I hope this note finds you and your family doing well and enjoying our warmer weather. A special good luck and best wishes to our graduating class of 2022. I’m sure our graduates are busily getting ready for their new adventures at high school – we wish them the very best and hope they come back to visit us and share their many successes.

We were blessed the last week of school to have a little more than a dozen of our graduates who have just completed high school come to visit us and take part in the traditional Graduation Walk. These wonderful ladies and gentlemen shared with our students their future plans, the importance of the education they received at HFCS contributing to their success in high school. My eyes filled with tears when Mrs. Bukowski’s son shared his advice for success to our students, “Always keep Christ at the center of your life.” God bless these young people as they pursue college, the military, and entrepreneurship. And thank you for sharing time with us.

A team of HFCS educators just returned from New Orleans where we spent the last 5 days collaborating with teachers from all over the world. It was an amazing whirlwind of discovery at the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE), made possible through grant funding. We are excited to share what we learned and open discussions on how we can continue to improve student learning, support social and emotional growth, and empower our children to be Catholic leaders as they move forward in life. It was a blessing to see Mass being held at the convention center Sunday morning when we first arrived to gather our badges. A little unconventional setting for a well needed opportunity to gather with other Catholic educators at ISTE.

You are all in our prayers as we move through this lovely summer.

Pax et bonum,

Sue Styren


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

One of the most treasured traditions at Holy Family Catholic School is the ritual of honoring Mary the Mother of God with May Crowning Mass. May is the month traditionally dedicated to the devotion of our Blessed Mother. This event celebrates and recognizes Mary as Queen of Heaven. All students are encouraged to bring flowers tomorrow for Mary.

This year May Crowning will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at HFCS. The second grade class will lead the Mass presided by Father Sleeva and attended by the whole school, many parents, and parishioners. The Mass includes a procession of our second grade First Communicants dressed in their Communion attire, as well as First Communicants from other grades, and the crowning of The Blessed Mother with a floral wreath by our eighth grade crown bearers, Amelia Dach and Ian Rocha. Mary is crowned to symbolize the dignity and beauty God bestowed on her as our Heavenly Queen and Spiritual Mother. A reception for our First Communicants and 8th graders will follow in the Commons.

Congratulations to all of our students that have received their First Holy Communion. We pray for your journey in faith and celebrate your milestone. We are thrilled to have a few students making their First Communion, tomorrow during our May Crowning Mass. Blessings to all our families during this holy month of May.

Missoula Children’s Theater is in full swing. Students will be working on the production all week. We hope you will join us for one of the two performances at the end of the week, Friday and Saturday, more information can be found below.

Thank you again to all our sponsors and volunteers that helped to make the Auction a fabulous success.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren, M.Ed.


I cannot believe that we are already are in week 5 of Lent. This is a great time to reflect on our Lenten Journeys, make corrections to our course as necessary and finish up strong with our best Lent ever.

Loving God,

You have heard my complaints, my impatience.

Sometimes I become frightened

when I move away from you.

Guide my heart back to you.

Help me to think beyond my own wants

and to desire only to do you will.

Thank you for the many blessings in my life

and for the ways I feel your presence.

Today, HFCS was blessed to have a wonderful Penance Service hosted by our 2nd graders. Our fabulous parish priests, Fr. Sleeva, Fr. Len, and Fr. John, spent the majority of the day with us leading us in prayer, hearing confessions, and being with our students. Today was the first day our 2nd graders were able to participate in an all school Penance Service. The children were reverent and glowing. I’m so very proud of each of them – and their teachers who inspire them in their faith each day. Thank you to all the parents that made the 2nd grade reception so lovely and to Mrs. Murphy for facilitating this event.

If you have not already purchased tickets for the Gala on May 6th please purchase your tickets now. They are going fast! Thank you to all our volunteers that help make this event possible.

Blessings to all of your families as we continue through our Lenten season.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren


Happy 1st full week of Lent! Our students are looking forward to our almost daily Adoration. Their prayers and reverence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament is joy to participate in. I hope this Lenten season finds you and your family enjoying increased opportunities for family prayer.

