Our Good News

Bishop Rice Celebrates 8th Grade Mass for Catholic Schools Week

posted Jan 26, 2015, 10:02 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Jan 26, 2015, 12:07 PM ]

On Monday, January 26th hundreds of 8th grade students from 10 Catholic schools from Region 2 gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Mass. Bishop Rice celebrated the Mass, and in his homily reflected on the theme for this week: Faith, Knowledge and Service.  He noted that what is unique about our schools is not so much that we do service, but that we serve in the name of Jesus Christ. Catholic schools help students seek knowledge not just in academics but also spiritual knowledge.  And most importantly, our Catholic Schools help students grow in Faith.  He concluded with a question: "Have you opened your heart?" asking students to reflect on how they have responded to the call of faith, knowledge and service during their time at their Catholic elementary school.

The Region 2 Schools Include:
  • Academy at St. Sabina
  • Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
  • Christ Light of the Nations
  • Holy Trinity
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Sacred Heart
  • St. Ann 
  • St. Angela Merici
  • St. Ferdinand
  • St. Norbert
  • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
A student from each school read a brief summary and token of their school's patron at the beginning of Mass, and after Communion placed a rose near the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe while singing "Lady of Roses."

Catholic Schools as Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service

Here are some photos from the Mass:

Catholic Schools Week in the News

posted Jan 23, 2015, 9:37 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Jan 23, 2015, 9:19 PM ]

Check out the Federation of Catholic Schools featured in our two local North County newspapers this week:

Community News - January 21, 2015
The Independent News - January 22, 2015
St. Louis Review - January 21, 2015

Christ Light of the Nations 4th Graders Share Creativity with Younger Students

posted Dec 8, 2014, 2:11 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 8, 2014, 2:11 PM ]

Fourth graders at Christ Light of the Nations share their creativity with younger students.
The fourth graders at Christ Light of the Nations School spent the first quarter reading a chapter book and rewriting it into a children's book with illustrations for their first book report of the year. Students read each chapter and summarized the main ideas into a few sentences with a drawing on each page. They tried to rewrite the plot into a format that would be easy for small children to under-stand. Last Monday the fourth grade visited the first grade and shared their books with them. It was a blustery morning, perfect for cuddling up with a good story. The fourth grade was excited to share all of their hard work with others. Thanks to the first graders for being such a wonderful audience.

News from St. Angela Merici School

posted Dec 8, 2014, 2:05 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 8, 2014, 2:06 PM ]

St. Angela Merici Student Council sponsored a Food Drive for T.E.A.M. and collected 55 paper boxes of cans which is over 1,600 cans of food. We had a great time collecting -- we celebrated macaroni Monday, tuna Tuesday, wacky Wednesday, anything Thursday, cereal Friday! We also prayed each day for the poor that God would continue to bless them and aid them in finding employment.

Our Advent theme this year is "Bringing Christ into our World." We take a minute each day and ask ourselves how have we been Christ in our school community?" We then take a paper copy of a Christmas light and write what we have done, we then color the light and string the light on a piece of yarn in our hallways. We pray we are brightening our school with our Christ-like actions!

On the feast of St. Nick, our pastor, Monsignor Mitas dressed up as St. Nick and talked to the primary students about St. Nick. The students really enjoyed this and can now see that St. Nick is not the same as Santa Claus.

St. Nicholas Visits St. Angela Merici Students


Students Learn How to Be Ambassadors for their Schools

posted Oct 24, 2014, 7:01 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Oct 24, 2014, 7:02 AM ]

Middle School Student Ambassador Workshop

Students from St. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Catholic Parish & School, St. Norbert Catholic Church, and St. Ferdinand Catholic Parish and School participated in the middle school student ambassador workshop this afternoon with several other schools from the archdiocese. They learned how to best represent their schools and themselves to visitors and when they are out in the community. Thanks to Sue Brown, the Catholic Education Center's Director of Marketing and Community Relations for providing this training for us!

SSM DePaul Health Center and Federation of Catholic Schools Establish Partnership to Support Student and Family Wellness through CatholicFIT Program

posted Oct 23, 2014, 12:14 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Nov 17, 2014, 9:08 AM ]

NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – October 23, 2014 – The Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools and SSM De Paul Health Center are pleased to announce plans to work together to promote health and wellness within the 8 Catholic elementary schools of the Northeast Deanery.  SSM DePaul will provide financial support for implementation of the CatholicFIT program in 3rd and 6th grade classrooms, as well as resources and professional expertise for addressing childhood obesity.

“We are excited to participate in this important project,” said Sean J. Hogan, President, SSM DePaul Health Center. “Obesity is an important disease that we all need to address as a community.  Being a health care provider who is a regional leader in weight loss, this is an area that we have particular expertise.  Also being driven by our mission and values rooted in the same Catholic teaching makes this partnership a perfect match.  We look forward to the process and the results for our kids.”

