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St. John Paul II Academy: Getting in touch with God's gifts

St. John Paul II Academy: Getting in touch with God's gifts

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The Easter season conjures images of bunnies, eggs, lilies and lambs. However, the most powerful and recognizable Christian symbol for Easter is the cross. We see the cross as a symbol of Christ’s victory over death — a triumph of good over evil, sin and death. “So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.” — Luke 24:46. Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the Easter season and lasts seven weeks long, ending on Pentecost Sunday, which stands for the 50th day — 50 days after Easter.

Pentecost is the birth of our church where we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and their followers. It is the beginning of their earthly ministry to make disciples of all nations. The Holy Spirit prepares us by sending his grace in order to draw us closer to Christ so we “might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so whatever you ask in my name, the Father will give you.” — John 15:16. The fruit of his spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We must surrender to God in everything and use all he has given us for his glory.

At St. John Paul II Academy, we are always looking for opportunities to use what God has given us and to observe God’s work through others. A few weeks ago, we visited The Press of Robert Lomascolo in Aurora. We were greeted by Robert and his mother as we entered his beautiful studio filled with antique machines, such as the Heidelberg cylinder letterpress, guillotines, foil stamping machines, plate makers, job backer, etc. Robert not only had to find and purchase all of these machines, but then had to restore them so that they functioned properly. There were also samples of his work: elegant note cards, invitations, books, etc., some of which were for sale. Robert even let each child try out his 1908 Chandler & Price press to make and keep a lovely bookmark with the design of a lamb and Psalms 23-28: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” I encourage you to visit his studio and Facebook page, and email him at to schedule a visit. He is truly an exemplary model of kindness, gentleness and patience, and his work is stunning. Robert does custom bookbinding, book repair and rebinding, letterpress printing, graphic design and drawing.

We are also delighted to begin our latest spring project, the JPII Victory Garden. Tara and Devin Fricano, parents of our fourth grader Lily, have kindly donated garden space at their home. So far, the children have cleaned up the space by weeding, raking and removing any debris, whereby they discovered a few of God’s creatures like worms, bumblebees and ants. Our tentative plan is to plant corn, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes that will be sold at the Fricano residence farm stand on Route 90 and will also be used for cooking class next school year. Along with the gardening project, the children will have the experience of taking on responsibilities with the Fricanos’ chickens. They will be collecting eggs, feeding and cleaning the chickens. The Fricanos have also volunteered to facilitate the nurturing of our victory garden to ensure that it is fruitful in crops and virtuous lessons. “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.” — Psalm 104:14

JPII’s relationships with Seymour Library, the Faatz-Crofut Home and Holy Family Church continue to flourish and bear fruit. Delicious Monday lunches have been a huge success in encouraging the children to try new foods and help at home in the kitchen. Miss Suzi’s art class continues to expose us to new art mediums and embolden us to show off our inner Da Vinci. Over the next couple of weeks, we look forward to a lesson on Africa from our friend Debbie Sikora, a trip to the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs and the New York State Capitol, a trip to Patterson Farms, etc.

As always, we welcome our friends to come on over to our school and see what we do. This is the time of year when families are looking at their educational options, and we would love to show you around. Please contact me at any time to schedule a visit. We have a busy last couple of months and we wouldn’t want to miss you.

Jennifer T. Furnia is principal at St. John Paul II Academy and the mother of two boys at the school. For more information, or to schedule a visit, visit, call (315) 252-4393, email or write to St. John Paul II Academy, 6201 Center St., Cayuga, NY 13034 or P.O. Box 1318, Auburn, NY 13021.


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