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School News 2020-2021

St. Mary’s Alumna Honored on Mercy Day

CatherinesTraditions mean a lot at St. Mary’s School. They do as well at Mercy High School. Anou Akot, St. Mary’s class of ’17 was honored on Mercy Day, the day Mercy High School celebrates the life of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy. Anou was selected by the senior class to take part in the play of Catherine’s life as the narrator. This is one of the biggest honors students can receive. Because of COVID-19 the play was seen virtually, alumnae across the country were sent a link so they could share in the annual tradition.

More about Anou. She is Senior Class President, and a member of Operation Others and the Yearbook Club. As an athlete at Mercy she has run Cross Country, is a triple jumper in Track and Field and played Basketball all four years. She has served as a Student Ambassador for four years. She plans to major in Chemistry and Pre-Med in college. She is a member of St. Mary’s Church in Bellevue.

As to being chosen for the play, Anou says: “This is a tremendous honor and I take it very seriously. I cherish every moment I have had with this senior class.”

To read more about Mercy Day and watch the video click here.

(Two Catherine McAuley's, L- Anou Akot, narrator, R- Kateri Pantoja, played the younger Catherine McAuley)

October Family Food Night – Swine Dining

SMSwineDiningFinalJust a friendly reminder. Make tomorrow, October 21st a Swine Dining Night. It’s a great opportunity to stay out of the kitchen, and benefit St. Mary’s School at the same time. Ten percent of the purchases will go to St. Mary’s School from 4:00 - 8:00 P.M. Hope to see all of you there!

Congratulations! Fr. Matt Successfully Defends His Doctorate

Fr. Matt Defends His DoctorateFr. Matt Rolling St. Mary’s alumnus, class of ‘96 flies to Rome to defend his doctoral dissertation. Even COVID 19 couldn’t keep him away. Here are the details in his own words.

I (almost) have a doctorate in philosophy (PhD). The almost is because I don’t technically get it until I print the final draft with all final corrections from my professors, but that’s just a matter of time.

The topic is: “To Be Well-Disposed: The Factors that Contribute to the Development of Moral Character according to St. Thomas Aquinas.” It’s a mouthful, but in short, it’s about the various things influencing the kind of person we become, things like temperament, upbringing, culture, parenting, society, and education and other such little things. All nicely packaged in 250 pages.

I started this back in 2014 when I arrived in Rome to start on a license (European equivalent of a Master’s), and finished the lion’s share when I returned home in 2019 to reside at St. Gregory the Great Seminary, serve as Academic Dean, teach philosophy class, and do one-on-one formation with seminarians.

Because of COVID restrictions, I’m only in Rome for a week, but I shouldn’t complain because many of my peers are doing this virtually and, well, I’m in Rome, Italy. It’s great being back; in some ways it felt like coming home because, after all, it was home for 5 years. Nonetheless, restrictions kept some parts of the whole process from being normal. For example, how does one say good-bye, probably on this side of eternity, to people he’s been with for 5 years without being able to make physical contact with them?

The defense was good. It helped that I ran into my director the morning of the defense, and after asking me how I was doing, said, “Don’t worry about it. The paper was excellent. You have nothing to be concerned about.” That helps! The questions involved some expansion of ideas present in the dissertation while others involved taking a step further beyond the bounds of the topic itself, but that’s generally expected of one with such a degree: you ought to be able to think about and provide some insights into things that aren’t just the textbook answers.

The names of the priests in the photo are, from left to right, Fr. Matthieu Raffray, Fr. Serge-Thomas Bonino OP (director), Fr. Matt Rolling (me), and Fr. Dominic Holtz OP.

A Moment of Prayer

5thPrayerCUSt. Mary’s 5th graders went to Mass as they do every week. COVID-19 can’t stop us from living our faith. After Mass Mrs. Menzel’s class took a moment to kneel at Our Lady of the Runway giving students time to offer up their own prayers. The students also had some time to walk around in the garden of Our Lady of Sorrows. What a blessing to be able to quietly live out our faith daily at school. A passer by captured this special moment.



A Spirit of Change

FrSaenz20th2Fr. Chris Saenz is celebrating 20 years as a Columban priest. His first call to the faith was to become a missionary. As a Columban missionary priest he spent 20 years in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Now a spirit of change has brought him back home to Bellevue and the Columban Mission headquarters. FrSaenz20th1

Fr. Saenz believes immigration is an important issue for the church and that the Catholic Church needs more Spanish speaking priests. Immigration is part of Fr. Saenz roots, his grandfather on his mother’s side was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who lived in the United States for decades without obtaining citizenship.

Fr. Saenz is currently working on his third Master’s degree, a Master’s of Science in Church Management from Villanova. While studying he is also working with Spanish Outreach and is the chaplain for Spanish Marriage Encounter of Omaha. Fr. Saenz attended Gross Catholic and is an alumnus of St. Mary’s School, class of ‘82.

