Francis Xavier Warde students come together to change lives

Teacher Clare D’Agostino and Bishop Michael Warfel present a “Thank You” poster from the children of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in Montana that will benefit from funds raised by students at Francis Xavier Warde School in Chicago during its Lenten Service Project in partnership with Catholic Extension.
Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, is flanked by first graders from Francis Xavier Warde School on May 17 following a check presentation from funds raised during its Lenten Service Project, which has been ongoing since 2008 helping ministries funded by Catholic Extension throughout the U.S.

Students at Francis Xavier Warde School in Chicago recently presented a check for $2,670.69 to benefit Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in the Diocese of Billings-Great Falls Montana.

The presentation was the culmination of the school’s Lenten Service Project, created in conjunction with Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based non-profit that raises money for poor U.S. Catholic communities.

Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, gratefully accepted the check. The theme of the project was “Change for Change,” inspired by the Biblical parable of the ten talents, in which a king entrusts his treasure to his servants and later rewards them for growing his wealth.

Francis Xavier Warde teacher Clare D’Agostino started the fundraiser in 2008.

“We want these children to understand they might be little, but they can be powerful, and they can make a change,” D’Agostino said. “Kindness travels a lot farther than hatred.”

The funds will support the ministry of Sister Margaret Mary, who works with children on reservation to build up their faith community. In a community with a more than 70 percent unemployment rate, and drug abuse rates estimated to be more than 50 percent, Sister Margaret organizes weekly religious education, summer youth camps, catechist training as well as crisis intervention and grief counseling to instill hope in the young people of the reservation.

In March, Bishop Michael Warfel of the Diocese of Billings-Great Falls visited FXW School to describe to the students what life is like on the reservation for the children they were helping. He also presented a “thank you” poster signed by the children in Sister Margaret’s ministry.

Catholic Extension serves 87 Catholic dioceses in the United States, representing over 15 million U.S. Catholics in 37 states. Cardinal Cupich is the Chancellor of Catholic Extension.