Justice Awareness Mass – Reflections


At St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s annual Justice Awareness Mass, students Anya Montgomery and Sophie Ondrusek shared their reflections on awareness, service and justice. Students from St. Michael’s Special School were guests and participated in the Mass. They also enjoyed lunch on campus with the Dominican community.


The school’s annual food drive officially began at the end of Mass. The Lion King is the theme for this year’s drive, with competition between religion classes to collect the canned goods. It will be the 16th year Dominican has done an annual food drive, the largest school food drive in the Greater New Orleans area. The food drive supports the Second Harvest Food Bank during the summer months when Second Harvest historically experiences a decrease in food donations.

Anya Montgomery


On behalf of the student body, we would like to welcome all the students, faculty and parents who are visiting from St. Michael’s Special School. It is such an honor to be able to worship together with you today!

I, like many of you, was a Girl Scout for a very long time. I distinctly remember two things from this experience (apart from the awesome cookies, of course).

The first thing I remember is that we always had our meetings at our friend Lizzie’s house. Lizzie is an absolutely beautiful human being and she, like these students, attends St. Michael’s Special School. Lizzie is one of those people who will be anyone’s friend and finds joy from helping her community. She, at a very young age, understood that being sweet and kind to the people around her could do a great deal of good for the world.

The second thing that stands out in my memory is our Girl Scout friendship circle. In this circle, we crossed arms, held hands, and then everyone passed a silent wish with a squeeze; the hand squeeze was passed from hand to hand completely around the circle. That squeeze around the circle signified an eternal trust and love for and from every girl in that group to the other. It is important to remember and know that a simple gesture like a hand squeeze or hug can sometimes spread love better than any string of words can. Kindness is contagious, so spread it around as best you can.

Sophie Ondrusek

This Mass marks the beginning of the Canned Food drive at Dominican. Every year it becomes a friendly competition between religion classes and every year we are told that it is not all about the competition, but the act of giving to the poor. When we think of the poor, we often think of the starving children in Africa. However, we have those suffering living in our very own streets and city. The Canned Food Drive gives us the opportunity to help those who hunger in our own backyard.

Now, how can one single person help this cause? Let me demonstrate. I will start by snapping my fingers by myself.


That wasn’t very loud now was it?

Now I ask the eighth grade and St. Michael’s students to join me.

Now I ask the freshmen to join in. Now the sophomores. Now the juniors. Finally the seniors.

See how loud the snapping was compared to how I started? One single can, just like one person snapping, may not make that big of an impact. However, 1,000 single cans will make an impact in our community. So I ask, no, I beg you, to find the love in your heart to donate at least one can during this food drive, and together, only together, united, can we really make a difference.

Thank you!