Saint Maria Goretti Catholic School

Bulletin December 7-11

Mission Statement

Saint Maria Goretti Catholic School is a living testament to our Lord's work in his youngest disciples, exemplified by academic excellence, spiritual formation, and compassionate service to others.

A Testimony of Taking Time for Christ

As we continue through the advent season, it is so important that we help our young disciples understand the importance of serving God with our time and gifts. Father Mike's homily this morning really helped me grasp the importance of not only giving to others, but slowing down and giving more time to God. With that said, I thought I'd reluctantly share a personal story. I am totally putting myself out there, so bear with me.

Jumping into the hustle and bustle this past weekend with hour to hour activities and events, one of my daughters said "Mom, I never see you pray any more. Do you still talk to God?" As a guilty parent, I realized that once again, my children continue to monitor all my daily habits... good, busy, and bad. We had a brief conversation about all of us making a better effort to make time for prayer as I scooted them out of the car and into Mimi's house for a grandkid overnight family Christmas celebration. My husband and I took this opportunity to have a fancy night know...cranky baby, fast food, and a long list of todo's?

As I stood in line, my phone rang, but my arms were too full with holding baby and a few items. So, I didn't answer. This happened three different times. I got to the car, I didn't recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail. My husband and I continued on our "very-seldom-free-time-night-out" frantically pricing gifts from store to store. (Yes, I know that's what price is for, but again, we are not as organized as the rest of the world.) Once we got home, I checked messages..."Momma, I just wanted to see if I could just hear your voice. I'm using another phone (cousin's phone) so I know you may not know it's me, but I just wanted to check on you and pray with you before I go to bed. I miss you. I was hoping you could feel me in your heart and answer." You can only imagine my guilt at this point. Of course, it was late and there was no answer after my three attempts of trying to call back. Baby was fussy with an upset stomach. I rocked, sang, walked, patted, and dozed off for the night next to a very sleepy tot.

My alarm went off and in stealth mode, I dressed and left trying not to wake baby or my husband. I raced to 7:30 Mass and had a few seconds to center and prepare my heart before Mass. Having a few moments to myself, I selfishly began running through my earthly lists of teacher gifts, angel tree gifts, thinking about a possible date for our family to visit a nursing home, buying family gifts, suddenly wondering if I had remembered to schedule a few events with Sherry for thoughts and gaze toward the altar were abruptly interrupted when Father Mike referred to the "school" during his homily. I tuned in (mostly in fear that I had "checked out" for the entire introduction of Mass and he was somehow going to know and call on me during his homily). I listened intently as he explained in great detail the importance of using advent as a time to, "Start small. It just takes ten minutes to devote to God. Try it during this advent season. Ten minutes in quiet with God. It is so important to make time to devote to your relationship with God." I was frozen...was he following me? Had my daughter sent him an email? A few moments before, it was so noisy in my head and then my world came to a sudden silence.

My daughter's words echoed as I made my way to my car. As I drove in silence, I realized in a matter of a few months, we went from praying the Rosary every night to praying it only on trips and at school. Our nightly prayers moved from us all kneeling together to me turning the lights out reminding them to say prayers. Our reflection and spontaneous prayers at meals have turned to a race through the standard "Bless us O Lord..." with all the words blended together making it sound like some strange sort of new language we've made up. My kids used to catch me daily kneeling and praying and would come and kneel next to me silently. I couldn't even remember the last time I took time to actually spend more than five minutes praying. I have spent years practicing and modeling prayer and applying it to our daily lives as a family and in a matter of months, I have managed to wean Christ out of our lives at home without even realizing it. I allowed prayer to be incorporated in convenient times while driving or a quick prayer before bed, but my interaction with Christ had turned into a one-sided relationship.

I thought about a recent conversation I had with Father Luke focused on us coming up with ways to prepare our students for the Penance service so they would get the most out of it. I continued to question myself, "How in the world can I model prayer and preparation, when I am failing so miserably?"

