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EPISODE#228
OC CATHOLIC RADIO: THE PRESENTATION SISTERS: A NUNUMENTARY

It is always a pleasure to have new friends join us in the studio, high atop the Tower of Hope on the campus of Christ Cathedral. The topic on the table today is all about some wonderful, Godly servants who reside at St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach. They are known as ‘The Presentation Sisters.’ On this podcast, host Rick Howick welcomes three unique guests: Alexa Vellanoweth (a former student at St Bonaventure), Kim White (the principal at St. Bonaventure) and Vanessa Frei (Director of Marketing and Enrollment).

So what exactly is a “NUNUMENTARY?” Tune in, and find out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 5/15/21

AFTER VIRTUAL RE-OPENING, ST. BONAVENTURE EAGERLY AWAITS PARISHIONERS’ RETURN TO PEWS

Although it is still unclear when the physical doors of St. Bonaventure Church in Huntington Beach will re-open, during Easter weekend the faithful viewed live-streamed first peeks at the inside of the renovated church. 

A year-and-a-half and 200 loads of concrete after reconstruction began, and with a certificate of occupancy in hand, the church awaits only the lifting of the state’s stay-at-home order and the approval of the diocese to move in. 

For the first time since work began in September, 2018 on a $7.9 million project that structurally shored up the church and added upgrades and repositioning, Masses were celebrated and live-streamed over the Easter weekend. On Sunday, April 19, the church received another treat when Bishop Kevin Vann celebrated the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at the church, also shown via video. 

With the 900-seat church finally open for services, even if they are only virtual for now, the homestretch is in sight for parishioners who have sat through Masses in the cramped confines of the church hall, endured delays because of a historically rainy winter in 2018-2019 and, finally, a pandemic that shuttered churches across Southern California. 

“We feel a little like the people of Moses denied entrance,” joked Charles Falzon, parish manager. 

“The whole parish has looked forward to the opening,” said Vanessa Frei, director of marketing and enrollment at St. Bonaventure School, noting the original target date for the reopening had been July 19, 2019. 

Ironically, in March this year, Frei said the long-awaited certificate of occupancy for the church arrived the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his executive stay-at-home order. 

Although the wait has been long, leaders say the reconstruction of the church really couldn’t wait. Studies showed that since it opened on Easter in 1971, the center of the church had sunk six to nine inches. That required the pouring of an 18-inch slab and soil stabilizing, Falzon said. 

Kim White, principal of St. Bonaventure Catholic School, called the extended reconstruction period “a spiritual and prayerful adventure,” filled with “a full range of emotions with loneliness and longing intermixing with faith and hope.” 

“We gathered in His name as ‘living stones’ as we renovated His spiritual house,” Father Joseph Knerr, parish pastor, said in a prepared statement. 

In addition to pouring the slab, a number of other changes were made, including turning the church to face west, installing an elegant baptismal font, removing chandeliers, installing a large Belgian tapestry, changing the courtyard, relocating the organ and building a new chapel. As important to many parishioners, according to Church leaders, the bathrooms were expanded and updated. 

Many of the features of the original chapel were retained, Falzon said, including imported windows from France, and the church’s iconic Holy Spirit window. 

“It feels like a new church, but with the original feel,” Falzon said. 

Frei said the new orientation of the church also changes the way the light filters through the windows. 

The bishop toured the church and after Mass said he would return to bless the doors, baptismal font and chapel. 

That announcement filled church leaders with hope for the physical reopening. 

“As we come together as one community of faithful in our renovated church, there is a sense of pure peace and love in coming home after a long and difficult journey,” White said in a statement. 

“I think it will be a mixture of joy and euphoria,” said Falzon of the experience he expects. “Not just moving back in, it’s being allowed to get together as people of God to worship together.”

WELCOME HOME

St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach is eagerly anticipating sharing the “good news” of our unique school community during the annual celebration of catholic schools during National Catholic Schools Week during the last week of January. 

The yearly celebration of Catholic schools during Catholic Schools Week allows parents, students, faculty, administration, clergy and staff to celebrate with joy all that makes our school community unique. The celebration and observance this year starts on Sunday, Jan. 28 and runs to Feb. 3. 

The celebration of Catholic schools revolves around the theme of community; Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. This theme acknowledges that our schools are part of a larger community that includes our families, our parish, our city and our country. Our goals for our students throughout the year, not just during Catholic Schools Week, are to Learn, Serve, Lead and Succeed. 

As a community of faith, our students will begin the week celebrating Mass with our parish community, followed by our “Welcome Home” themed all-school Open House from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. At our 9:00 a.m. Sunday community Mass the students will give witness to our school motto, “Not words, but deeds” and serve others as Jesus did as altar servers, lectors, and gift bearers. Throughout the week the children will also be writing letters of thanks to our priests, deacons and sisters involved in our various parish ministries, as well as inviting them into their classrooms to have them share their unique call to the religious life. 