Third and sixth grade students will be focusing on the 10 CatholicFIT principles during their regular physical education classes in the spring of 2015.  The CatholicFIT program, which connects Christian values and faith with healthy and fit lifestyle habits, was developed by Dave Reddy, MS, CSCS, an expert health and fitness coach and owner of Reddy Health & Performance. Reddy is also a parishioner and school parent at St. Ferdinand Parish.  Reddy will coach the PE teachers at each school as part of their participation in the Federation’s Professional Learning Teams. 

Reddy sees a strong connection between faith and fitness, between spiritual and physical health, and notes that elementary school is an ideal time for kids to start noticing and reflecting on this connection. “Being CatholicFIT is not about being super holy and super fit—it is about offering universal, values-based programs for our children so when they struggle in either area throughout life, they look back upon this experience for guidance and support,” says Reddy. 

In addition to time spent in the PE classroom, students and their families will have the opportunity to access this health and fitness expertise through weekly e-mail messages from Reddy.  They will also be invited to attend CatholicFIT workshops at various times and locations, where they can further learn from the experts how to put the principles to work in their daily life as a family.

“By working together as a Federation to support innovative ideas like CatholicFIT, our parishes and schools can engage experts from within our communities to enhance the education we provide students,” said Father Mike Henning, pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Parish and pastor representative for the Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools.  “We are grateful for this new partnership with SSM DePaul Health Center. Together we are going to serve the needs in our community much more effectively.”

# # #

About SSM DePaul Health Center

SSM DePaul Health Center is a 478-bed, full-service hospital and a member of SSM Health Care-St. Louis located near the intersection of Interstates 70 and 270 in north St. Louis County. Founded in 1828, DePaul was the first hospital west of the Mississippi River and remains the oldest continuously existing business in St. Louis. Today DePaul is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, operates the only Level II Trauma Center in its service region and offers the most advanced technology and procedures available including minimally invasive heart, spine, knee, hip and weight loss surgery.. To learn more, visit www.ssmdepaul.com.

About the Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools

The Federation of Catholic Schools is a formal agreement between the pastors of the eleven parishes in the Northeast Deanery of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to work more closely together in support of the mission of Catholic education in the North County community.  To learn more about the programs and goals of the Federation, please visit www.FederationofCatholicSchools.org.

Trinity Football Coach Leon Hite Brings Message of Opportunity to Parents and Teachers

posted Oct 14, 2014, 6:54 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Oct 14, 2014, 6:55 AM ]

Coach Leon Hite, head football coach at Trinity Catholic High School and Director of Security for Jennings School District spoke to a group of parents, teachers, principals and pastors from the schools and parishes of the Northeast Deanery Federation on Tuesday, October 7th at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Catholic Church.   The purpose of the meeting was to provide a new perspective on the events and issues that have emerged over the past two months in Ferguson.

Coach Hite encouraged attendees to not let FEAR (“False Evidence Appearing Real”) take over their thoughts and actions, but instead to focus on “WWW” –

  • “Who” are we concerned about as teachers and parents? Our student and children 
  • “When” – right now in the midst of stress and unrest in our community 
  • “Why” – because we love our kids and they are our future leaders

Hite explained that the current events and their portrayal in the media can cause fear, but by focusing on the who, when and why we have the opportunity to affirm the valuable strengths of our schools and communities and build relationships to address areas where improvement is needed.

Attendees broke into small groups for discussion and sharing about the main strengths they see in the Catholic schools and parishes of North County, along with identifying some areas where they see improvement is needed.  The groups shared their thoughts, which included strengths such as the safe and welcoming environments at each school and education rooted in Christian values, along with areas for improvement including more training for parents and teachers, continuing to share the good news about Catholic schools, and working on building relationships in the neighborhoods and communities that the schools serve.  The full list of strengths and opportunities to improve will be shared and discussed by the pastors and principals at their November meeting.

Father Tom Wyrsch, pastor at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, summarized Coach Hite’s presentation by saying, “We have to connect with the ‘why’ that we are here – in our parishes and in particular our schools and not let fear drive us off from what we believe and why we are here.  Our Catholic schools are a real prize, and we have to stay committed to that.”

Principals Honored at 30 Leaders in their Thirties Luncheon

posted Sep 26, 2014, 2:55 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Sep 29, 2014, 2:41 PM ]

Congratulations to Mrs. Govero, principal at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School, and Mrs. Davis, principal at St. Ferdinand School, who were honored on Friday, Sept. 26 at the 30 Leaders in their Thirties luncheon at Norwood Hills Country Club. Recipients are honored for their leadership and commitment in the North County community. North County, Inc. Regional Development Association sponsors the event each year.

To learn more about Mrs. Govero, Mrs. Davis and all 30 of the leaders, click here to view the Community News event program.

