By Tim Harfmann
On October 1, students at St. Catherine of Genoa~Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Catholic Academy honored Saint Thérèse at the Brooklyn church bearing her name.
Flowers graced the East Flatbush church and surrounded a statue of the nineteenth-century saint on her feast day.
Father Rony Mendes serves the parish and wants students to always keep their patroness in mind.
At Mass, he put students to the test. “What do you know about Saint Thérèse?” he asked during his homily.
“Her nickname was ‘the Little Flower’ because she always had a flower. She would always offer everything up to God that she had,” answered Alanni West, a sixth grader.
“She devoted her life and all her time to worship God and follow His path and teachings,” added Jared Pierre, an eight grader.
At the age of 15, Thérèse wanted to become a Carmelite nun and turned to Pope Pius XIII for help.
“The pope said, ‘Do what your superiors decide.’ And by that he meant God,” explained seventh grader Joli Pierre of the saint who lived a cloistered life in France.
She died from tuberculosis in 1897 at the age of 24.
Saint Pope John Paul II named her a Doctor of the Church, a rare recognition for saints who have made great contributions to the faith.
“Whatever we do, St. Thérèse invites us to do it with confidence and love,” said Fr. Mendes.
“Seeing that she was only 15 makes me seem like I could do a lot more, like help around the Church, be an altar server,” said Jared, who learned how St. Thérèse gave her life to God at a young age.
Through their Catholic education, children learn about many saints and the importance of praying through their intercessions.
“They’re powerful,” said Alanni. “You send messages to them, and they send them up to God.”
The parish’s celebration culminated with another Mass and a procession to honor their patroness.