As communities of knowledge, St. Bonaventure students will showcase their God-given gifts as life-long learners with displays of student work throughout the campus, they will share their love of reading with a local author, dress as their favorite literary character, read with a “Buddy” class and participate in a school wide “Drop Everything and Read” activity. We are especially proud of our enrichment STEM program that fully engages our students in hands-on activities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Our active life-long learners explore different concepts through fun and engaging projects from Chemistry, Rocketry, Physics, Engineering, Coding, Electronics and Robotics.  

As communities of service, St. Bonaventure School students are active Christ-centered Catholics throughout the year – not just during Catholic Schools Week. Our monthly “Jesus Jeans Days” focuses on Catholic social teaching; Life and Dignity of a Human Person (Save the Storks), Call to Family, Community and Participation (Parish H.O.P.E. Outreach), Care for God’s Creation for the Poor and Vulnerable (Catholic Relief Services) and most recently, partnering with St. Rose School in Santa Rosa that was recently impacted by the wildfires with a generous monetary donation 

As principal, I am very proud of our students and I am looking forward to “welcoming home” our families and friends to share the “good news” of Catholic education. In addition I am especially grateful for the dedication and commitment of our teachers, staff, parents and volunteers who continually give of themselves to make our school a success. It truly is a “Great day to be a Saint!”  

 

ST. BONAVENTURE STUDENTS HELP SANTA ROSA STUDENTS

The recent tragedy in Santa Rosa brought out the very best in St. Bonaventure Catholic School students. As a community, the primary mission of the school is to partner with parents to provide a Christ-centered environment where the students can grow in their faith and become active Christ-centered Catholics. St. Bonaventure’s school-wide monthly Jesus Jean Days – a day that focuses on Catholic social-teaching themes – provided an ideal opportunity for students to actively live their faith by supporting St. Rose School in Santa Rosa. St. Rose School had several classrooms destroyed by the recent wildfires that devastated their surrounding communities. 

St. Bonaventure Catholic School reached out to the principal of St. Rose School and offered to help, not only through daily prayer, but with a monetary donation. St. Bonaventure eagerly embraced the partnership and opportunity to actively live out their faith. In October, students went above and beyond and challenged each other to give more than the requested donation of $1.00 in order to wear jeans to school. A typical “Jesus Jean Day” brings in $300 in donations for a designated charity. Students generously donated over a $1,000 to support this heartfelt cause.  

In addition to the money raised through “Jesus Jean Day” the first-grade students decided to spearhead a book drive for St. Rose School for their class service project. Mrs. Denise Grant, the first-grade teacher, worked closely with the school librarian Mrs. Kathi Vogel to coordinate a school-wide book drive with their yearly Scholastic Book Fair that was being held in early November. Containers were placed in every classroom and the school office to encourage donations that would go toward the purchase of books that the school lost in the fire. 

At the conclusion of the Scholastic Book Fair the donations from the St. Bonaventure School community again exceeded $1,000. Scholastic Books offered to match the donation to the All for Books Program to support this worthy cause. The total monetary gift to St. Rose School, through the generous partnership with Scholastic Books, totaled $2,162. 

The students truly demonstrated their lived faith as active Christ-Centered Catholics at St. Bonaventure Catholic School – It is always a great day to be a saint!  

 

ST. BONAVENTURE’S SUMMER ACADEMY IS A GREAT SUCCESS

 

St. Bonaventure Catholic School, located in Huntington Beach, recently completed its first five-week K-8 summer program with the great enthusiasm of all participants. Throughout the session students were able to experience engaging activities presented by the school’s highly qualified credentialed teachers. This allowed for active learning, while genuinely promoting fun for students and teachers alike.  

Some of the activities included STEM, drama, installation art, fairytales, movie making, Shakespearean literature, and Bible heroes.  

The goal of any teacher is for a student to want to learn, and that is exactly what happened on campus this summer. Another major asset to the program was the extended day camp, a before- and after-Academy care program in which the students continued their learning and fun.  

The summer program was attended by St. Bonaventure’s students, parishioners and children from the surrounding communities.  

ST. BONAVENTURE HOSTS MENTAL HEALTH FORUM

St. Bonaventure Parish’s Justice and Peace Ministry and Knights of Columbus Council 6020 will sponsor a Mental Health Awareness Forum at 7 p.m. on May 12. Experts will discuss symptoms and behaviors of mental illness and available support services, and mental health organizations will provide exhibits and information about community resources and services, support groups, educational events and lending libraries.

For more information, call Kristen Pankratz at 714-846-6891 or Deacon Joe Sullivan at 714-842-9707. To register, visit https://justicepeacesb.shutterfly.com or email justicepeace.stb@gmail.com.v St. Bonaventure Parish is at 16400 Springdale St., Huntington Beach.

ST. BONAVENTURE ROBOTICS TEAM ATTENDS NATIONAL CONFERENCE

The Robotics team from St. Bonaventure Catholic School in Huntington Beach attended the annual CUE National Conference recently. The school was the only diocesan school in the region to meet the requirements to attend.

The team, under the leadership of teacher Phat To, demonstrated aerospace engineering with rocket and airplane projects, civil engineering with bridge-building projects and programming and robotics operations.