Great to Be Back for the First Day of School

FirstDay1jpgSt. Mary’s School opened its doors on a bright Monday morning, August 17th to start the 2020-2021 school year. Everyone knew the first day of school would be different than any other year. Indeed, it was. FirstDay76No parents were on the playground for the first day of school. No pictures were taken with the students and their teachers on the playground while they waited for the first bell of the school year to ring. Students didn’t line up in long rows for each grade level and their teachers lead them into the school building, not this year. Instead cars, four abreast, in the parking lot, filled with anxious and excited students to start another year, waited until staff came out to greet them. After checking temperatures and making sure required waivers were turned in, students entered through the gym door, to begin the 2020-2021 school year. Mrs. Boland was there to greet the students as they came upstairs and direct them to their classrooms. Some classrooms had been shuffled around to accommodate social distancing standards. Even specials like Art, Music, Spanish and lunch have changed. They will be held in classrooms for now. But the basics never change: new memories and new friendships will be forged; homework will be assigned, tests given and smiles and laughter, though hidden behind required masks, are sure to happen. Yes, this school year is not like any other, but then again, isn’t every year a little different with a new teacher, new students and a new grade? The most important thing for us to realize is how blessed we are that our students are learning and teachers are teaching in person. We pray that this new school year will be one of the best ever!
Many thanks to Dr. Wallinger, her staff and teachers who worked tirelessly throughout the summer to come up with a plan that would allow St. Mary’s School to open its doors once again, so teachers and students could be together to start the school year. Click here for more photos!

Important Lesson Learned While at St. Mary’s

BrFrassatiBr. Frassati, born Alexander Davis class of ‘06, is, and always will be, close to St. Mary’s Church and School. Alex attended St. Mary’s school from Kindergarten through 4th grade while his dad was stationed at Offutt, AFB. While at St. Mary’s School he learned a very important lesson which he discussed while delivering the homily at St. Mary’s Church on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. “I always remember as a kid coming on Tuesday to Mass was a huge sacrifice.” Why? Because my favorite class, typing, was always cut short so we could attend Mass. While sitting in the pew, he remembers looking up at the crucifix. It’s a part of the church no one can miss. It is the focal point of St. Mary’s Church. In the crucifixion you see Christ suffering and dying for us. Br. Frassati remembers thinking, any little kid who thought he was suffering was made to realize something else, “we are all called to make sacrifices.” Sacrifice is central to our faith. As Br. Frassati says, “ He (Jesus) is calling on us to make a sacrifice to enter the kingdom of heaven…BrFrassati3Christ sacrificed all for us, may we be willing to offer any sacrifice for the love of him.” Br. Frassati became a deacon earlier this year and came back to visit his parents who are parishioners at St. Mary’s. During his home visit each year, Br. Frassati attends Mass and prefers to sit next to the stained glass window on the right with the Dominican shield below Our Lady. He entered the Dominicans of the Province of St. Joseph as a novice in July of 2015. Br. Frassati will return to New York City to complete his diaconate year and prepare for the priesthood. For more photos click here.

Filled With the Spirit of Mercy

st marys alumniIn the Mercy bulletin each week at Mercy High School, they announce the Spirit of Mercy Award. It is a simple way for faculty and staff members to recognize students who have gone above and beyond in their everyday actions during the past week. They want to be intentional about honoring the merciful moments that happen with no expectation of recognition. When faculty and staff witness these merciful moments they submit student names to Mrs. Miller, the Campus Minister. Mrs. Miller, then forwards the names to Michelle Storch for publication in our weekly bulletin.

One of St. Mary’s alumna, Anou Akot class of ‘17, was on the list this week! Congratulations Anou for being filled with the Spirit of Mercy.

Made the Team

KatharinaStorchMercyVBallTeamMeet the newest Mercy High School volleyball player! Katharina Storch, an incoming freshman, made the team and will be an outside hitter. Twenty girls started the week trying out, and after three nights of tryouts, 10 girls made the freshman team. Here’s to a great year playing ball! Kathariana is a St. Mary’s graduate, class of ‘20.



A Welcoming Sight to Start a New Year

TreeTrimming9TreeTrimming12To start a new school year oftentimes boys and girls get their hair trimmed for the first day. At St. Mary’s School it was the trees that got a trim. On Saturday, July 11th, volunteers were out tending to trees that surround our beautiful grounds. All twenty two trees, not including the three large ones against the south wall of the school were pruned. The cut tree branches were turned into wood chips and placed around the school grounds. If you take a look at the photos one of the branches when cut away left behind what looks like a tree. Pretty cool! Thank you Tim and Connor McGarry, John Clark, Ted Menzel, Zeb Crider, Alan and Christian Swiecicki and Doug Feagan for your precious time and volunteerism. The school and grounds committee could not have done it without you. Thanks for getting us closer to our goal of welcoming students and teachers back to our beautiful grounds. For more photos click here.

St Mary's Information

St. Mary's Catholic School is a Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade School of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Our mission is to provide a Catholic education that nurtures students' hearts and minds to become servant leaders in an ever-changing world.

Our philosophy of education is to offer a five-day program to assist families in teaching those truths, skills, and ideals, which are necessary for Christian living. We believe that education must develop the faculties and abilities of the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. To help achieve this, our faculty and staff are an integral part of the formation of Christian community and dedicate themselves to the task of developing Christian citizens.



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