As you enter Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School in Boonton, NJ, you are immediately struck by the beautiful artwork adorning the walls while all the sights and sounds around strongly suggest that something different is happening here. On any typical day, you may observe students practicing exercises in logic using the techniques of Aristotle, having discussions by way of the Socratic method, or first graders reciting Psalm 23 in its entirety from memory, as well children singing Latin Chants.
While the students of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are immersed in the traditional search for beauty and truth in all they see and do, they are discovering the timeless joy that comes from service to others. Lumen Gentium, “Light to the Nations,” is the motto of this newly converted classical school perched on a hilltop above downtown Boonton. This past Lent, the students made over 100 “Blessing Bags” that will be distributed to the homeless of their community hoping to “light up” the lives of those most often passed by and forgotten this Easter season. Students from Pre-K through 8th grade collected necessities such as socks, water bottles, snacks, and toothbrushes. The middle school students led an assembly line in the gym while the Pastor, Father Daniel O’Mullane blessed the bags and led the students in prayer for the recipients.
After dropping off the “Blessing Bags” at a shelter with his Dad and meeting some of the very appreciative recipients, OLMC Kindergartener, Aidan Trowbridge excitedly exclaimed, “They were SO nice!” The sheer elation in his voice as well as the way his little face lit up as he eagerly shared the joy of his experience serves as a living reminder to us that Lumen Gentium is not just a Latin phrase, it is what we are all called to be, even if all we have to give is the show of gratitude and a smile.
*Bags will be distributed to those in need by Heart & Hands Mission in Hoboken and Family Promise of Morris County in Morristown.