By Emily Drooby
Voices rang out on All Saints Day as Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Woodhaven, Queens filled with parishioner — and saints — on November 1.
Students from the parish’s Catholic academy also celebrated the Catholic Holiday dedicated to honoring the saints of the Church.
For this annual event, students walk in the shoes of a saint of their choosing by creating costumes in the image of that saint and doing research that all leads to Nov. 1, where they get to perform for their fellow schoolmates, family and friends.
“My saint name is Saint Anthony. He was the one to hold baby Jesus. He was the doctor of the Church,” said Matthew, a student at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Academy.
Lianellys, another student, learned that Saint Catherine “wanted a room to pray to God.”
Religious leaders in the school say that the saint that come alive are a unique way to impart the important saintly lessons.
“In so many ways the saints guide us still, and there are many people even around them today, who sacrifice for them,” said Father Frank Tumino. “The kids know about sacrifice and love, we just want to make that connection to church to being Catholic and following Jesus.”
“Learning how to be good and kind to people and how to be a peaceful person, I think the saints have a lot to teach us,” added Sister Bernadette Alfieri.
Principal Thomas Piro sees it as an interactive way of connecting students with their faith: a pillar of any Catholic school.
“It helps to see how active the faith can be and that it is not only something they should believe in, but to bring it to the next level,” he said, “and to be able to practice that and share that with others and to show how all of their beliefs can make a difference in the world.”
It’s a way of teaching that seems to be working. One student, Jaiden, took part in the performance three years ago but she still remembers everything she learned about her saint.
“My saint is Saint Gabriel the Archangel. He’s the messenger of God,” she recalled.
The school has been celebrating All Saints Day this way for about 10 year as part of a tradition that will surely continue on.