December 14, 2017

Dan's Blog
For some people, to get in the mood for Christmas they need to put up and decorate their Christmas trees. For others, seeing Christmas lights on the homes around the neighborhood gets them in the  Christmas spirit. But for me, it's listening to Christmas carols that gets me most in the mood for Christmas. And now that my wife's car has Sirius radio, whenever we're driving together, since the end of November, we've been able to toggle between various Sirius stations to hear Christmas music. I'm also looking forward to arriving early to get a seat for Christmas Mass, as the choir typically sings about 30 straight minutes of Christmas hymns and carols. 
One of my favorite songs has always been, "O Holy Night." (Go HERE to listen and see the lyrics.) When you look at the beginning of the lyrics, this carol fits in today's world so perfectly.
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Hmmm... "The weary world..."
Today's news can be so depressing and disheartening. We have the threat of North Korea and Iran unrest in our own country with constant marches and protests ...vile language spewed back and forth between political parties and their supporters ...a new story every morning of a politician or celebrity sexually harassing women ...fires, floods, and other natural disasters devastating communities ...Islamist-attacks in European cities and on Coptic-Christians ...etc. ...etc. ...etc. 
A weary world INDEED!
And so in today's weariness, we "REJOICE!" There is a "THRILL OF HOPE!" 
Christmas is when our Almighty God chose to descend into our broken world and become one of us. Think about it; that's incredible! God becomes man, enters our dark, weary world, and is our light in the darkness! 
Speaking of light, i t was nice to see the lighting of the National Christmas tree near the White House two weeks ago, when the President plainly and proudly explained why Christmas is so special:
          "Christmas is a Holy season - the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Christmas story begins 2000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby son, and the most extraordinary gift of all, the gift of God's love for all of humanity. 
          Whatever our beliefs, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of this incredible life forever changed the course of human history. There's hardly an aspect of our lives today that his life has not touched: art, music, culture, law, and our respect for the sacred dignity of every person everywhere in the world. 
          Each and every year at Christmas time we recognize that the real spirit of Christmas is not what we have, it's about who we are - each one of us is a child of God.
          That is the true source of joy this time of the year. 
          That is what makes every Christmas 'merry.' 
          And that is what we remember today - that we are called to serve one another, to love one another, and to pursue peace in our hearts and all throughout the world." (See more HERE)

On behalf of the St. Louise teachers and staff, I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas! May you and we all realize there is a thrill of hope for our weary world, as we can now rejoice in the birth of our Savior!
Thanks for reading, 
Mr. Fitz
The school office closes Friday at 3:30 (and Kids' Club closes at 5:45), and then we'll be totally closed and on vacation through Monday, January 1. We resume on Tuesday, January 2.
That week we return, the School Commission meets on Thursday, January 4, at 6:30PM. We are looking for at least two parents to join the School Commission next fall, and I'd ask all parents to consider contacting me to express an interest in joining. Commission members meet approximately six evenings a year, providing guidance and advice to the school administration in the areas of policy (law), finance, and marketing. So, especially if you have experience in any of these three areas, please contact me and/or come to the meeting on the 4th. All parents are always invited to attend Commission meetings.
I'm also looking for applicants for our open Auction Director position. (See the article below.) This position would be a super opportunity for a parent looking for a part time job that:
  1. Has some flexibility in the hours/days you work;
  2. Gives the person a chance to make new friends with so many parents;
  3. Gives the person an opportunity to help their children's school in a dramatic way.

By the way, we will consider making the Auction Director position a job-share if there are two parents interested who would work less hours as they divide some of the job responsibilities.

Upcoming Calendar of Events  
  • Bake Sale - to raise funds for junior high expenses
  • Parents' Club Meeting in faculty room, 6:30PM - all parents invited
  • Hot Chocolate for sale for $1 outside north wings' OT room from 7:55-8:25AM (see article below)
  • School Band performs outside north wing during morning carpool - drive by with your windows down!
  • School dismisses at 3:00 for Christmas Vacation; school resumes on Tuesday, January 2, 2018
  • Maureen Still Band Concert in the church, 7:00PM - all families invited

Sunday and Monday, December 24 & 25
  • Christmas Eve Masses at St. Louise Church: 3PM, 6PM, 9PM, Midnight in Spanish
  • Christmas Day Masses at St. Louise Church:  8AM, 10AM

