Month: April 2019

Stella Maris Academy: The May-June Principals’ Monthly Letter

Our Stella Maris 2nd Graders

(A Contribution from the “Duluth Parish Neighbors'” Magazine)

When choosing a school for their child, there are many factors that parents consider. How strong are the academics? What about the teachers and administration? What is the mission of the school and how is it fulfilled?

And above all else, parents must ask: will it be a good fit for my child and our family?

When parents today are faced with more educational opportunities and school choices, these questions are important to answer. Upon reflection and examination, it will quickly come to light that Catholic schools stand out in a number of ways. Here are 5 reasons that Catholic schools are worth the investment:

1.      Daily Practicing of Religion

Walking down the halls of Stella Maris Academy, it is not uncommon to hear young voices joined together in prayer – upon arrival in the morning, before lunch, during religion lessons and throughout the day. Students have the opportunity to practice their religion openly in the classroom, whether it is by reading books about Jesus, learning about God during classroom lessons or praying for those in need.

These daily practices are extremely special, as exemplified in this email that SMA recently received from a parent:

“I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for providing such incredible faith-filled moments like the one I witnessed today. I attended school Mass at the Cathedral, followed by Adoration. It was one of the most beautiful examples of praise and worship that I’ve watched our school share together. Watching so many children choose to kneel alongside Father Jeremy at the Altar and pray among their peers was something so special.”

2.      Character & Moral Development

Stella Maris Academy focuses on educating the whole child through four pillars of education: intellectual, spiritual, human and the care of others through stewardship. These four pillars share equal importance and are interconnected. When children lead their class in the Rosary, they are not just developing their religious skills; they are building confidence. When they spend time performing service work for their community, they are not just caring for others; they are building character. When a child enters Catholic school, they are able to learn and grow in such a way that sets them on a life-long path of intellectual curiosity, spiritual and humanistic growth, and service to others.

3.      Culture of Service

A culture of service is a gift one will find in every Catholic school. Stella Maris Academy is no different. Students partake in several major service projects throughout the year, including a school-wide day of community cleaning. They also perform numerous smaller projects, such as food drives, decorating Valentines for police officers, packing boxes for Feed My Starving Children and Operation Christmas Child, and making tie blankets for residents in assisted-living homes.

The gift of serving others is precious and appreciated, as exemplified in this email received from Silver Bay Veterans Home, where blankets for veterans were recently delivered:

“I would just like to thank you all on behalf of the residents here at the Silver Bay Veterans Home. The residents here LOVED the blankets and were very appreciative of the snack bags. They had a hard time choosing between all the wonderful colors and patterns … As I was handing out the blankets to the residents, I also received many compliments from the staff saying how beautiful and soft they were!”

4.      Strong Community

When a child steps in to Stella Maris Academy, they will find themselves immediately enmeshed in an active and loving community. The mixture of small class sizes, passionate faculty and a shared devotion to Catholic education creates a strong sense of fellowship. Stella Maris Academy’s vibrant school community is strengthened by having outside support from parishes, alumni and community members. The students benefit knowing that they are a part of a larger community. That outside support is cultivated and cherished knowing that SMA could not fulfill its mission without the support of others.

5.      Rigorous Academics

Historically, Stella Maris Academy students have performed in the top 85th percentile and higher of national academic norms and 1.5 to 2.0 grade equivalents above their current grade placement. This is not uncommon in Catholic schools. Teachers stress rigorous academics and work closely with students to ensure they are fully supported. Students thrive in an environment where they are held to challenging expectations and know that they will be given the help they need to succeed. Catholic schools take great pride in their historically outstanding academics.

Pretzel Making & The Legend Surrounding Them

Stella Maris 3rd Grade

Last week, Ms. Zanardi’s 3rd grade class read a story called “Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward: How the Pretzel was Born.” The kids earned a pretzel as a “little reward” when they learned their prayers, because the legend says that the pretzel shape resembles children praying with their arms folded on their chests.

Holy Rosary Campus Kindergarten Shadow Stations

A special thank you to Mrs. Tessier & Mrs. Morris for this poignant reenactment of Jesus’ walk to Calvary. This project involved the help of several older students as narrators but was primarily our kindergarteners who created the shadows.

Thank you, too, to Emily Patrick who was kind enough to turn this into a video for us!

Stella Maris wishes all of you a happy Holy Week.

Final Reminder: Theology Uncapped -Tuesday April 30, 2019: An Interview of Pastor Peter Kowitz

An Interview with Pastor Peter Kowitz on Real Presence Live

RPL Hr. 1 April 2 Pastor Peter Kowitz

In the first hour, hosts Fr. Richard Kunst and Fr. Ryan Moravitz had Pastor Peter Kowitz of United Lutheran Church in Proctor, MN on the show to talk about women and Church ministry and previewed the upcoming Theology Uncapped event. The interview starts just before the 5 minute mark and is a great introduction to their next Theology Uncapped meeting on the 30th of April.

Click the link below to register:

Registration Opens March 1, 2019

Theology Uncapped is a Catholic group with a dedicated goal of
bringing people closer together through educational discussions
centered around faith-based topics.

We hold three events a year that are open to men and women of all
faiths.  Each event includes an informative speaker(s) that will
discuss a topic of faith from differing points of view.

A catered meal is included to help facilitate fellowship and
hopefully foster new relationships among those that may have
opposing viewpoints.

