News Notes: May 26, 2011

| May 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

North Minneapolis tornado shatters church window

At least one parish in North Minneapolis sustained damage as a result of the tornado that ripped through the area on May 22. St. Bridget, on Emerson Avenue, lost a stained-glass window that was blown out, according to Deacon Richard Heineman.

“A tree on the west side . . . took out one of the stained-glass windows, which was installed, I believe, in 1957,” he said, noting that the Mass location and schedule for the parish will not change for this weekend. “Then, the windows above the sanctuary above the altar came in and showered the altar and the sanctuary with glass, ruining the altar cloth.”

More damage occurred next door at the school, which is being leased to Sojourner Truth Academy Elementary School. The roof blew off, and the school will be closed for the remainder of the year, Deacon Heineman said.

The Catholic Spirit has attempted to gather information about other Catholic parishes and schools in the area. Deacon Heineman said St. Anne/St. Joseph Hien was also in the path of the tornado, but no one at the parish could be reached at press time for a damage report.

Ascension parish and school went unharmed, though transportation has been an issue for students. According to a parish staff member, only 100 of the school’s 245 students were able to make it to school the day after the tornado hit. And, buses were not able to make it through to the school.

Those wishing to volunteer in the area can visit

Forty-three years of service

Mary Jo Groeller, administrator for admissions and public relations at Cretin-Derham Hall School in St. Paul, will be honored at a reception Thursday, June 9, as she retires after 43 years of service to the school. She began her career at Derham Hall School as a French teacher in 1968. The reception will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Town and Country Club, 300 N. Mississippi River Blvd. in St. Paul.

Teacher of the year

Brigid Berger, a first-grade teacher at Carondelet Catholic School in Minneapolis, has been named 2011 K-8 teacher of the year by the Minnesota Independent School Forum.

She received the award May 5 during the Minnesota Private and Independent Education Awards banquet at St. Catherine University in St. Paul. The annual awards celebration recognizes excellence in Minnesota’s private and independent school community.

Berger was instrumental in the introduction and implementation of a number of programs at the school, including a “guided reading program,” a new math curriculum and a school-wide composting program, said Principal Becky Farber. Berger is a member of Christ the King in Minneapolis.

Holy Angels honors couples

The Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield awarded the St. Joseph Award to John and Nancy Bierbaum of Burnsville during a reception at the school May 5. The lifetime achievement award recognizes community members who are not AHA alumni but who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made outstanding contributions to the school, their professions and the community.

John Bierbaum serves as the chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and has chaired the AHA board of trustees and the finance committee. He was also instrumental in the development and financing of the school’s Convocation Center construction project.

Three couples also were honored at the reception with the school’s Possumus Award, which is given for extraordinary volunteer efforts and positive energy that has enriched the AHA community. Those couples are: Jeff and Theresa Zech, Mark and Jean Knutson, and Craig and Barb Larson, all of Bloomington.

New leaders

Mike Smalley has been appointed principal of St. John the Baptist School in Savage, effective July 1. He has served the school for 18 years as a teacher, a counselor and most recently in an administrative role. Smalley will be joined by new assistant principal Dawn Kincs. She is currently the principal at Our Lady of the Prairie School in Belle Plaine and starts her new post July 1.

‘Extraordinary’ confirmation

Twenty-seven youth from 10 parishes received the Rite of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form May 11 at St. Agnes in St. Paul. Their families wrote to Archbishop John Nienstedt to ask permission to celebrate the sacrament in this way, said Father John Ubel, St. Agnes pastor.

Father Ubel was granted the faculty, in Archbishop Nienstedt’s absence, to celebrate the Rite of Confirmation, the first time it is believed to have been celebrated in the Extraordinary Form in more than 40 years, the priest said.

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Category: News Notes