‘Tiny Saints’ are living their faith at SJN

By Jessica Tarentino and Richard Tabler

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. John Neumann Parish in Farragut now has a group of student affiliate members from St. John Neumann Church and School.

These students joined together with the goal of helping the needy and vulnerable in the community. The group recently elected officers and collectively chose the name “Tiny Saints.”

Three members of the Tiny Saints, Kate Pettinger, Gemma Deyo, and James Long talked about their first project, why they decided to join Tiny Saints, and their plans for future projects.

“We’re going out into the community and putting a smile on the faces of those in need. It made us feel really good to do that,” said Kate, president of Tiny Saints.

Their first service project involved sewing latches and crosses on prayer shawls for elderly residents at Summit View Nursing Home in Farragut. In December, members went to Summit View to sing Christmas carols, to give residents prayer shawls and prayer request cards, and to visit with them.

“We said a prayer for them before giving them their shawls. They were so happy we were there. One lady was so happy she was crying and didn’t want us to go,” said Gemma, the Tiny Saints secretary. Gemma joined the Tiny Saints because “I wanted to help others and make them smile,” she said.

“Our visit made their week,” said James. He said the goal of their work is “to spread the love of God to others who need it.”

“Joining the Tiny Saints was one of the only after-school activities that not only benefits me but benefits others as well,” he said.

“We’re getting to do things most kids our age don’t get to do,” said Kate. “We’re not only giving but getting things back. Helping others helps you, too.”

Some future projects will be collecting used books, making bookmarks, and donating them to service agencies that help the homeless, elderly, or children. The Tiny Saints will partner with members of St. Vincent de Paul to develop projects they can work on together.

“These children are living their faith in a difficult time in our world,” said the school representative to the Tiny Saints, Joanne Perkins. “As a member of St. Vincent de Paul, this calling brings joy and comfort to me. In the months that I have worked with our Tiny Saints ministry at St. John Neumann, I have seen this joy on the faces of our young members

“This special group of students is excited and devoted to the work they are doing. Their faithfulness to prayer and fellowship and their enthusiasm and love for their ministry is inspiring. We have received tremendous support from our parents and SJN School, especially Christina Deyo, our parent coordinator, and Sister Angela Niko. We all look forward each month to sharing ideas for assisting the less fortunate in our world. The Lord’s work is surely being carried out on the shoulders of these young people.”

Children or parents who would like more information may contact Joanne Perkins at joniperk@gmail.com, Sister Angela, or Christine Deyo at the school office at 865-966-4540.

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