Sunday, December 31
  • Deadline for St. Louise Parishioners to make their annual Stewardship pledge to the church for 2018 (see Fr. Gary's letter below)
 Wednesday, January 3
  • Twice-weekly rehearsals begin after school for the school musical, Honk Jr.; the performances of Honk Jr. have been scheduled for dates different than the original calendared dates - save March 15 & 16 for the updated-calendared performance dates; tickets will go on sale prior

Thursday, January 4
  • School Commission meeting at 6:30PM in the faculty room; all parents are welcome to attend Commission meetings

Friday, January 5
  • Grades 7 & 8 have NO SCHOOL this day; their teachers will be working on high school application paperwork for the 8th grade students all day; teachers will continue through Saturday working on these applications
Monday, January 8
  • Kids' Club re-registration for current Kids' Club students begins today; deadline for current Kids' Club families to assure their space for 2018-19 ends January 15
Saturday, February 3
  • Father/Daughter Dance - save the date - registration begins in January

School Parents Who Are Paying In-Parish Tuition Rates Must Renew Stewardship Commitment
Please read Father Gary's letter below, directed toward you school parents who are also St. Louise Parish parishioners.  Now is the time to begin a new stewardship commitment. Thank you for completing THIS required task by no later than December 31. If you are paying our "in-parish/contributing-parishioner tuition rate," then you must renew your stewardship commitment annually.

When you fulfill your annual stewardship pledge by the end of each calendar year, and begin a new stewardship commitment with the start of a new calendar year, you are not only helping St. Louise Parish, but you are helping St. Louise School. And since your contribution to the Parish is tax-deductible, it's a win-win-win situation:

1. You make a tax-deductible, charitable contribution with your stewardship;
2. The Parish increases its revenue, and in turn is able to financially support the School;
3. You receive a lesser (parishioner) tuition rate. 
Dear Parish Family,

I write to you today with a profound sense of gratitude for the many wonderful blessings that you have shared with St. Louise this past year.

I have seen your open-handed stewardship of time (truly hours and hours) and talent (amazing gifts). I've witnessed or been a part of so many beautiful, Spirit-filled liturgical celebrations and communal prayer experiences, so much service to those in need and to the parish community in all of our many ministries, countless meetings, planning and celebrating parish wide events like the recent picnic, the Christ Renews His Parish spiritual renewal process and Financial Peace University, just to name a few - all of which are made possible thanks to your time and talent. I'm also humbled by all the time and talent you put into the prayer and preparations that have led us to begin the exciting journey from Maintenance to Mission for our parish. We've taken the foundational steps of crafting our new parish mission statement - our mission is to "Ignite Faith and Witness God's Love" - and implementing a new parish organizational structure. Not one of these things could happen without you parishioners' generous stewardship of your time and talent. I thank you all.

And as you know, stewardship is not just about time or talent. It also includes our treasure, our financial sharing with the Church and other charities. I am deeply grateful for the financial generosity that our parishioners have shared with St. Louise. Through your financial commitment, we have been able to address the many needs of our parish. This includes maintenance and repair of our aging Church building, original school buildings, Parish Hall and Parish Center office building. We were able to complete the build-out of the remaining four classrooms on the second floor of our School and Faith Formation Center. We have been able to keep up with operating expenses and make some special expenditures, like helping start up the New Bethlehem Day Center and offering Christ Renews His Parish. Great things are happening through God's providence and the faithful contributions of so many parishioners. I thank you all.
Together with these wonderful endeavors, we see the Holy Spirit leading us to expand our work (and our staff) in the areas of family life, youth, young adults, evangelization, and outreach ministries. We look to start building a healthy reserve to be able to fund the next phase of our campus master plan for our facilities. To live our mission, usher in the growth that we seek and properly sustain the good works that we hope to continue, we need to move forward with a concerted effort to increase our Sunday offertory collection.

I would ask that you reflect on your generous financial commitment to the parish and, for those of you who are able, if you could add a few dollars more each week to your contribution. If everyone who can, does, the burden on each household will be small and the benefits to our amazing parish will be great.  

I realize that this is not easy for everyone, but it is appropriate to present it to all. This opportunity to give reminds us that God is the source and owner of all things, and that we are not owners but simply the stewards of everything we have. We willingly give of our time, talent and treasure back to God, not as an afterthought but as a first priority. If we have an "attitude of gratitude" to God for all that He has so abundantly given us, then how can we not give back to God a generous portion of our first fruits? "Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be" (Matthew 6:21).