Mrs. Govero was joined by her husband Mike and Father Robert Rosebrough, pastor at BTC.

Father Tom Haley, pastor at St. Ferdinand, attended the award luncheon with Mrs. Davis.

The Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools is a member of North County Inc.


Northeast Deanery Confirmation Rally

posted Sep 9, 2014, 12:57 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Sep 30, 2014, 5:59 AM ]

Over 250 7th and 8th Grade students who are preparing for Confirmation came together from across the Northeast Deanery on Monday, September 22nd for a Youth Rally at Trinity Catholic High School. Throughout the day the students had an opportunity to interact with their peers from other schools and parishes, helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ as they prepare for Confirmation.

      Paul Masek and Rachel Allen of the Archdiocese of St. Louis' REAP Team led the day with witness talks, "stupid human tricks," small group discussions and a scavenger hunt.  Music ministers Karl Zimmerman and Chris Lightner led everyone in contemporary songs of praise and worship. During the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, students had the opportunity to receive either the sacrament of reconciliation or a special blessing from one of the priests in attendance.

     Deacon Bill Twellman, pastoral associate at St. Norbert Parish organized this special day for the 9th year. "If we touch just one of these young people's hearts with this retreat, then we have succeeded," said Deacon Bill. He gave the homily during the closing Mass and invited 12 participants to come forward and share one gift God has blessed them with. He reminded everyone present that God is calling each of them to share their gifts and talents and spread the good news of the Gospel in their daily lives, making "disciples of all nations."

This slideshow provides a few snapshots from this beautiful day:

New School Year Brings New Students, Leaders and Continued Commitment to Collaboration

posted Aug 21, 2014, 11:38 AM by Cara Koen

NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – August 13, 2014 – Principals, teachers, pastors and parents are in the "Back to School" spirit as the eight Catholic elementary schools located in the Northeast Deanery of the Archdiocese of St. Louis open their doors to students and their bright, smiling faces for the 2014-15 school year.

New Computer Lab at St. Angela
While students were enjoying swimming pools and lazy summer days, schools have been doing their annual summer cleaning and planning. St. Angela Merici School, for example, installed a new technology lab with 30 computer stations ready to enhance student learning. The school also received hand-carved crucifixes as a gift from a closed city school, engraved with "Through Christ our Lord," which is the theme the school has adopted for the coming year.
Through Christ Our Lord

As the new school year begins, several leaders are settling in to their new roles within the deanery. Three parishes are welcoming new pastors: Father Tim Henderson at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Msgr. Matthew Mitas at St. Angela Merici Parish and School, and Father Tom Haley at St. Ferdinand Parish & School. St. Norbert School has a new principal, Mr. Dave Watkins and assistant principal, Ms. Julie Hayes.

Mr. Kenneth Morr, principal at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School will now serve as the principal representative for the Federation, replacing Ms. Lois Vollmer, principal at Sacred Heart School who had this role for the past two years. Father Mike Henning, pastor at
Holy Name of Jesus Parish, will be interim pastor representative for the Federation.

"For almost 10 years leaders in Catholic education have sustained a renewed commitment to the value of Catholic schools in our community," said Father Henning. "A faith-based and values-based education reinforces the work of community and business leaders in their responsibility for thriving cities and healthy neighborhoods."

Continuing collaborative programs of the Federation include Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) Teachers from all eight schools gather regularly throughout the school year, by grade level in lower grades and by subject area in the upper grades. Principals are observing a positive impact from their teachers’ participation in PLTs. "Our Lady of Guadalupe is definitely a better school because of our faculty's participation in the PLTs," said Peggy O'Brien, principal at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School. "The PLTs provide a network for the teachers where they can share ideas, successes and challenges with one another, providing a source of encouragement and problem-solving that did not previously exist for our teachers. Over the past few years this has brought a new level of excellence to our classrooms."

CatholicFIT, a fitness education and wellness program that was piloted in the 6th grade physical education classes last year will return in the spring to help students and their families connect their faith and Christian values with tools and techniques for becoming more healthy and fit. The program was developed by St. Ferdinand parishioner, Dave Reddy, who is a health and physical fitness expert and consults with the physical education teachers in their PLT on the development of this program curriculum.

"Because of the Federation, administrators and their faculties of our schools are becoming stronger leaders and more effective educators," said Father Henning. Their commitment to curriculum development and methods of teaching, to collaboration in professional development, and to the stewardship of the resources available for the operation of our schools is worthy of praise and much community support."

Financially, hundreds of students in Federation schools continue to benefit from the archdiocesan Alive in Christ Scholarship Program, which offers scholarships of $1,000-$2,000 based on financial need to students entering a Catholic elementary school in the Archdiocese in Kindergarten - 4th grade, as well as to those students currently enrolled in a Catholic school whose families qualify. Each school can provide additional details for how to apply for the scholarships, and more information is available at www.archstl.org/ttef.

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