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Back to School Renaissance

posted Aug 2, 2017, 10:55 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Aug 2, 2017, 11:23 AM ]

Back to School Blessings

New Director of North County Schools Signifies

Archdiocese and Parishes Partnering for Continued Excellence


One of the first steps toward implementing a Renaissance for Catholic Schools in North County has been taken: a new Director of North County Elementary Schools joined the Catholic Education Office this summer.  Rick Danzeisen will provide leadership and support to all North County Catholic elementary schools and the Federation of Catholic Schools as the Archdiocese’s Renaissance for Catholic Education gains momentum.

Rick Danzeisen, Director of North County Elementary Schools
Danzeisen has served as a Catholic School principal for 35 years, most recently at Our Lady of Lourdes in Washington, MO.  He brings enthusiasm and expertise to the table, as he will be working together with the school principals, pastors, and director of advancement to continue the collaboration of Catholic schools in North County, which has been ongoing since 2005.

“For many years now, we have been working hard at working together to continue excellence in Catholic education here in north county,” said Fr. Mike Henning, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish and pastor representative for the Federation of Catholic Schools. “Having a director from the archdiocese focused on the unique opportunities and challenges for our north county schools is another milestone in this collaboration. We are excited to have Rick join this important work.”

Danzeisen will spend much of his time on location in the 10 Catholic elementary schools in north county.  He will provide support and guidance to principals at all parish schools on administrative and curriculum issues, and identify programs and resources that are needed to ensure that all families in north county have access to excellent and affordable Catholic schools.

“I am very excited and honored to be the new Director of North County Catholic Elementary Schools,” said Danzeisen. “I look forward to working closely with principals and pastors to ensure viability, affordability and accessibility of Catholic education for all children in North County”


This new leadership position is one of several recommendations that Archbishop Robert J. Carlson approved in April 2017 after a series of meetings in January and follow-up Q&A led by the Archdiocese School Oversight Committee. While all nine schools in the federation are currently parish-based schools, that will change with the formation of the new partnership model school to be established between St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne parishes and the Archdiocese. The school will be one educational entity, governed by the members of the corporation (pastors, the archbishop, and superintendent of Catholic education) and a board of directors, and operated at the sites of each of the three existing schools. As a designee of the Superintendent of Catholic Education, Danzeisen will work with those pastors and principals to plan all the details, including the formation of a board of directors this fall, to ensure a smooth transition to the new partnership school, set to begin with when enrollment for 2018-19 starts in early 2018.

The recommendations also include a study of the Archdiocesan Elementary School (AES) model to be completed by October 2017. The AES model, which means that the school is run completely by the Archdiocese through the Catholic Education Office, is currently in use at three schools outside of north county.

In addition, starting in the 2018-19 school year, all schools will have access to funds from the archdiocese to enhance the quality of educational and religious education programs in North County. More details on the recommendations and history is available at www.FederationofCatholicSchools.org/renaissance.

In 2010, after several years of exploring ways to collaborate, the pastors of the Northeast Deanery first signed the agreement on the Federation of Catholic Schools. The federation helps all parishes, even those without schools, stay close to the mission of Catholic education in North County through collaborative programs such as Professional Learning Teams for teachers, Sacramental Preparation Retreats for 2nd, 7th and 8th grade students, joint marketing/advertising programs, and opportunities to seek grant funds in support of collaboration.

The federation agreement is renewed annually and now includes Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School and Parish, Christ Light of the Nations School (Holy Name of Jesus Parish), Holy Trinity Parish and School (joined for the 2017-18 school year) Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and School, Sacred Heart Parish and School, St. Angela Merici Parish, St. Ann Parish and School (joined in 2016-17), St. Ferdinand Parish and School (St. Martin De Porres Parish), St. Norbert School and Parish (St. Sabina Parish) and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Parish and School.  To learn more about the programs and goals of the Federation, or for application and enrollment information for any of the nine schools, please visit www.ExploreCatholicSchools.com.

