Celebrating Our Students

Dear HFCS Friends and Families,

A parent recently inquired, “My child keeps talking about Hawk awards; what are they?” When students are observed demonstrating the Schoolwide Learning Expectations, they may receive a Soaring Like a Hawk recognition card that looks like an oversized business card. Students bring the card to my office and place a ticket in a special jar. Each month a ticket is selected. These students’ are announced, and they are awarded a prize.

Now you might ask, what are the Schoolwide Learning Expectations (SLE)? Every morning our students recite the school pledge that embodies our SLEs. In brief, students are expected to be Christ-centered, active learners and empowered disciples, living the school mission at all times. I am delighted to announce that many students receive Soaring Like a Hawk recognition each month. I am so proud of the amazing ladies and gentlemen our students are growing up to be as they represent themselves and our school throughout the community.

The theme for Catholic Schools Week 2023 is Academic, Faith, Leadership, Value: Catholic Schools Always Reaching Higher. Across the nation, Catholic Schools will celebrate during the week of January 29. Our school has seen increased enrollment over the past two years; we have been a stronghold of academic and Catholic education for over 25 years! We hope you will join us in celebrating all of our Catholic schools and pray for their continued growth and commitment to quality Catholic education. Watch the bulletin for more information regarding Catholic Schools Week @ HFCS. Please join us in praying that we may continue to spread the Word of Christ through our actions and our devotion to our children, who are the future of the Church.

Living God, open our eyes and grant us the wisdom to discern your presence.

Thank you for never leaving us alone.


Pax et bonum,
Sue Styren, M.Ed.

Message From the Principal – Happy New Year!

Dear HFCS Friends and Families,

On behalf of the Holy Family Catholic School faculty & staff, I would like to wish you all a Happy New year and welcome everyone back. We are also excited to welcome some new families into our school community. I would like to thank you for your generosity shown during Advent; we were able to collect tons of canned goods for our local food bank as well as exceed expectations for the 2nd Grade Advent collection which supports the St. Vincent de Paul Warming Center. The rest of the school year will be busy with many activities. Please keep our 2nd grade students in your prayers as they continue to prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. And thank you all for your generosity to my staff and me over the Christmas season. We at HFCS are truly blessed with a warm, loving, faith filled community. Wishing you all blessings of health and happiness for 2023!

This year let’s remember to focus on our school mission statement which clearly expresses the Catholic identity of our school:

HFCS Mission Statement

The mission of our Roman Catholic School is to promote excellence in education – spiritually, academically, and physically – for the whole person, thereby nourishing the gifts uniquely given to each by God.

We look forward to the remaining school year which will be filled with many adventures, opportunities for learning and for growing closer to God.

A New Year Prayer

Holy Father, God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.

We praise You for Your unequaled greatness.

Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.

Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more.

To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.

To teach others to love by loving them.

Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.

So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.

That we could share Love with others.

Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise, in the stories of our old folks, and the fantasies of our children.

We pray for peace, for light, and for hope, that we might spread them to others.

We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what’s ahead, depending on You to help us do exactly what You want.



Pax et bonum,

Sue Styren, M.Ed.

3rd Week of Advent – Be the Light of Christ

Dear HFCS Friends and Families,

As we begin the third week of Advent with love for our Lord Jesus Christ, please join us in prayer to request the intercession of St. Lucy as we celebrate her feast day today …

Saint Lucy,

whose beautiful name signifies light,

by the light of faith which

God bestowed upon you

increase and preserve His

light in my soul

so that I may avoid evil and

be zealous in the performance

of good works,

and detest nothing so much as

the blindness and the darkness

of evil and sin.

Obtain for me, by your

intercession with God

perfect vision for my bodily eyes

and the grace to use them for God’s

greater honor and glory

and the salvation of souls.

St. Lucy, virgin and martyr

hear my prayers and obtain my petitions.


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 will have the opportunity to participate in a beautiful Reconciliation Service later this week. We are grateful to all of our priests who will join 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 Food Drive 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. –

Don’t forget … our Annual HFCS Christmas Program. This year we will gather together on Friday, December 16th at Pope St. Pius X for the 6 pm Concert followed by Cookies and Crafts with Santa. There is no charge for this event – donations are accepted at the Cookies and Crafts with Santa. Students in grades 5 through 8 should arrive at 5:30 pm, students in grades 4 and under should arrive no later than 5:45 pm. Children should be dressed in their Christmas best – Santa hats, scarves, etc. make great additions.

