Thursday Newsletter

October 19, 2017

Thursday Newsletter—October 19, 2017
By Sue Brown, Assistant Principal/Coordinator of Religious Education

Reconciliation—First and Future
Now, more than ever, we need to turn our minds and hearts toward peace and forgiveness and reconciliation. Second graders and their parents are doing this in a very important way by preparing for the Sacrament of First Reconciliation to be celebrated on Sunday, November 12.

Fr. O’Toole, Ms. Hesed, second grade teachers, Ms. Hotze and Ms. Burke, and I met with the second grade parents last week to help them help us in this time of preparation. We are talking about parables of forgiveness, as in the Prodigal Son, and we are learning what it means to form our conscience, which tells us how to make good choices that are pleasing to God. The children are learning the form of making a good confession, memorizing the Act of Contrition, and doing the penance the priest has recommended. Parents received an information hand-out at the meeting. If you were not able to attend, please let us know, and we will send a hand-out home to you.

Now is a good time for all of us to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. An Advent Penance Service will be celebrated for grades 3-8 on December 5, and Confessions are always heard on Saturdays before 4:30 Mass, or by appointment with Fr. O’Toole.

Witnessing a child confess his or her small sins must be a tender experience for every confessor. But, we can only imagine the joy in heaven when we adults bring our failings to God and leave forgiven. This is something we can pray about as Advent approaches. Maybe the best “penance” is to go one step further and ask forgiveness of the one we have hurt. It is humbling and healing at the same time.
Pictured above,, one fith grader’s (5K) sacraments poster.

Walk-A-Thon Update
Last Saturday in Tower Grove Park we celebrated another successful Walk-A-Thon, building community and funds to keep St. Margaret of Scotland School running in the black. While final tallies are not yet in, totals will be announced at an all-school assembly on November 7 at 2:30 in the gym. We are hoping for an extra day to celebrate Thanksgiving, having met our goal of $20,000! The spirit of the students, families and teachers surely carried us over the finish line! Please remember, pledges are due on October 27

From Mary Lisa Penilla and Angie Reitenbach…

“A huge thank you to the SMOS School community for coming out last Saturday for Walk-a-thon 2017.  Kuddos to all our kiddo walkers, from 2-year-old sibs to 14-year-old elders, and all ages in between. We know fall Saturdays are busy, so thanks to you parents who made sure your kiddo was there, all day or even for a lap or two. If you missed it this year, no worries: your pledge is more than welcome (just make sure you get to share in the fun next year).

Super-duper thanks to Chris Stephens, who was the first onsite and herded us insufferable cats all the way to the end. And to 70+ volunteers who made our 1st go at it easy lifting. Last, thanks Jenny and Jerrod Gerstner for your years of leadership. Making money for the school was never so much fun or organized, thanks to you. 

Now, please send in your pledge money, folks. Deadline: October 27. Goal: $20,000. Reward: Day off school (Wednesday before Thanksgiving). Let's do this!”

First Quarter Ends October 27
...and it was the beginning that will count! Students who got off to a good start and continue to do their best in class will receive valuable feedback at Parent-Student-Teacher conferences (determined by grade level) on Wednesday and Thursday, November 1 and 2. Another long weekend follows with no classes held on Friday, November 3. During the month of November, our theme will be, “Feedback is a gift!” (How appropriate!) Watch for the new, quarterly bulletin insert with SMOS School News to share with SMOS Parishioners and Visitors! To be published the weekend of October 28-29.
At left, our new library dragon, created by Ms. Kasye Moss and friends. Come, visit!

Praying for Our Sixth-Graders…Away at Camp Sherwood Forest
Our sixth graders and their teachers are away at Sherwood Forest Camp this week learning how to work, play and pray as a team. They are enjoying the crisp autumn air, the beauty of God’s creation, and some challenging activities that will boost their leadership and confidence as a class, and as individuals. We’ve missed them, and can’t wait to welcome them back home!

Saint Vincent de Paul Society…baby bottles, coats & costumes, and ornaments!
A Christian service project we have just completed is our support of the SMOS St. Vincent de Paul Society’s annual contributions to Our Ladies’ Inn where moms-to-be receive support during their pregnancies, having chosen life for their babies.

The baby bottles we filled with our coins and bills—some earned by doing extra chores at home; some by sacrificing a treat at McDonald’s or Starbuck’s--amounted to an extremely heavy load we delivered to be added to the parish’s efforts!

Our next Christian service project, still in the planning stage, is our participation in the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Advent Giving Tree. As we did last year, each homeroom will receive information about the needs of a family for which they will fill a bag of personal care items—just one bag, please! J

Other donations will go toward the purchase of gift cards our families can use to provide presents of their own choosing for each other. The SVDP Giving Tree Committee will also collect funds to support “heat and light,” (utility bills) and homemade pasta. The Girl Scouts will bake homemade cookies. Can you imagine the joy these families will experience just because we shared some of the many blessings we enjoy every day? That should bring warmth to our hearts and light to our souls!