North County Teachers Celebrate $100K Beyond Sunday Grant

posted May 10, 2017, 7:04 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated May 10, 2017, 7:06 AM ]

Over 100 teachers from the Federation of Catholic Schools gathered at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School in Florissant on May 5th for their final Professional Learning Team meeting of the school year. They learned more about the $100,000 Beyond Sunday grant that was awarded to the Federation of Catholic Schools for the 2017-18 school year.  Grant funds will provide one classroom set of Chromebooks for each Federation school, as well as access to a variety of professional development opportunities in using Google Gsuite as well as Differentiated Instruction techniques.  Each school will also have at least one teacher on staff who is or will become a certified Google educator. 

Sherri Kulpa and Jonathon Lee, representatives from EdPlus, led the teachers through an exercise to help identify what types of learning opportunities would be most beneficial for the various teachers individually and as part of their PLT.

To position the whole discussion, they showed this video clip. "When you know your WHY, your WHAT becomes more impactful because you're walking towards or in your PURPOSE."

North County Educators Attend NCEA17 in Downtown St. Louis

posted Apr 28, 2017, 2:09 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 2:18 PM ]


Christ Light of the Nations Prays for Peace

posted Jan 26, 2017, 8:59 AM by Cara Koen

Christ Light of the Nations principal, Sr. Mary Lawrence began this year encouraging us to pray for peace. She gave each of the teachers St. Francis’ prayer for peace so we could focus on being a conduit for peace.

In recent years, St. Louis has been challenged by violence and as a community and we are all saddened by it. We wanted to find a way to encourage everyone to work for peace beginning in our families and in our school so that through us, peace could spread to our communities.

This year our Christmas performance was entitled “Searching for Peace on Earth”. Through music, dance, scripture and prayer we looked to God for answers to find peace. We know that the world does not give us the right answers we need but in the end...

FOR can only come through faith. It can only come by imitating the
one who has come to show us PERFECT LOVE, love the world
cannot understand. If we can be one with Jesus, if we let Him dwell in

At that concert, our school unveiled a banner that we have placed on the fence by our school to encourage peace in our community. It includes a quote by Gandhi that says, “Be the Change you want to see in the World”


Christmas Performances by Northeast Deanery Children's Choir

posted Dec 9, 2016, 9:58 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 9, 2016, 9:58 AM ]

The Northeast Deanery Children’s Choir will be singing in a Christmas concert at the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine on Sunday, December 11. The concert begins at 3:00 pm. On Tuesday, December 20, they will perform at the Missouri Veteran’s Home. At 4:00 pm on Christmas Eve the Choir will sing their Concert of Carols at Holy Name of Jesus Church, and then lead the singing for the Christmas Vigil Mass at 4:30 pm. The Choir is composed of children from Holy Name of Jesus (Christ, Light of the Nations School), Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. For more information contact the director, Theresa McWilliams at tmacwms@sbcglobal.net.

Second Grade Students Prepare for Reconciliation and Eucharist with Special Retreat Days

posted Oct 26, 2016, 8:52 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 9, 2016, 10:20 AM ]

Thanks to grant funding from The Koch Foundation, a Catholic foundation committed to supporting a variety of evangelization efforts, over 250 2nd grade students from the nine schools in the Federation of Catholic Schools are experiencing a very special retreat day at Pallottine Renewal Center this fall. On October 3, students from Sacred Heart, St. Angela Merici and St. Ann Normandy were the first group to "get away" from the classroom for a day at the retreat center, where they were led in song, stories, playtime and prayer time by Sister Laura, Sister Adrienne and Sister Guadalupe (Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart). The Sacred Heart Sisters greeted students and welcomed them in the chapel, then moved to the conference room for a talk about Reconciliation. After a morning break, the students heard another beautiful story about the Eucharist. Then they enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken tenders and homemade macaroni and cheese. In the afternoon they worked on a craft activity together, and then celebrated Mass with Fr. RajPaul. Students from St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert and Our Lady of Guadalupe had their turn to participate in this wonderful day on October 17th. The third and final group of students from Christ Light of the Nations, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and St. Sabina PSR will gather at Pallottine Renewal Center on November 3rd.

