St. Anne School
Raising caring kids
Jill Reinhardt wrote:
“I am a parent from St. Anne’s School in Le Sueur and I would like to share the feelings that I get from our wonderful school. My daughter is in second grade and is a wonderful person, already at 7! I am so impressed by how the students care for one another and how smart they are. The small class size allows them to excel in every aspect of their spiritual and intellectual life.
“We have a new principal this year, Adam Bemmels. He has brought a new positive attitude to the school that is emulated in the community. Because of him, our children are learning Spanish, expectations for their education are higher and the school is expanding. We are opening a Pre-K program next year! What an exciting and great year! I thank God everyday for our school.”
ST. LOUIS PARK
More time for the Spirit
“Benilde-St. Margaret’s is launching the Eight Period Day in senior high,” according to Melenie Soucheray, marketing and communication director at the St. Louis Park school. “The value of the new schedule is most evident through the convergence of three concepts that are central our work: BSM’s Catholic Identity; Academic Rigor; Body-Spirit-Mind.
“Benilde-St. Margaret’s is committed to promoting the teachings of the Catholic Church and nurturing our students’ faith life. For some time, BSM has been phasing in the new program based on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age.
“The new Eight Period Day makes it possible to offer students a variety of opportunities for spiritual and intellectual growth, prayer and meaningful reflection, and service activities on- and off-campus. The days when students are not in PE/Wellness, they also may take advantage of retreat follow-up with either the campus minister or peer ministers.”
St. Alphonsus Church
John Bydlon and his daughter Amy wrote the following good news reflection:
“Saint Alphonsus parish is my home away from home. Our parish was started by and still served by the Redemptorists. When first started over 50 years ago, Brooklyn Center was a new and growing suburb of Minneapolis.
Now a diverse and changing community has brought growth and changes to our parish. It is not unusual to walk the hallways and hear English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Lao, French and many other languages being spoken. Yet, with all the different languages there is one common language spoken: the language of God’s love. It is seen in our many programs and activities, which at times seems to transcend the possible. But, with God all things are possible.
“We are told to pray unceasingly and do in our 24-hour adoration chapel. We reach out to the poor with our Christmas gifts of love, Catholic Charities meal preparations, our parish sharing fund and many other ways. We celebrate the sacraments with the Cana dinner for married couples, baptisms in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Confessions are also in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. First Communion is in two languages. Masses are in two languages weekly, along with active prayer groups, Bible study, faith formation classes, special ed programs, a parish school with pre-school to eighth grade, African ministry, Latino ministry and on and on it goes.
“We are building the city of God at St. Alphonsus and the city is diverse, active and alive! We are the best kept secret in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”
St. Stephen Church
Joan Bednarczyk, pastoral minister at St. Stephen wrote the following reflection:
“Isn’t it true that some days just aren’t what we plan or expect? As rational human beings we want control over the events of the day, routine to keep our world sane and order to hold our emotions at bay and our heads screwed on straight. Some days the simple voice mail message left in the pre-dawn hours of the morning effects the tone and atmosphere of our day and mood more than the weather or a bad night’s sleep ever could.
“’Mom died last night,’ I heard Mary’s daughter announce through the distant coldness of my black telephone receiver. With no live person on the other end to respond to, I sat at my desk alone and quiet while surges of sadness, emptiness and grief penetrated my marrow. Without thought or intention I plummeted through time to my first visit with Mary at the home she shared with her daughter and son-in-law and I realized that from the beginning I was struck by her loveliness and kindness which was untainted by her pain, age or declining health.
“This past year, Mary lived in an assisted living residence where she was loved by staff and a family who continued to visit daily, often bringing homemade cookies to satisfy her penchant for sweets. There were other things Mary loved: pale pink finger nail polish, rouge and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, a fact that we both agreed had something to do with Fridays and being Catholic!
“Oftentimes when I would go to visit her, I would wait until late afternoon, coveting the time much like a small child who desires to be the sole recipient of its mother’s affection. I secretly planned my visits when I knew others would not come or interrupt, selfishly concluding my day in her company. She was a woman of profound faith who was happy and grateful for her life and just as happy and ready to start her ‘new life’ — she longed to be with God.
“I could and often did laugh with Mary — she made the seriousness of somber days lighter or dissolve completely, as if she were an angel who had embraced me with her unseen mystical, magical powers. Even through clouded vision, her sky blue eyes would sparkle as I entered the room and I knew it wasn’t just me she was happy to see — she knew I was bringing her Jesus.
“One of our last visits was a gift beyond measure that will stay with me as long as I have memory and the desire to believe in a God of surprises. Sitting on her bed gently patting and rubbing the thin legs that no longer supported her, I offered prayer and Eucharist as she reverently struggled to raise herself from the pillow to receive. In her soft, barely-audible murmur, she shared how grateful she was for the ‘gift’ that I brought to her. ‘I have no gifts for you,’ she said apologetically, ‘but I can bless you.’ With that, she slowly and calmly placed one hand on my head as I sat motionless and overwhelmed with awe and wonder.
“In that holy moment, I felt the presence of God and recognized that Mary understood and was comfortable with her role as a daughter of God — she knew to whom she belonged. I hung suspended in space, time and tears — feeling more intensely than ever before, the intimacy we shared, the qualities of the human heart and nature of our souls.”
Category: Good News