On Thursday, September 6, Father Jerry Cestare, chaplain at McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School, Riverhead, performed the “Blessing of the Backpacks” for the more than 100 7th-and-8th graders in the courtyard of the junior high school.
As the new school year begins, Blessing of the Backpacks is not only a way to bless the students and their teachers who seek to learn and grow, but is a time where students reflect and understand the opportunities in life that await them. Symbolically, the backpacks enable the students to reflect on how they will fill their lives over the course of the school year, spiritually, academically and socially. According to Father Cestare, “the backpack represents their whole life. The Blessing of the Backpacks is a way of starting the students off on the right foot as they begin the school year.”