Gesu School Celebrates Easter at Rosemont
“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”
– Janine di Giovanni
All three of those symbols were present at Rosemont College on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 as the College hosted visitors from the Gesu School (located in North Philadelphia) for a variety of Easter-related activities.
Beginning the day promptly at 10 a.m. guests from the Gesu School’s first grade class joined the Rosemont College student-volunteers for an Easter Egg Hunt on Connelly Green followed by a dance party, pizza lunch, and festive Easter crafts.
Co-sponsored by Rosemont’s Campus Ministry and Leadership and Engagement offices, the Easter celebration has been a long-standing partnership between the College and the Gesu School. Erin Williamson, first grade teacher at the Gesu School, has seen this partnership in action personally for the past eight years.
“The kids look forward to this every year,” Williamson said. “It gets them out (of the city) and a lot of the kids (at Gesu) don’t often get to experience something like this, so it’s just a good thing for everybody involved,” she added.
Kerry Madden, Coordinator of Cornelian Services Corps within the College’s Campus Ministry department is responsible for organizing the event, gathering the student-volunteers, and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Madden said, “In Campus Ministry, we feel that service is mutual – that is we are both giving and receiving when in true service with one another.”
She added, “With the Gesu School, we can offer them a safe, green space to celebrate Easter with our passionate and friendly Rosemont community, and the Gesu School shares their energy, enthusiasm and spirit with us, allowing us to take a step back from our busy lives to celebrate the blessing of Easter.”
The Gesu parish was once a cornerstone of the Philadelphia community beginning in the late 1800s. The parish ultimately was forced to close its doors in 1993, yet at the time of the closing, the Archdiocese requested that the Jesuits and sisters keep Gesu School open — not as a parish-supported institution, but as an independent school.
Gesu became Philadelphia’s first Catholic school of its kind, blazing the way for the Catholic mission schools that would follow 20 years later. Through the efforts and the contributions of many hard-working leaders, educators, and volunteers, Gesu School has not only survived — it has succeeded in becoming a national model for inner-city schooling.
The College thanks all involved in planning and executing and hopes the Gesu students had a wonderful time!