Our eighth grade is sponsoring a costume drive to support the annual Coats and Costumes event sponsored by the SMOS St. Vincent DePaul Society.  If you have any new or gently-used costumes that you would like to donate, please send them to school with your student, or place them in the collection bin in the vestibule at church.  All sizes are needed, but they are particularly in need of larger sizes. The costume drive will run from now until Friday, October 20.  All contributions will go to families in our area and surrounding areas. We are hoping to make lots of kids happy this Halloween. Thank you to all who have already sent coats and Halloween costumes in support of “Coats and Costumes!”

Thank you Naturescape Committee!

Thanks to a grant from Naturescape, hosted by Brightside and our own parishioner, Rick Kacenski, more plants were added to the butterfly garden outside Purcell Hall.

Some of the planting and weeding was done by Ms. Walz's eighth grade science class, and some done by the Straka, Agniel and Fritz families! Thanks you, all!

At left, a Naturescape volunteer refurbishes landscape in front of Purcell Hall. Thank you!



On the Calendar…

October 24--Lifetouch Picture Day—Tuesday, October 24. Students may dress out of uniform. Shoes that are good for playing outside and in the gym are recommended, (and won’t show in the picture!)

October 26--Being smart about SMART! 6-8 Grade Parent Meeting, Thursday, October 26, 7:00 pm in cafeteria.


October 27--Pre-K—8th Grade Mass—Friday, October 27, 8:00 am. Ms. Kavanaugh’s fifth graders are preparing a special liturgy in honor of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. All are welcome!

Other News and Reminders…
8th Grade Parents—Prizes for Halloween Fest Needed
Small, simple, even “gently-used” gifts are needed for the eighth grade Halloween Fest to be held on Tuesday, October 31 (Halloween) starting at 1:30 in the play space.

Please do NOT purchase anything. We are looking for trinkets you may have lying around that you have saved from Happy Meals, mailers, etc. Please send to school with your eighth grader. Mr. Unverferth and Mr. Adams are collecting these items and coordinating this event. Thank you!
At right, a Halloween poem, thanks to Patrick Byrne, 5K

SMOS Youth Ministry invites 7th, 8th, & 9th graders (parish, public or home-school) to a movie night on the lawn (in church basement if rain) on
Friday, October 20, 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Snacks, s’mores & Spiderman Homecoming.
Event is free. RSVP on

Come enjoy some fun and find out more about what YM has 
in store this year, and tell us your ideas for youth at St. Margaret of Scotland!

SQUARE ONE order forms are here!
Order deadline is Friday, October 27th 
Three Easy Ways to Order: 
1. Online: ;
2. Phone: 888-332-3294 
3. Paper Order Form on the back of your child’s custom catalog 
Remember, your child’s access code is located on their catalog. 
*All orders ship to the school, and will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas.* 
Thank you for helping to support our art program and create lasting keepsakes from your child’s artistic achievements!

Calling all K-3 Lego Enthusiasts!
Jr. FLL (First Lego League Junior) Registration is now open.  The First Lego League Junior teams will focus this year on learning about the human water cycle, as well as on building awesome lego models and learning engineering and science principles in the process. 

Teams will meet for one hour each week starting in December, with final expos scheduled in March. Registration is now open on the parish WeShare, at:
Please note that priority is given to students whose parents volunteer in some capacity, as we need two coaches for every 6 students (per school and FLL regulations). Don’t hesitate to contact Erin Chambers ( if you have any questions about the program or the process. Coaching is easy, and a lot of fun!

From the SNAwC Committee
“We are pleased to share that St Margaret of Scotland is participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program. We will be working with the Alliance to transform our school into an environment where students eat healthier and move more. The SNAwC (School Nutrition and Wellness Committee) recently completed a very thorough assessment of the school. Help us reach our goal as we work towards a National Healthy Schools Award!

Learn more about the Healthy Schools Program and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation at:  If you have any questions or suggestions about our participation in the initiative, or would like to get involved with our team, please contact Ana Ruiz Manzano ( Our next meeting will be on Monday, November 6, at 6:30pm at the school. Thanks for making SMOS a healthier place for students to live, learn and grow!”

 RCIA Volunteers Needed!
From Erin Brennan, SMOS Coordinator of Faith Formation…
“Friends, If you or your middle/high school children are interested in lending a hand to our RCIA community, please let me know. Thanks to the Good News shared from our pews, from neighbors, and from our school community, we once again have young parents being formed in the faith, as well as a couple of older folks re-discovering and refining their faith. + There are 3-5 children who will need some care and entertainment on most Sundays from now through May (11am-1pm, snacks, space and toys provided) 

I should be able to schedule several volunteers to rotate Sundays, so you’d only need to help out monthly or every other month—maybe less, if many volunteers come forward. This is also a good opportunity to earn Christian service credit for our seventh and eighth graders preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spring! Thanks for considering this chance to support our seekers and soon-to-be Catholic brothers and sisters!”




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