BANGOR – For over 150 years, students in Bangor have benefited from access to a Catholic education. The strong Catholic, academic, and social environment fostered through generations helps children grow beyond the classroom in their values, their respect, and their desire to serve God, each other, and those in need. A mission that will be on full display during Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30 to Feb. 5) as students at All Saints Catholic School prepare to focus on giving back to a community that has given them so much.

“We are holding the ‘Opening Our Hearts and Our Hands for the Homeless’ initiative that will benefit those being served at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter,” said Principal Matthew Houghton. “Each grade will be focusing on a different area of assistance.”

Donations have already begun pouring in as soap, wipes, underwear, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, combs, foot powder, shoe insoles, coffee, sweatpants, and other items are adding up at both the St. John and St. Mary campuses.

The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter is open 365 days a year and provides an overnight shelter, day services, a soup kitchen, a food pantry, and an overnight winter warming center.

“Our students are offering direct assistance to people in need,” said Houghton. “It’s another example of our kids showing the ‘HEART’ of All Saints.”

At All Saints, acts of love and kindness are constantly on display thanks to the school’s “HEART,” an initiative designed to describe the ways in which the school leads students to Jesus and helps in the deepening of their relationships with God.

For the younger kids, “HEART” stands for “Holiness, Eucharist, Acts of Service, Relationships, and Tradition,” while the acronym matures for the older kids with concepts like “Holiness, Equal Dignity of Human Beings, Action and Attitude, the Redeeming Love of God, and the Call to Live in the Truth.”

The items collected will be brought to the shelter during Catholic Schools Week, which will also feature many opportunities for fun and community.

A joint Mass will bring the two school campuses together on Wednesday at St. John Church, a day which will also feature a Vocation Day. The kids will also head outside for sledding and snow sculpting and enjoy dress down days with themes ranging from flannel day to patriotic day. In addition, All Saints students will make suncatchers for the residents of the nearby Phillips-Strickland House, a residential care center for seniors.

Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in Maine and across the United States. The week celebrates the mission of Catholic Schools: to evangelize students by nourishing faith and encouraging academic excellence while accentuating the importance of community and service in a nurturing environment. For more information about Catholic education in Maine, visit