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St. Francis ends the year on a high note

T-R photos by Anna Shearer Father Michael McAndrew prays with St. Francis teachers and students on Thursday.

While many summer traditions have been canceled this year, St. Francis Catholic School has found a way to uphold a meaningful event.

On Thursday afternoon, St. Francis staff, teachers and students met for the Irish Blessing. The blessing has been a tradition for nearly ten years at the school’s end of the year Mass, but this time was a little different.

Attendees met in the St. Henry’s parking lot with students in their cars. For those who could not attend, the event was posted on the school’s Facebook page.

Holly Erbes, a kindergarten teacher at St. Francis and organizer of the event, said the Irish Blessing is an important end of the year event.

“On the last day of school, all the staff and teachers gather at the front of the church, extend their hands out to the students, and sing this special blessing to them,” she said.

According to Erbes, the blessing is a way to wrap up the school year and is often an emotional experience.

“You almost always see tears of sadness, but also tears of joy, as students and teachers reflect and reminisce about their year at St. Francis. This tradition is especially emotional for the sixth grade class, as it is the last time they hear this blessing sung from their SFC Family,” she said.

For the students who completed their last year at St. Francis, the Irish Blessing served as a celebration of their time at the school and a send off to the schools they will attend next fall.

Erbes said it was important to still be able to perform the blessing despite the current challenges.

“For us, the Irish Blessing at our end of the year Mass is definitely something that resonates with students and staff alike and is unique to our school,” she said. “In finding a way to still make it happen, even if most of our students only see it online, would pull our school community together in a way that we need most during this time!”  

While there are many limitations during this time, it is as important as ever to connect with the community.

Marshalltown is proving once again that its strength comes from the hard work of caring individuals and the love residents have for one another.

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Contact Anna Shearer at ashearer@timesrepublican.com

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