Faith and Service
At the heart of the Cristo Rey Columbus community is our faith in Jesus Christ, and a commitment to nurture the faith of all students. This all happens in an atmosphere of mutual respect and concern for all members of our Cristo Rey Columbus community – students, teachers, staff, and families.
As a Catholic school, we are sponsored by the Diocese of Columbus; we follow the diocesan curriculum for Theology, which outlines theological studies for each of a student’s four years. We also share our faith, and our shared values, through:
The Cristo Rey community regularly gathers for all-school prayer, including Catholic masses for Holy Days of Obligation, Spanish Heritage Month, and Ash Wednesday, and prayer services such as Stations of the Cross, Black History Month and Women’s History Month. In addition, each grade level holds its own Chapel Time monthly, which is planned and run by students with relevant topics in mind.
Every year, each grade level is able to commune with one another and with God through retreat. Each one is purposefully crafted to be relevant to students’ lives and enriching to their faith, with themes such as “Servant Leadership” and “Be Who God Meant You to Be.”
Our Catholic Christian values call us to follow Christ’s example of humble service to humanity. Service is one of our five pillars, the core values of our school, so students are required to give their time and energy in the community each year, in places such as local parishes, soup kitchens, and nursing homes.
Mamoudou is a student that approaches his social concern action with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. As a sophomore, he organized a 3-on-3 basketball tournament involving 300 youth and over 10 business partners, including the Reeb Avenue Center and the Columbus Literacy Council. The goal of the event was to bring youth together for a day of positive play and empowerment. Late in 2019, after the shooting death of a 13-year-old by another 14-year-old in Columbus, he recognized that in the youth community there seemed to be justification for gun violence. He wanted to bring awareness to this issue and find a way to “demote gun violence and promote youth success and greatness.” Mamoudou organized and promoted the first ever “Guns Down, Prayers Up” motivational summit for youth.
Hosted by the Columbus Main Library, the summit provided four workshops, all designed to create hope, and confidence-building techniques for youth to say no to gun violence. The youth were inspired to create new pathways to success. Enlisting the help of the Columbus Police Department with Officer A.J., a popular local “dancing cop,” as guest speaker, the summit drew over 200 participants. This spring Mamoudou is planning another “Guns Down, Prayers Up” rally at the State House. “Mamoudou is a kid on fire! He has such a big, clear vision for the changes he wants to see in the world, and especially how he sees himself and his peers as agents of that change. He never seems to run out of ideas or energy for the actions he wants to take next,” says Sarah Saliba, Cristo Rey Columbus Campus Minister.
The students at Cristo Rey Columbus are passionate about their responsibility to serve others. During her freshman year, Paige saw a need for frank discussion around topics of social issues and community problems, and then leveraged the student body to find ways to mitigate those issues. She brought her ideas to Cristo Rey Columbus World History teacher, Amy Zalimas, and asked for support to create a social justice club.
With a core group of five, the social justice club has organized drives to collect and distribute hats, gloves, and boots to the homeless population in Columbus, and create warm blankets for the families at the Ronald McDonald House. The most recent endeavor is a drive to provide uniform items for students in need. “My goal as a teacher of World History is to get my students thinking outward, thinking of the world beyond what they know, and to recognize the importance of playing an active role in making meaning of the past and impacting the future. These students are already doing that; they have a heart for service, and they are looking at the problems and challenges facing their generation and meeting them head on,” says Ms. Zalimas.