A Stewardship of Treasure Commitment Card can be completed electronically at the parish website. There I ask you to please indicate your financial pledge for 2018. We've included a table showing sample giving levels you may wish to consider. Having a specific pledge amount from everyone is very important - it helps us predict the income side of our parish budget.
The parish/school staff and I are extremely appreciative of everyone's past generosity to the parish. I thank you in advance for your support, understanding, and kindness. We wish you and your family a most blessed and beautiful Advent.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Gary Zender

If you haven't done so, we encourage you to set up your regular contributions electronically, using our secure and convenient online giving system.   Please don't hesitate to contact Barbara at 425 214-5471 or JT at 425 214-5473 if you need help setting up your Online Giving account.
You can also download the Online Giving app by Our Sunday Visitor, to create and manage your Online Giving account using your mobile device.  When registering for the first time, our St. Louise Parish ID# is 1368 or by zip code 98007.

St. Louise School Has a Job Opening
With Sue Richards soon leaving her role as St. Louise Auction Director, we have a job opening for this position. You'll find details of this new opening on our website and also at the Archdiocesan website.
If you are looking to join the St. Louise staff, or know someone looking for a job, and you/they have the qualifications listed in the job opening listing, please apply. Interviews for the new Auction Director will take place in January, and the position begins in February. Please email Dan Fitzpatrick or Sue if you have questions about the position.
We Are So Proud of Annie
          Great news! One of our students won the a statewide essay contest! Northwest Catholic magazine asked all the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese to participate in their annual essay contest. Each school was to submit their top three student essays per grade level, and from the hundreds submitted from schools throughout Western Washington, Annie Wilken from our 5th grade, won Northwest Catholic's grade K-5 division!
          Annie's photo will grace the cover of the January/February 2018 issue of Northwest Catholic. She also will receive $150. Additionally, Annie has won a $500 grant for her teacher, Mary Talevich, to use for purchasing supplies and items for the 5th grade curriculum.
          The essay contest this year asked students in grades K-12 to answer the following question: "How can you share Jesus with others?" Essays were judged on content, creativity and mechanics (organization, grammar, spelling).
          Here is Annie's winning essay:
How Can You Share Jesus with Others?
     While getting out of the car at school, my mom placed her thumb on my forehead, traced the sign of the cross saying, "Let Jesus shine through you today."  I thought, how can I share Jesus with others today? As I walked through the halls at school, I smiled a big smile to my classmates and they smiled back. I remembered when my family was serving at a homeless shelter, all the people seemed thankful for the food and even more for our friendliness and smiles. I realized how a simple smile can share Jesus.
     On my birthday, my mom was taking me out to eat. I saw a homeless man on the sidewalk. I asked if we could drive over and give him a bag of snacks that was in the car. When I handed it to him, I looked into his face, his eyes were tired and sad, his raspy voice said, "God bless you!" I felt happy, like Jesus was standing right next to me. I realized just a little act of kindness really was sharing Jesus with others and he shared Jesus right back!
     In life just being myself, being kind, is sharing Jesus with others. When people I love are sad, not their normal selves, they need me to share Jesus. When altar serving, reading the Bible with my little brothers, gathering clothes for the poor, I feel like Jesus is smiling in heaven. And that is what God has sent us to do here on earth!
     --Annie Wilken, St. Louise School, 5th grade, Class 5A, Bellevue, WA
Online Giving App Makes Donating & Paying Easier
What is the easy way to make online payments/donations to St. Louise School? Use the Online Giving app provided for IPhone or Google devices. You can easily get to the app by clicking on one of the following links on your mobile device.
The app makes it easy to select the payment you would like to make (field trip, milk, Walk-a-thon, etc.) or to make a donation to the school. You also may use the app to review your payment history. Under "Giving History" check if you paid your auction grade project fee, milke fee, or any other school-related fee you pay online.
With the end of the calendar year here, there is still time to make a donation to St. Louise for your tax purposes to add to your charitable giving totals! Thank you for considering us at this deadline time!
If you have questions, please email our bookkeeper, Amy Thielman.
For Google/Android Device users
For IPhone/IPad users