2nd Grade Retreat Day - Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert

2nd Grade Retreat at Pallotine Oct. 3 - Sacred Heart, St. Ann and St. Angela Merici

2nd Grade Retreat Day at Pallottine - Nov. 3 - St. Rose, Christ Light of the Nations, Blessed Teresa, St. Sabina PSR

Update from Fr. Jim Mitulski on Northeast Deanery School Planning

posted Oct 25, 2016, 11:31 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Oct 25, 2016, 11:31 AM ]

October 25, 2016

Dear Northeast County Deanery Parishioners and Members of our Catholic School Community,

Recently I have heard many rumors concerning the future of Catholic Education in the Northeast County Deanery, of which your parish is a part. I want to share with you what is really happening.

Throughout our Archdiocese and throughout the country, the number of students attending Catholic schools has been on a decline. The Archdiocese of St. Louis has been one of the shining examples of quality Catholic education in the country. Archbishop Carlson wants to preserve this charism of quality Catholic education in the Archdiocese. As the student population in Catholic schools has decreased in many deaneries across the Archdiocese, Archbishop Carlson has called on each deanery to explore the best way to insure the continuation of quality Catholic education for the long term throughout the Archdiocese. Since each deanery has its own strengths and challenges, the Archbishop recognizes that this planning needs to be done separately for each deanery.

Under the direction of Bishop Edward Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese and chair of the Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee, two listening sessions were held in the Northeast County Deanery. These listening sessions took place in April and May of 2016 and had two purposes. Bishop Rice wanted to hear the concerns surrounding Catholic education from representatives of the deanery. He also wanted to share the statistical analysis of Catholic population trends in our area. These trends indicated a need to begin planning for a new approach in assuring quality Catholic education in the Northeast Deanery. The first listening session included the pastors of the parishes in the Northeast County Deanery. The pastors were then asked to invite two representatives from their parish council, two from their school board and two from the parish finance committee. The same group of people was invited to the second meeting along with the principals of the parish schools.

When Bishop Rice was appointed the Bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, Monsignor Mark Rivituso, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was appointed by Archbishop Carlson to take his place as his representative to the School Oversight Committee. At the time of Monsignor’s appointment there were two deaneries in process of searching for the best possible solution as to how to ensure quality Catholic education in their deanery. These two deaneries are the Northeast County Deanery and the South St. Louis City Deanery.

Monsignor Rivituso considered the reports from the two deaneries and examined the concerns of the laity and clergy of these deaneries. He along with the Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee determined that the deaneries were asking for more assistance from the Archdiocese. To assist the deaneries Monsignor Rivituso and the School Oversight Committee appointed three individuals to study the South City Deanery and the Northeast County Deanery. The individuals selected include:
  • Mrs. Maureen DePriest, Associate Superintendent for Elementary School Administration for the Archdiocese
  • Mr. Mike Duffy, Director of Internal Audit for the Archdiocese
  • Mr. Al Winkelmann, retired Associate Superintendent for the Archdiocese. 

Since July 1, 2016 these three individuals have been:

  • interviewing each pastor individually, 
  • collaborating with the Archdiocesan offices of Catholic Education, Finance, Hispanic Ministry, Internal Audit, Pastoral Planning, and Today and the Tomorrow Foundation in understanding the needs and challenges facing the deanery, 
  • collecting and analyzing data and statistics in the areas of: 
    • demographics: parish, school, and city/county population trends 
    • enrollment: history and projections 
    • programs: Catholic identity and academics 
    • facilities: Capacity, Space Utilization, AC, Facility Issues 
    • finances: budgets, offertory, school investment, parish reserves. 
In a nutshell, they have been studying all of the above data and preparing a report for the School Oversight Committee. The report will have a specific plan for the deanery that will be presented to the deanery offering an opportunity for response.