Seating for each event is limited, so registration is required.
We look forward to seeing you at a future event.
Theology Uncapped

More News from Fr. Drew & Holy Week Schedule for Ministers

A couple things as we approach the Holiest Week of the Year

1) On Palm Sunday we will begin our celebration for the 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses in the GATHERING SPACE. If you plan to attend either of these Masses, I’m just giving you a heads up that we will have a procession into the Church beginning in the Gathering Space. This is to better symbolize and place us in solidarity with those who journeyed into Jerusalem with our Lord waving palms and singing “Hosanna”!

2) As with many decisions that are made here at our parishes, I can’t please everybody. I know that this has been the case with the omission of the Sign of Peace during Mass. For a time we have omitted the Sign of Peace under the guidance and advice of our Bishop and health care professionals to avoid the spread of any influenza or sickness. I just wanted to let you know that we will resume the Sign of Peace at Mass at Easter. Now that the more risky days of sickness are behind us, I think it will add to that great Easter celebration by once again taking part in that beautiful and communal expression of peace with our loved ones and neighbors.

One of the things I hope to continue to do here at our wonderful parishes is to have different events and activities outside of our regular liturgical gatherings.

I’m currently planning a big Summer Party here at St. John’s and will give you those details in the future.

I have also been approached by a number of young families who have expressed some desire to have opportunities to connect with other young families. I’m currently planning some gatherings to help connect these young families.

In light of this, if you are a young family or a family who has some interest in these communal gatherings please let me know! You could call the office (724-6332) or just let me know after Mass or whenever you run into me.

I’m very excited about some of the things we are currently planning. I have always had a passion for this because I think it’s so important and helpful to surround ourselves with other good Catholic people and families. I know in my own life that is definitely the case.

—-Fr. Drew

The Pivotal Players series was a huge success & is now over for this season.Thomas Aquinas.

Father Drew’s News This Week: March 23 & 24

The last two Mondays I have shown the first two episodes of Bishop Barron’s Pivotal Players. The first week was St. Francis of Assisi and most recently G. K. Chesterton.

I have enjoyed these episodes, and I thank everyone who has attended. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as well and have been inspired by these great figures while you sipped on some wine or beer or perhaps just some water.

G. K. Chesterton reminds us to never lose a sense of wonder and appreciation for everything around us: there are “no dreary sights, but only dreary sightseers.”

Chesterton was someone who would be startled and excited by “the wetness of water, the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud.” All should be appreciated. All should cause us to wonder.

He continues, “The whole object of real art, of real romance – and, above all, of real religion – is to prevent people from losing the humility and gratitude which are thankful for daylight and daily bread; to prevent them from regarding daily life as dull or domestic life as narrow; to teach them to feel in the sunlight the song of Apollo and in the bread the epic of the plough.

What is needed most is intensive imagination. I mean the power to turn our imagination inwards, on the things we already have, and to make these things live. It is not merely seeking new experiences. It is really learning how to experience our experiences. It is learning how to enjoy our enjoyments.”

Wonder a little more today. Be grateful.

Next episode: St. Catherine of Siena!!

Fr. Drew’s News

Ash Wednesday and Lent are coming quickly. As we prepare to begin our journey through Lent, I just wanted to point out a few things that will be happening at St. John’s that you may want to take advantage of during this Lenten season.

1) Every Monday during Lent at 6:30 pm in the Gathering Space, I will be showing an episode of a series on the saints! At least most of them are saints. The series is titled “Pivotal Players”. It is a work of Bishop Robert Baron’s Word on Fire ministry.

I’ve personally already watched each episode and found them extremely informative and inspiring. So come, be inspired by these “Pivotal Players” this Lent. We will enjoy some beverages and have a very brief discussion after each episode.

2) Every Wednesday during Lent, I will have some additional time available for confessions followed by Stations of the Cross.

So every Wednesday the schedule will be: 5:00-6:00 pm – Confessions

6:00 pm – Stations of the Cross

3) And finally, also note that we will have Friday Fish Suppers on March 8th, 15th, 29th and April 5th.

I look forward to my first Lenten journey with you as pastor of these wonderful parishes.

Fr. Drew


Abstinence (not eating meat) obliges Catholics who are 14 years of age and older. …Fasting (one full meal and two smaller ones with nothing in between) obliges those between 18 & 60 years of age. Liquids between meals are allowed. …Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence. Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. Grave inconvenience or sickness excuses persons from observing the laws of fast and abstinence. In such cases, they are urged to practice others forms of self denial appropriate to their condition.

Stella Maris Academy News April 9, 2019

The numbers are in! Stella Maris Academy collected a grand total of 1,473 pounds of food during the CHUM Food Drive this Lenten season. Thank you to everyone who donated non-perishable food items and gave gifts of money to this important cause!

Lenten Food Donation

Fr. Rich and the students from Stella Maris Academy’s St. James campus enjoyed a skating party. After much anticipation, the skate-off occurred and Fr. Rich won…although I never heard “go” be officially announced…maybe next year, kids!

Meeting Tricia Lasky on Real Presence Live

Please take the time to hear an interview with our parishioner, Tricia Lasky, who has given so much to our parish. Here’s a chance to hear a heart on fire and discover what makes her “tick!”

Her interview starts at about 48 – 49 min. God bless you, Tricia, and thank you for all you give to us!