Pax et bonum,

Sue Styren, M.Ed.

2nd Week of Advent – Joyfully Awaiting Christ

Dear HFCS Friends and Families,

As we begin the second week of Advent with joy in our hearts please join us in prayer to St. Nicholas as we celebrate his feast day today …

Good St Nicholas,

Help us prepare for the miracle of the coming of Jesus.

Help us not to be blind to the gifts of getting ready.

Help us be sincere in the greetings we send and receive, with love and prayer.

Kind St. Nicholas, protect us from shoppers’ fatigue, stress, overspending, yet help us to be kind and generous of heart to all, especially those who are alone, financially poor and fearful.

May our celebration of your feast lead others to see the true meaning of giving and receiving and to guide all people to

the greatest of all gifts, even Jesus Christ, prince of peace and child of Mary, Our Lord and only savior.


We are quickly approaching our Annual HFCS Christmas Program. This year we will gather together on Friday, December 16th at Pope St. Pius X for the 6 pm Concert followed by Cookies and Crafts with Santa. There is no charge for this event – donations are accepted at the Cookies and Crafts with Santa. Students in grades 5 through 8 should arrive at 5:30 pm, students in grades 4 and under should arrive no later than 5:45 pm. Children should be dressed in their Christmas best – Santa hats, scarves, etc. make great additions.

Pax et bonum,

Sue Styren, M.Ed.

1st Week of Advent – Filled With Hope

Dear HFCS Friends and Families,

Hope, our focus for the first week of Advent. During a tech committee meeting about five years ago, we asked the parents gathered “Why do you send your child to a Catholic school?” I’ll never forget Mike O’Dell’s response, one word – HOPE. Hope, it’s what ties us together as Catholics. It’s what helps us to get up each morning and face the day. Hope. Hope in Christ, hope in our families, hope in our faith. May you be filled with hope this holy season.

Each day this week, let’s start with a focus on hope. 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.

God bless you and keep you safe.

Pax et bonum,

Sue Styren, M.Ed.

Message From the Principal – He Looked Up and Saw Him

Dear HFCS Friends and Families,

Who among us has not felt like Zacchaeus, from the Gospel of St. Luke this morning? Who hasn’t felt at some point that they weren’t good enough or worthy enough? “Because Zacchaeus worked hard and risked embarrassment to see Jesus, Jesus saw him and did not pass him by. In the best sense, Zacchaeus stood out to Jesus, and Jesus connected with him.” We are reminded in the Gospel today that we need to risk ourselves in order to grow closer to Christ. Being a Christian is not always the easy thing to be but the tenets of our faith will keep us on the right path as we move forward in life.

Thank you to all in our community that continue to support our efforts in faith formation and education here at HFCS, through our SUCCESS Campaign, volunteering, and prayers. Thank you especially to the Knights of Columbus, St. Thomas the Apostle, who generously donated to our school this week. Your faith in our mission is appreciated.

The beginning of November is often the start of the “holiday season.” For many parents, this is a time of tremendous stress, as you scramble to prepare for family gatherings, and squirrel away the coveted Christmas gifts. This time of year can be very secular in nature and while that should not be the focus, it is difficult to avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of toy lists and children’s expectations. But it is also a time of renewing faith, recognizing heroes in our community and of the Church. We look at how we can express our gratitude and thanks for the many blessings God has given us.

In this season of gratitude, I pause and consider the importance of the families that create our school community. Your commitment to the faith and educating your child in a faith-filled environment is vital to the sustainability of our Diocesan Catholic school and local parishes. It is through the parents and families that children embark on a rich and vibrant faith journey. I thank you for your continued presence in our school community, understanding the choices and sacrifices that are made to partake in a Catholic education.

May you and your family enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving, filled with the abundance provided from our Creator. Take the time to reflect on the greatest blessings of children, family, and friends. As Zacchaeus was grateful that Jesus looked up and connected with him, let us all connect in gratitude for our faith and each other.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Message From the Principal – Celebrating Champions of our Faith & Country

Dear HFCS Families and Friends,

What a perfect day to celebrate our Veterans and St. Michael the Archangel. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we know from scripture and Christian tradition.

  • The first is to combat Satan.
  • The second is to escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death.
  • The third is to be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself.
  • And the fourth is to call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment.