The report is nearing completion at this time and, as a result, no recommendations have been presented. What you are hearing are rumors. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit that we are all open to His plan so that he can show us the way to share our faith with our children.


Very Reverend James Mitulski, VF

Pastor, St. Norbert

Dean, Northeast County Deanery

A footnote:

For those of who may not be familiar with the term “deanery,” the Archdiocese of St. Louis is divided into smaller sections of parishes called deaneries. The Archbishop then appoints a Dean for each deanery. The job of the dean is twofold:
  • assisting parishes in carrying out the mission of the Church as expressed by the Archbishop 
  • bringing to the Archbishop the concerns articulated by the local church (the deanery). 

“Living Mercy” Rally at Trinity Catholic High School on September 16

posted Sep 9, 2016, 9:01 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Sep 19, 2016, 11:33 AM ]

REAP Team Leads Retreat Day for Junior High Students from
8 Northeast Deanery Schools and Parishes

On Friday, September 16 Trinity Catholic High School’s gymnasium (1720 Redman Road, 63138) will be filled with music and over 250 kids and adults in colorful t-shirts as Northeast Deanery junior high students come together for the 10th Annual Northeast Deanery Confirmation Rally with the theme “Living Mercy.”  This opportunity to praise and worship God while interacting with their peers from other schools and parishes will help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ as they journey through their junior high years and prepare to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in the spring.   Students from the following schools and parish PSR programs will be in attendance:  Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Christ Light of the Nations, Sacred Heart, St. Angela Merici, St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and St. Sabina.

The REAP Team, led by Paul Masek and Rachel Leininger, will facilitate the day, which begins at 9:00 a.m. with a fun icebreaker activity, “Musical Hot Potato.” Then, Paul and Rachel will present “10 Ways to Ruin Your Confirmation,” followed by small group discussion facilitated by adult leaders.  Before lunch, the group will split for “Girls and Guys” sessions. The afternoon has a new format this year, with three breakout sessions that small groups will be rotating through.  In the gymnasium, Dr. Jonathan Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Engagement at Saint Louis University will speak on Peace & Justice.  In the chapel, Paul and Rachel will present about the healing power of Reconciliation. And in the cafeteria Fr. Chris Martin, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, will invite teens to begin thinking and praying about what God wants them to do with their lives.  After the breakout sessions, everyone will return to the gymnasium for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and preparation for the closing mass at 3:00 p.m., celebrated by Fr. Martin.

This is the 10th year that Deacon Bill Twellmann from St. Norbert has organized the Confirmation Rally for all Northeast Deanery parishes and schools.  “It’s a great experience for the kids,” said Deacon Bill. “They receive some excellent faith formation from the REAP Team and have an opportunity to get to know one another and realize they are not alone in their faith journey, that hundreds of other kids are right here with them in their community.” 

The confirmation rally is a collaborative program of the Federation of Catholic Schools. This year partial funding for the rally was provided through a grant from The Koch Foundation, a Catholic foundation committed to supporting a variety of evangelization efforts.

The pastors and principals from the eight Catholic elementary schools and 10 parishes of the Northeast Deanery of the Archdiocese of St. Louis have been collaborating as the Federation of Catholic Schools since 2010.  To learn more about the programs and goals of the Federation, please visit www.FederationofCatholicSchools.org.

Living Mercy Confirmation Rally 2016

PLTs Take the STEM Challenge - Teachers Learn Basics of STEM Learning

posted Sep 6, 2016, 12:40 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Sep 6, 2016, 12:41 PM ]

The Federation of Catholic Schools Professional Learning Teams gathered on September 2nd at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Florissant for their first meeting of the 2016-17 school year.  The full group of teachers and principals received a hands-on introduction to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning by Dr. Ray Wicks and Mrs. Sue Geiseke, who have provided this training to Catholic educators in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for the past three years through a grant by Monsanto to the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation.  Pictured are the teachers working in small groups in the "create" stage of the challenge.  

Back to School 2016

posted Aug 22, 2016, 9:49 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Aug 22, 2016, 9:52 AM ]

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