Choose Your Christmas Mass Time
          This year the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve fall on the same day.  Father Gary wants to remind us: "Remember that the 4th Sunday of Advent is of no less importance than attending Mass on Christmas!"
          Here is St. Louise Parish's unique schedule this year:
  • 4th Sunday of Advent Masses: Saturday Evening at 5:00 pm in English and  7:00 pm in Spanish;  Sunday Morning at 7:30 am and 9:00 am both in English (no 11:00 am or 1:00 pm Masses)
  • Christmas Eve Masses: 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 9:00 pm all in English; midnight in Spanish
  • Christmas Day Masses: 8:00 am and 10:00 am both in English   
Students Are Expected to Be Active Christians

Student Learning Expectations - SLEs - are expectations that our students should know, understand, value, and be able to do by the time they graduate from St. Louise School. These 12 SLEs comprise four categories important to the development of a well-rounded student: an active Christian; a life-long learner; a well-balanced individual; and a community member. Each month, one or two different SLEs are focused on school-wide until the 12 expectations are covered by the end of the school year.
December's two Student Learning Expectation focused on throughout the school were:
  • #1.2 "A St. Louise student is an active Christian who knows Roman Catholic teachings and traditions and has a working knowledge of the Bible."
  • #1.3 "A St. Louise student is an active Christian who actively participates in the service for which God calls us."
Below are highlights from some of the classrooms on how they have been working on achieving these two SLEs.

To demonstrate the expectations that they both know Catholic traditions and have a working knowledge of the Bible, our 5th graders studied the pattern of the poetry in the Psalms and wrote Thanksgiving-psalms. Mrs. Talevich's and Mrs. Cervantes' students also have been reading the infancy narratives in Luke 2 and Matthew 2, and comparing them. Furthermore, each student wrote one verse of the Gospels' infancy narrative on their classroom Advent calendars, and are turning over a calendar piece each morning, reading the scripture together.

To actively participate in the service for which God calls us, students in the 7th grade are participating in a special Archdiocesan program - "Missionary Discipleship." Mr. Gallant's and Mr. Weiss's students traveled to Christ Our Hope Church in Seattle. Under the leadership of Mrs. Herridge, students were called into service to feed and clothe the needy and less fortunate. This experience allowed students to meet with individuals receiving help from Christ our Hope, and to see "Jesus" in them.

Our 2nd graders wrote about how they personally practice Catholic traditions at Advent.

Our 3rd graders demonstrated understanding of the December SLEs in several ways. Both Mrs. Berlin's and Miss Etter's students have Advent calendars with daily Bible verses on them, and these verses are not just discussed daily, but are used as students have generated personal goals to help them create a "path to Jesus" in the Advent season. Additionally, the 3rd graders report to the church every Friday and organize the hymnals, clean out the pews, and replenish the pews' envelopes. This is a great way for them to serve our church.

In 1st grade, the kids participated in the service for which God calls us by having a coat drive. First, Mrs. Howell's and Miss Helfen's students learned about people in our community who are in need and how the St. Vincent de Paul Society is one organization which assists the needy. Then students were asked to bring in and solicit donations for gently-used coats to be given to those who do not have coats for this upcoming winter. All the 1st graders were enthusiastic to help donate, as evidenced by them collecting more than 50 coats to donate to St. Vincent de
Paul a few weeks ago. In addition, after learning about the difference about Saints and some of our famous canonized Saints, the 1st graders were asked how can we be "saints in training" here on Earth in our daily lives? What can we do to be like the saints, live like they did, and treat others like Jesus? Each student wrote about how he or she can practice being a "saint in training" and then colored a "saintly" version of themselves to accompany their writing. (See at right.)

In junior high Spanish classes, the 7th and 8th graders have been learning about the tradition of Día de los Muertos - a celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day in Latin American cultures.  Students contributed to constructing an ofrenda (offering) in the classroom, and learned about the significance of the traditional items placed on the altar.  Mrs. Lux's students are now learning about the celebration of Las Posadas, the nine days signifying the nine months Mary carried Jesus in her womb. The junior high students know that Las Posadas is a festive reminder that if you do accept Jesus into your life, then your eternal life will be a celebration.

Our 6th graders can point to the Eucharist Adoration they attended in the parish chapel as a sign they are practicing Catholic teachings and traditions, as Adoration is a practice in the Catholic, tradition, in which the Blessed Sacrament is adored by the faithful. Also, Mrs. Patterson's and Mr. Glaser's students are learning in religion class about Judaism, and how there are spiritual bonds linking Jews and Christians, with a great spiritual patrimony common to both religions.

Finally, our kindergarteners provided evidence in both writings and drawings that they are learning about Catholic traditions and the Bible and that they participate in service for which God calls us. Below are example writings/drawings from some of Mrs. Alleman's and Mrs. Samson's students.

