Dear St. Mary’s Catholic School community,

This past month the school has grown and overcome many challenges, and positive developments continue to happen, all thanks be to God.  Most recently we had added to our ranks a new 6th grade teacher, Gretchen Jones, who is a parent of two St. Mary’s students, and previously a substitute teacher for us and the public schools.  Before that Mrs. Jones was in the Coast Guard as a helicopter pilot.  We welcome her and thank her for assuming the class, which makes a difference not only in the lives of the students, but also for Ms. Pianosi who had been responsible for 6th in addition to her regular 7th and 8th grade classes.  Mrs. Jones is committed to classical education, which is a value and goal of our school and diocese.  All the staff are growing and learning how to implement a more classical curriculum, which has as its goal wisdom.  There is much innovative work to be done in taking the best of what we already teach, and integrating classical texts and arts.  Latin and Greek will be more common throughout, and the art of speaking well in terms of logic, rhetoric and refined word choice and sentence composition will be of greater focus.  We will be learning with the greatest minds and authors of the Western Tradition and enter a conversation with the ancients, including the greatest Saints of Christendom.  After all, the doctors of the Church were all educated in the classical system, and for some we even have the exact texts that they themselves studied and gained wisdom from.  It is an exciting time for our school as we delve more fully into this rich Catholic educational heritage. 

The pre-K program continues to add interested parents and thus students to the roster.  Program planning, organizing, staff licensing, and state funding are coming together as well.  God is good and provides abundantly for those who trust in Him!  We still ask for your prayers, and if you know any pre-K aged children and families, let them know about our program.  The start is still being determined, but as a condition of a state grant we are applying for, we would need to open our doors to students within 3 months of receiving funds.  That means we could open at an irregular time of the year, such as February or March.  Whatever the timing, we entrust everything to the Lord and to the prayers of St. Mary, our patroness.  Please see the bottom of this letter for the PreSchool Survey link.

Since the beginning of the school year, the weekly Mass has been in the gym.  For the students, the staff and the parents, this has been incongruent with how we normally celebrate Mass.  Mass and the Eucharist which we receive deserve a sacred space, and having a recreational and cafeteria space was far less than ideal.  Therefore, after discussion with various stakeholders for feedback, it seems proper that we return to celebrating Mass at the proto-Cathedral Holy Name of Mary next door.  The Vicar General Fr. Tim Ekaitis was very much in support of this decision, and under the Bishop’s direction Fr. Romeo or Fr. Mike will celebrate masses.  The Diocesan directive that Fr. Nick Thompson have no contact or involvement with St. Mary’s school staff, students, parents and administration, still stands.  Let us pray that God’s will be done in this return to weekly Mass as a School at the proto-Cathedral.  

Volunteers have continued to come forward to offer their time and efforts, and again I thank everyone who has done so.  Currently I and other staff are making great strides in compiling a comprehensive task-list for volunteers.  HASA will help to distribute it once it is completely done, but if you have already determined somehow what needs to be done and would like to volunteer, do not hesitate to reach out to me or the office.  We have some active volunteers who contribute very proactively, who make a significant difference in the operations of our school and community.  I would especially like to thank and recognize Marsha Mitchell this week, who saw a need in our staffing for lunch and volunteered two days of her time and effort to cover for us, thank you Marsha!  It is the larger mission and purpose of our school that benefits and draws people to serve, and it is such a blessing to see how God works through those who give of their time, talents and treasure for the greater good.  I would be amiss if I did not also recognize an anonymous donor, who this week donated $16,000 in recognition of teachers and staff and their dedication to the school, and in honor of Christ this Christmas.  Thank you sincerely and may God bless your generosity with His graces many times over!  The Lord is directing our school and our path, and it is such a privilege to witness the many ways in which God works through the School to show us His love, truth, goodness and beauty.  

Let us prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ Jesus this Christmas, and look ever forward to His plan fulfilled in our lives,
In Christ,
Tim Vail

PreSchool Survey link.  Please pass this along to anyone you may think interested.