Catholic school inspires faith in action

NEW SMYRNA BEACH | On weekends, twins Patrick and Thomas can often be found lacing up their running shoes and crossing finish lines as they participate in numerous 5ks throughout the year. But their hobby isn’t just for the fun of it, or even just a way to stay healthy. “We run because it is the right thing to do for others,” said Patrick, who with his family runs to raise money for charities.

Patrick and his twin brother, Thomas, are eighth grade students at Sacred Heart Catholic School in New Smyrna Beach. Their older siblings, Claire and Colin, are alumni of Sacred Heart and now attend Father Lopez Catholic High School. They all began running at a young age, inspired by their father, Sean, who picked up the sport while serving in the Navy.

“Our Dad inspires us to run and to be the best person we can be,” said Thomas.

Initially, the family ran together to explore new places and to enjoy time together. But when a colleague of Sean’s was diagnosed with breast cancer, the family did a cancer run together to show their support. Since then the children have continued using their love of sports in service of others, including coaching teams in the Special Olympics in track and field, soccer, swimming, and stand-up paddle boarding.

“My wife and I have enjoyed the experience so much for our children because it gives them a very different perspective on sports than they often get with their day-to-day experiences,” said Sean. “It helps show them what sport is really all about.”

While the twins may credit their father for their love of running, he credits their Catholic education and the staff at Sacred Heart for instilling in his children a heart for service and the desire to put their faith in action.

“Those boys’ big hearts have absolutely been grown at Sacred Heart Catholic School and I think that almost all of the credit has to go to their religious studies teacher, Mrs. Maria Bilodeau,” expressed Sean. “There are so many abstract concepts taught in religious class and so many stories that are ancient history, it is hard for young students to wrap their brains around it all and make it all relevant in today’s world. It is the teachers who make it real for them and they adore Mrs. Bilodeau. She stands as a great example for them as well as an incredible advocate.”

Ace Reporter Reese A., an eighth-grader at Sacred Heart Catholic School, contributed to this article.

By Elizabeth Wilson of the Florida Catholic January 29, 2020