In the two kindergarteners' different depictions of this one Bible story, Mr. Fitz is partial to the second drawing. Hmmm....wonder why?

As we move into January, the focus school-wide will be on two new Student Learning Expectations. The SLEs of the Month for January will be: 
  • #4.1 "A St. Louise student is a community member who honors the gifts of others and values the dignity of each person."
  • #4.3 "A St. Louise student is a community member who accepts leadership roles and collaborates with others."
Parents can help reinforce these expectations by discussing the meaning at home and brainstorming ways you and your family members demonstrate these same actions in your personal lives. 
Charger Cards

Charger Cards make great Christmas gifts for school teachers and staff.  You can find the "Faculty Wish List" HERE.  Thanks in advance to families who generously gift the faculty and purchase Charger Cards to do so!

We have big news - Safeway cards are back!  $25 and $100 Safeway cards will be back in stock this week.  These cards are even reloadable!  Place your order online, drop off your order in the School Office, or stop by the window on Friday morning.  If you have any questions about using reloadable cards, just let us know.
Christmas is coming!  Would you like to support St. Louise School (and make some great progress on your family rebate accumulation) through your usual spending this Christmas season?  We offer Charger Cards for hundreds of retailers you are sure to be shopping with. Why not buy your gifts with Charger Cards and provide a gift to St. Louise School with every gift you give?

Snowflake Lane and Bellevue Botanical Garden d'lights has started! Plan a family evening to include dinner downtown and the Holiday Festivities!  We have stocked up on some special cards that will help you to dine out for a good cause.
* Maggiano's (11%)
* Red Robin (20%)
* PF Chang (8%)
* Cheesecake Factory (5%)
* California Pizza Kitchen (8%)
* Ruth Chris (10%)
* McCormick & Schmick's (9%)
* Daniel's Broiler (37%)
* Wild Ginger (20%)
* Purple Café (20%)
* Palomino (20%)
* Seastar (20%)

The Charger Cards sale office in the central wing of the original school is open on school-Fridays from 8:15-8:45AM. For questions or more information on Charger Cards, please email or visit

Consider Stepping-Up to Help

          Do you love fresh air? Do you want an opportunity to see our happy St. Louise students at the end of the day? Do you want to earn volunteer hours in a practical way, by volunteering when you're already planning on being at school? Then, becoming a carpool traffic director is the right volunteer opportunity for you!
          Mr. Fuerte is asking for additional parent volunteers to help out during afternoon carpool. He will be losing a couple of parent volunteers in January, and he needs your help. Being a carpool traffic director is a great opportunity for you as a parent to earn those needed volunteer hours and help out in making sure that carpool runs safely and smoothly. No previous experience is necessary, as Mr. Fuerte will help train you during your first week. Your child(ren) simply wait on the carpool sidewalk talking to their friends while you complete your 2:50-3:20 job one day a week.
          If you are interested in volunteering for one afternoon a week starting in January, please contact Vice Principal, Mike Fuerte . Thank you very much for stepping-up!

Speech Team Shines
         Congratulations to the St. Louise Speech Team who competed with 18 other schools at the Bishop Blanchet High School Speech Tournament on December 9th. We are proud of all our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who competed, and we congratulate these St. Louise students who won or placed in various categories: to
Erin Tylutki - Most Inspirational Award and Finalist in Senior Expository
Daniela Castillo - Finalist in Senior Humorous and 1st Place in Senior Impromptu (earning a scholarship to Bishop Blanchet High School)
Ellie Charles - 2nd Place in Junior Expository and Finalist in Junior Humorous
Frances Kowal - 2nd Place in Senior Impromptu and Finalist in Senior Dramatic
Jack Kehoe - 3rd Place in Junior Oratory
Elsa Kammereck - Finalist in Senior Impromptu
Courtney Stockwell - Finalist in Junior Humorous
Grace Barrows - Finalist in Junior Dramatic
          Many thanks to the parents who served as coaches and to the following people who judged at the tournament, helping Mrs. Patterson and Mr. Gallant: Margie Clinton, Andreas Kammereck, Tami Kowal, John D'Costa, Stasia Kehoe, Vimal Stephen, Kim Stockwell, Shannon Wallis.
          The Speech Team, pictured below, will next compete at the Seattle Prep Speech Tournament on January 13th.

See what's happening on our St. Louise Facebook page