Bless you and your family as we all journey through this wonderful Lenten season.

O gracious Master, infuse in our hearts the spotless light of Your Divine Wisdom and open the eyes of our mind that we may understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, so that having curbed all carnal desires, we may lead a spiritual life, both thinking and doing everything to please You. For You, O Christ, our God, are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies; and to You we render glory, together with Your eternal Father, and with Your all holy, life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and forever.


Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Family & Community Building

Thank you to all the families that turned out for our Annual Parents’ Night Out last Saturday evening. And special thanks to Fr. Len McMillan for his mini-retreat on Grit and Sacrifice. It was an amazing evening of faith, fun, and community. If you were not able to attend this year, I hope you will be able to join us next year. This spring, our Annual Gala and Auction, Denim and Diamonds, is shaping up to be another opportunity for parents to join together for a fun evening in support of the school. I hope you’ve made space on your calendar to attend.

Part of what makes HFCS so special is the parent volunteers that turn out to help in a variety of ways throughout the year. In order to volunteer, adults are required to take the diocesan sponsored Safe Environment Course. St. Thomas the Apostle Parish is offering a class Wednesday, February 23. 2022 at 5 pm in the Mission House. If you would like to register, please reach out to: [email protected] Registration is also available on the CMG Connect website.

We look forward to the remainder of our school year and have begun planning and preparing for 2022/2023. Please be sure to reach out to the office with any questions you may have regarding applications for new students and registration for returning students. More information can be found by clicking here.

Exciting plans are underway with regards to the feasibility of a Northern Idaho Catholic High School here in Coeur d’Alene. We invite you to come hear more about this endeavor and ask questions the afternoon of February 22, 2022 at 3:15 pm in our HFCS gymnasium. Please RSVP if you plan to attend, by clicking here.

Prayer for Community

Embracing Father,
You grace each of us with equal measure in your love.
Let us learn to love our neighbors more deeply,
so that we can create
peaceful and just communities.
Inspire us to use our creative energies
to build the structures we need
to overcome the obstacles
of intolerance and indifference.
May Jesus provide us the example needed
and send the Spirit to warm our hearts for the journey.


Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Third Week in Advent

This weekend we celebrated the third week of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word that means “rejoice!” On this day, we lit the rose colored candle of the Advent wreath. In the gospel reading, we read of John the Baptist, the messenger who pointed the way to Jesus. Jesus tells the people of the greatness of John, and he also tells them that those who follow Jesus are blessed and will inherit the kingdom.

As we continue through the Advent season, preparing ourselves for the celebration of Jesus’ coming at Christmas, we are invited to avail of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. There are numerous opportunities for individual Confession, and times are listed in the parish bulletins. Through participation in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus’ coming at Christmas. Our students in Grades 3 through 8 have had the opportunity to participate in a beautiful Reconciliation Service last week and this week where our priests from the three parishes joined together to provide our children with the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. We hope as a family, you will continue to avail yourself of this beautiful Sacrament throughout the year.

With the upcoming hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, the house to decorate and presents to wrap, it is important, as Catholics, to remember that Advent should be our focus. It is a difficult season to celebrate because of the commercialism of the secular world in which we live. At this time, we keep in mind people who are less fortunate in our community and the world. Thank you for all the donations we have received for the Senior Citizen Retirement Home and the coins collected by 2nd grade for the St. Vincent de Paul Warming Center. Our hearts are full as we look at the generosity of our HFCS community. –

According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year, Advent has a twofold nature: It prepares us for Christmas, when we recall Christ’s first coming among us, and it is also a time when we look forward to His second coming at the end of the ages. Advent is the season of joyful expectation. Our challenge, as Catholics, is to help our children to look beyond the materialism of Christmas and focus on spiritual preparation.

A special thank you to our students and Mrs. Bukowski for the wonderful Christmas program last Friday. And thank you as well to our amazing PIE volunteers for the Cookies, Cocoa, and Santa that followed the program. 

As we wind down the week, we hope that you will enjoy our time off from school, December 19th through January 2nd, when you can gather with friends and family to enjoy the special gifts of Christmas: hope, joy, and most importantly faith.

Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

“Saints such as Maximilian Kolbe have pondered the intimate relationship between the Divine Mercy and the Immaculate Conception and concluded that the relationship is so mysterious that its brightness overwhelms the intellect. These two mysteries are so intimately connected that it will take a whole host of saintly theologians, mystics and scholars to unveil the wonder. Just as the mystery of the Trinity is that which sheds light on all things, so the mystery of the Immaculate Conception is that which sheds light on the mystery of both creation and redemption.” – Father Donald Calloway, MIC

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in this Advent season, let us focus on the miracle God has set before us. Fr. Calloway goes on to explain that God planned to spiritually renew and elevate all creation according to the pattern of the Immaculate Conception; thus, the Immaculate Conception is not an after-thought but, rather, the instrument through which God sees the world. It is as though the Immaculate Conception were a set of bifocals given to us by Divine Mercy so that we can come to see both creation and salvation as God sees them.

The second week of advent focuses on peace. The peace that the birth of Christ brings over our circumstances, our desires, and our futures. As we continue through this Advent season may the peace of Christ be with you and your family.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Advent Prayer for Thursday

Father, thank You for fresh grace and a week full of promise. Lead me in Your way and fill my heart with Your love and joy.

Father, help me to see others as You see them. I ask that you guide every decision, response, effort and conversation I have all for your glory.

In Jesus’ name Amen

As We Begin Advent

I always prepare for Advent with Google searches. I know that may sound odd, but I like to begin Advent with a refreshed sense of prayer. I love looking for resources that will make this the best Advent ever. My search this year took me to Creighton University’s Online Ministries. The site is filled with resources to add to my growing Advent library. I hope you will find that special way in which your family may dive into Advent with renewed faith, hope, and prayer. “We begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world. It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope. Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire. We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose. And we want to prepare for his coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth.”

Each day this week, let’s start with a focus on faith. Take just a moment to remember that Christ is our light. Pause to pray for hope, joy, and love in our ever changing world.

“Lord, the light I choose to let into my life today is based on my trust in you. It is a weak flame, but I so much desire that it dispel a bit more darkness today. Today, I just want to taste the longing I have for you as I go to the meeting this morning, carry out the responsibilities of my work, face the frustration of some difficult relationships. Let this candle be my reminder today of my hope in your coming.”

Remember to take time for prayers as you gather for your evening meal and light the family Advent wreath. Encourage all members of your family to share what this week of Advent has meant to them, how are we all preparing for Christ’s coming.

This Advent, as a school, our Opening will include special Advent prayers, lighting the Advent Wreath, as well as traditional faith filled Christmas carols as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and His coming once again.

We are also making this a December to Remember! See the calendar for our very special 12 (really 13) Days of Christmas HFCS style.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Thanksgiving Blessings

On this “secular” holiday, infused as it is with such profoundly religious meaning, we should really take some time to reflect on the fact that the Greek word from which we derive the word “Eucharist” is rendered “Thanksgiving” in English. The Catechism reminds us that, “The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called: Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.” – CCC #1328

How appropriate. In that Sacrament of Sacraments, we receive Jesus Christ in His fullness, the greatest gift of the Father. And, we are called to give thanks. In the words of the Apostle Paul to the early Christians we are reminded to “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians. 5:16-18 One of the ways Christians do this is to become people who choose to live our lives for others. When we give thanks we learn to love.

Today, the Church calls her faithful sons and daughters to give thanks in her Liturgy. St. Teresa was fond of saying “We will not learn how to love if we are not grateful.” The Readings for the Mass for Thanksgiving call us to gratitude. Jesus, in His Sacred humanity, shows us how to live a life of gratitude and, through the gift of Himself, makes it all possible.

As we give thanks, we discover how to be faithful to our call to continue the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, Love Incarnate, in an age hungering for the fullness of God’s love. We are called to give thanks and we are called to love with the very Love of God in which all human love is revealed and through which all human love is perfected.

Please consider joining us in our school-wide service projects and continuing SUCCESS program this coming Advent, in support of those in need (see flier below). May the love of the Holy Family shine through you as we celebrate this Thanksgiving.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren