in the abolition movement. He was the first black citizen to 
hold a high U.S. government rank.

Even after the war he continued to fight for the rights of African Americans 
and for the right of all women to be allowed to vote (even White women 
couldn't vote in the US until 1907)




January: The Bible tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new 
creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." This is from 
2 Corinthians, verses 5:17. 

This is great news for us to remember at the start of a new year. With God's 
help we can get rid of bad habits and make necessary improvements in our 
lives. 

And we read in Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in 
everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be 
made known to God."

Dedicate your work to God, trust him, do your best and come prepared to 
succeed in 2017!!



December: During December we celebrate Advent. In fourth grade we do this in a 
number of ways. 

We read verses from the Old and New Testaments to help us prepare for Christ's 
coming. These verses are part of our Jesse Tree practice. Some students read 
the verses while others interpret the meaning through symbolic images made 
into Christmas tree ornaments.

We visited the Sister Isaac Clinic (formerly known as the Tileston Clinic) and 
met with Sister Isaac. She taught us about the mission of the clinic and gave 
a private tour of the Basilica Shrine of St. Mary.

In science students are researching how animals prepare for Winter in ways 
similar to how we prepare for Advent in a project called, "All Creation 
Waits"--we are all called to slow down and do less.

And, students study the season of Advent in our Religion class.

November:
November is a busy time at St. Mark. Students in my homeroom have signed up 
for the Thanksgiving supplies for a family from Tileston Clinic.

Students are researching information about military veterans and are writing a 
personal thank you letter to a veteran of their choice.  

Students have already identified things they are thankful for and their 
gratitude is on display in the Church corridor.

November is Native American month--students will research the native American 
experience using primary sources.


October:
We begin October with the Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisieux (Oct. 1) and  
St. Francis (Oct. 4th) and end with the eve of All Saints Day, a holy day of 
obligation--better known as Halloween.

Enjoy October--we will focus on adding and subtracting large numbers, writing 
a short Halloween-inspired story, learning more about the parts of the Mass, 
and exploring the many forms of energy.


September:
This is a very important month for us because Mother Teresa was canonized on 
September 4th at St. Peter's Bascilica in Rome. Her Saint Day is September 
5th. 
"Mother Teresa worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor. Her love knew no 
bounds. Nor did her energy, as she crisscrossed the globe pleading for support 
and inviting others to see the face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor. In 
1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On September 5, 1997, God called 
her home. She was canonized by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016." 
From www.franciscanmedia.org and written by Fr. Don Miller, OFM






Beginning of the 2015-2016 school year:

I have been in the classroom these last few weeks putting books in the 
bookcases, preparing lessons, getting your cubbies set up, putting the desks 
in place... in other words getting ready to welcome YOU to 4th grade.

I hope you will love 4th grade as much as I love teaching it.

Fourth grade is a great year--you switch classes for social studies and
science, you have more independence, you get to learn cool stuff about our
state and about animals, and do experiments with magnets, and how to add
fractions(did you know you can do that?), and you refine your writing skills
and do lots of research! And, you get to go on one of the most fun field trips
of all--the trip to Raleigh (where we go to the State Legislature building,
the history and science museums, and the State Capital Building).

So, come prepared to learn and to work hard because at the end of the day 
you will be proud to see what YOU can accomplish.

And remember: 
Life is short,
And we do not have much time
to gladden the hearts of those who
make the journey with us.
So . . . be swift to love, 
and make haste to be kind.
And the blessing of God,
who made us,
who loves us,
and who travels with us
be with you now and forever.
Amen. 
Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

Ms. Bilger













May is the Month of Our Lady
During May we will practice saying the rosary in class. 
There are many saints who have a special devotion to Mary, Mother of God. 
Saint Catherine Laboure had a strong devotion to Mary. In a series of visions 
of our Lady in the chapel of the convent, she was asked by the Lady to strike 
a medal showing the Lady and honoring the Immaculate Conception.

The result was the Miraculous Medal, which is worn by Catholics all over the 
world. Saint Maximilian Kolbe and six friends founded the Crusade of Mary 
Immaculate, devoted to the spread of the Miraculous Medal, which they wore, 
and devotion to Our Lady as the path to Christ. In our own time, Pope John 
Paul II had such a strong devotion to Mary that his papal coat of arms had a 
large "M" on it. (From Loyola Press)




April is National Poetry Month!!
Did you know that North Carolina has a Poet Laureate-- that is someone who 
provides poetry readings and educational experiences for people throughout the 
state. Joseph Bathanti was the North Carolina Poet Laureate from 2012-2014 and 
he came to visit St. Mark Catholic School during the fall of 2015. He met with 
the 4th and 5th grade classes, read poetry, and had the students write their 
own. He also met with St. Mark families associated with the military in the 
school library. If you want to learn more about Joseph go to 
http://ncpedia.org/biography/bathanti-joseph. Many of his poems describe 
experiences growing up Italian-Catholic in Pittsburgh, PA.


March is Women's History Month!
Do you know the name of the first woman to run for the Democratic party's 
presidential nomination?

Her name was Shirley Chisholm. In 1968, she was the first African-American 
woman elected to the US Congress, and in, 1972, she ran as a candidate for the 
Democratic ticket for president. She wasn't elected but she did receive 28 
delegates to the Democratic National Convention. 
She supported educational opportunities for all and worked to reduce 
poverty.If you want to know more about her go to: 
http://www.pbs.org/pov/chisholm/from-the-archives/ or 
http://www.biography.com/people/shirley-chisholm-9247015
(Or, ask me more--I met her when I was young!) 



February is Black History Month!
Have you ever heard of Abraham Galloway? 
He was born a slave on February 13, 1837 in Southport, NC. Twenty years later 
he escaped from slavery on a boat going north to Philadelphia. He worked as an 
Abolitionist (someone who wants to abolish--get rid of slavery) and, once the 
Civil War started, he returned to North Carolina and worked as a spy for the 
Union army.
He also fought for the liberation of all African-Americans, encouraged 
enslaved men to join the Union army, and in 1864, joined other African-
American leaders to meet with President Abraham Lincoln to ask him to help 
free all enslaved African Americans, especially for them to be given the right 
to vote.  
Despite not being able to read or write he was considered to be an excellent 
public speaker. He was a delegate from New Hanover county to the state 
constitutional convention in 1868. He was elected state senator in 1868 and 
1870. He died unexpectedly at the age of 33 in 1870. At his funeral two days 
later, around 6,000 people showed up to pay their respects to a man who was 
born a slave and but died serving in one of the most important positions in NC 
state legislature.


Learn about the life of Frederick Douglass, a former slave and important human 
rights leader in the abolition movement. He was the first black citizen to 
hold a high U.S. government rank.

Even after the war he continued to fight for the rights of African Americans 
and for the right of all women to be allowed to vote (even White women 
couldn't vote in the US until 1907)


Remember the Bishop's visit on Tuesday, Jan. 26th. 
And remember that Catholic School's Week is Feb. 1-5. We will wear pink tops 
to represent the virtue of hope for Faith in Action Day, Feb. 1.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday!


To help prepare for The Year of Mercy:
“Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy,” Pope Francis says.  Mercy is more 
than a feeling of kindness and forgiveness; mercy is the practice of 
compassion, a readiness to assist. In Catholic teaching, the corporal and 
spiritual works of mercy are all about actions. Works of mercy are 
about living mercy.  Jesus teaches: “Be merciful like the Father” (Lk6:36) and 
calls each to be merciful. - See more at: 
http://dioceseofraleigh.org/yearofmercy/what-is-mercy#sthash.XdBgltc5.dpuf


For the beginning of 2016:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being with him,
and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being was
life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the
darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it." John 1:1-18





"Almighty God, we thank you for those who, through the years, have given of
themselves to protect and serve others. May they be honored by those whom they
served; may they be healed of all wounds; and may they be drawn close to you
in grace and peace all the days of their lies; through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Amen

Remember:
"Seek the Lord and live." (this is from the beginning of the first line from 
Amos 5:6.)
I am grateful to be able to seek the Lord both in my professional and personal 
life. The students I teach ask sensitive and reflective questions about God, 
their place in the universe, and how they can lead a more Christ-centered 
life.