Today at our school mass we honored those men and women that have answered the call of their nation to serve and protect their country. They have been called to defend of all human rights, especially the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters as they go forth with courage and determination to face the forces of violence, weapons of destruction and hearts filled with hate.

Thank you to Kim Johnson and her 6th and 7th grade classes that put together our Veterans’ Day mass and reception. Thank you to all our Veterans for your service.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Message From the Principal – All Saints & All Souls Days

“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength.” (CCC 1)

Dear HFCS Families and Friends,

Thank you to our 4th grade for creating our Ofrenda display to remember our family and friends that have departed this world. We join together in this season to pray for all souls.

Thank you also to our 2nd and 8th graders for the amazing Saints presentations that they have shared with us this week. It reminds us that God has created us all to be saints as we move forward in life. There’s a lovely artistic depiction of this at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. In the Saints niche to the left of the main altar is what appears to be an unfinished homage to our Saints … one singular niche is empty while all the others are filled with Saints. The empty niche is there to remind us that we all have the opportunity to be Saints – its the choices we make as we move through life that will determine if we are able to fulfill God’s plan for us.


Have a safe, happy, and prayerful week.

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Message From the Principal – Pumpkins & Prayers

Dear HFCS Families and Friends,

Friday, we had our first Rosary Procession preceded by talks given on the Rosary to all the classes. We finished the day with Adoration led by Fr. Anthony and Fr. Remi. Many thanks to the Knights of Columbus that turned out to help with this effort and to Mr. Chavez, our CampusPumpkins & Prayers Minister, who put the event together. It was truly a beautiful prayerful end of the day.

This time of year finds our neighborhoods filled with skeletons, headstones, and carved pumpkins. We are surrounded by symbols of death. As Christians, we believe that death finds its true meaning in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ (Paschal Mystery). Through Jesus’ resurrection, death does not get the last word (1 Corinthians 15:19) Christ is our hope, and nothing – not even death – can separate us from the love of God. What may be commercially advertised as a “pagan” holiday, Halloween, in truth holds its origins in the Catholic faith. This all but forgotten triduum of Allhallowtide gives us an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate our departed loved ones, the saints, Heroes of our Faith, and all souls. I encourage you to explore this season and its roots.

This year, we will celebrate our loved ones through prayer and artistry. Traditionally, HFCS has placed a “Book of Life” in our entry where families may place the names of their loved ones that have departed this world. We urge you to share in this practice with us. We will pray for those loved ones throughout the remainder of this month and through November. Additionally, we will be creating an ofrenda. During Día de Muertos, November 1 and 2, the tradition is to build private altars (“ofrendas”) containing the photos of the departed. We encourage you to add to our ofrenda this season as well. Prayer is an important part of Allhallowtide and Dia de los Muertos celebrations. We pray for reconciliation, for living a life that transcends because of the sincere love we give in Christ’s name. We pray for God to comfort those of us that remain on earth.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, blessed All Saints and All Souls Days, and a great week!

Pax et Bonum,

Sue Styren

Message From the Principal – Finding Rest in God

Dear HFCS Families,

I am so grateful for our families here at HFCS and our extended families through the the many parishes here in Northern Idaho. We are truly blessed to be able to work and worship together. I start every day looking at the Daily Reflections published by Dynamic Catholic. Today, the post shared “Remember: Your Heart is Made to Rest in God..” It’s a busy week this week – and yet taking time to find rest and reflection in Christ is so important. Please feel free to stop in the chapel and spend a moment with Christ as you pick up or drop off your children. Your heart will truly find respite in God.

As we end each school day, our students rush out to meet their families in the carline, there’s an outpouring of joy to reunite with family members and share their day. Sometimes, that rush can be a little overwhelming for the little ones and in addition, safety precautions may not be being met as they should. To attend to that need, we would like your assistance.

  • Students will enter cars only from the curbside
  • Parents, please do NOT exit your vehicle
  • Students entering vehicles from in front of the school will enter only with Staff supervision.
  • Parents – please be keenly aware of other vehicles and individuals. Vehicle speed in the parking lot should be less than 5 miles per hour

If you have other family members picking up your children, please provide them with the information shared above please. Please plan to join us for our Eucharistic Procession and Rosary on Friday this week. See the flier below.

Thank you to Gprep for coming to visit our 5th – 8th graders this afternoon!


Have a blessed week.

Pax et Bonum,
Sue Styren