On our way home after picking up our children, we sat in the parking lot waiting for my husband to grab a few groceries. Christmas music was playing, baby was screaming, the two middles were arguing, and I was staring into space. I turned to look at these living gifts God had blessed me with and rather than starting in on correction, I quietly began a Hail Mary aloud and my kids slowly stopped and eventually joined in and before we knew it, we were all chiming in with spontaneous prayers and intentions. We sat in an unprompted silence. My husband got settled and asked, "Everyone okay?" My daughter smiled and said, "I think we've got mom back with us, Dad."

Today has been full of prayer and reflection. I am so thankful that my children are in a Catholic school immersed in prayer and led by faith-filled teachers. I am thankful that we have two priests who provide such powerful homilies that speak to us. The Holy Spirit was truly present this weekend, but the Lord had to make several attempts to get my attention. I pray that each of you take time to spend with our Lord and use my story as a "what not to do." Don't worry, I'm already on the fact that a Penance service isn't gonna do the trick for Mrs. Rios this week. :)

May your journeys be filled with Christ!

Preschool Early Registration

Continue to spread the word about our Preschool three and four year old program. We have continued discounted rates for registration fees for families who register early. Call the office for more information.

Study Skills


Midterms are quickly approaching. There are a few things we are implementing this year to better support our students in preparation for midterms. Mrs. Rios will be providing study support focusing on learning styles, organization, and study skills beginning next Monday, December 7 through Thursday, December 10 during lunch and after school. We will be working on strategizing how to take a review sheet and incorporate it into study materials that will be used to commit to memory through experiences while working on skills to help recall information when needed for retrieval. We will be working in partners and small groups to help with this process. The idea is to set students up with the organziational skills and study habits to help them become independent with their individual needs when preparing for exams. Each day will be different and we will be forming study groups with the students attending.

Below is the schedule for study skills during lunch and after school:

Monday, December 7 - 6th Grade - 3:00-4:30 in the Saint Maria Center

Tuesday, December 8 - 7th/8th Grade - 3:00-4:30 in the Saint Maria Center
6th grade may opt to have Lunch in the Science Lab as a study hall with Mrs. Rios

Wednesday, December 9 - 7th-8th Grade - 3:00-4:30 in the Saint Maria Center
6th grade students may opt to have lunch in the Science Lab as a study hall with Mrs. Rios

Thursday, December 10 - Any students 6th-8th - 3:00-4:30 in the Saint Maria Center
6th grade students may opt to have lunch in the Science Lab as a study hall with Mrs. Rios

Midterm Schedule


Please return forms with plans for dismissal on Monday and Tuesday. Families will not be charged for SMEED as it is during the school day.

Sixth Grade:

Friday, December 11 - Religion & English (Full day)

Monday, December 14 - SS & Literature (Half day)

Tuesday, December 15 - Math & Science (Half day)

Wednesday, December 16 - Spanish (Full day)

Seventh Grade:

Friday, December 11 - SS & Literature (Full day)

Monday, December 14 - Math & Science (Half day)

Tuesday, December 15 - Religion & English (Half day)

Wednesday, December 16 - Spanish (Full day)

Eighth Grade:

Friday, December 11 - Math & Science (Full day)

Monday, December 14 - Religion & English (Half day)

Tuesday, December 15 - SS & Literature (Half day)

Wednesday, December 16 - No Spanish midterm - continued lessons (Full day)

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Surveys for Strategic Plan

Thank you, thank you for all the great participation in the parent survey!

The parent survey will continue through December 18. This is the time to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas for improvement. The more information we have, the better we will be able to grow our school forward. I did notice that we failed to add questions specific to lunches. Please feel free to add comments in any of the open response fields or send me an email. Thank you, again!

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Please keep our fellow Catholic schools, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Sacred Heart, in your prayers as their families, students, and school communities are moving through many firsts with the loss of their principals.

Hold our Superintendent, Jennifer Pelletier, in your thoughts as she and her family support her father in ICU.

I will continue to pray for all of our students, teachers, priests, and families.

Thank you for your continued prayers.