This Week's Newsletter


Dear St. Finn Barr Parents,                                                                       January 19, 2018


Yesterday I was privileged to attend a lecture for all archdiocesan elementary school principals by Dr. Timothy O’Malley, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and the Director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. In his highly engaging presentation, Dr. O’Malley outlined the central “genius” of Catholic schools – the liturgy. At St. Finn Barr, the faculty and parish have been focusing for the past two years on building the centrality of the liturgy in the life of our school….educating ourselves and working actively to bring the gift of a well-executed experience of Mass into the lives of our students and their families. As in any communal experience, the first step in appreciating the gift of the Eucharist is the step into the church. In order for this happen, one must feel a sense of welcome and of trust, which we see as an opportunity to build in the image of Christ himself, who welcomed all.


Every year at this time, I like to share a “Litany of Welcome” ( I am so proud to work within a community of families, teachers, staff, and students who are committed to living the Gospel values within a culture that says, “Welcome!”


Litany of Welcome


Who are you? Are you divorced? Are you married with kids, worrying for them and committed to their welfare? Are you married for the second, or even third time? Are you a single parent struggling to make ends meet? Are you gay or lesbian? Well, whoever you are, you belong to us because you belong to Christ. Christ is the host here today. Christ sets this table of Word and Bread. And Christ welcomes all. Are you lonely? Are you a widow? Are you a single man or woman who would prefer to have a spouse? Are you disabled or disfigured? Have you run out of luck? Are you living with shame? Have you been a prisoner? Well, whoever you are you belong to us because you belong to Christ. Christ is the host here today. Christ sets this table of Word and Bread. And Christ welcomes all. Are you a newcomer here? An immigrant, maybe? Are you from another faith tradition? Are you full of doubt today, like Thomas? Has it been a while since you darkened the doorway of this church? Or are you a regular here, full of faith and enthusiasm for the parish? Well, whoever you are, you belong to us because you belong to Christ. Christ is the host here today. Christ sets this table of Word and Bread. And Christ welcomes all. All people of good will are welcome here: that’s the really good news! If you’ve been away, you can come back; if you’ve been living in darkness, you can come to light; if you haven’t been able to believe without seeing Him, look around you: the Body of Christ has come to Mass today. Sinners are welcome. Saints, too. Everyone is welcome to come to Christ: My Lord and my God, indeed.



God Bless,


Mele Mortonson




Thank you! On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, thank you so much for the festive Christmas gifts, treats, cards, etc. We are always blown away by the gestures of kindness from all of you, especially during the holiday season.


Christmas Program Thank You’s: This year’s Christmas Concert was another incredible demonstration of the incredible talent of our student body. Thank you again to our parent volunteer Producer Mrs. Chrisoula Novo (Maria ’18 and Alex ’20), our partner and former parent Producer Mrs. Linda Bulgo (, musical accompanist (and our own piano teacher) Mr. James Campbell, and choreographer Elena Ruggiero. Special thank you to our partners at Archbishop Riordan High School for supporting our rental of their beautiful theatre (with the help of their stage tech team) and to our anonymous Friend of St. Finn Barr for donating over $3,000 to make the event free to all.


Friends of St. Finn Barr News:

  • Varsity Technology Giving: I was happily surprised to return from Christmas vacation with a message from Patrick Ciccarelli, CEO of Varsity Technologies (our tech provider for several years) with the following news: Happy New Year! I hope that you have had a wonderful holiday. I’m contacting you today with a real sense of excitement. After many years of wanting to put a formal corporate giving program in place, I’ve finally taken the plunge. And 2017, our fiscal year, is the first year that we will start the program.This year I’m pleased to tell you that your organization has received a corporate contribution of $283.35.



Garden Update: Thank you to Garden Director Colette Gumm for her coordination and Mr. Baltazor Jimenez (Eric, 2nd) for building the beautiful (and safe!) new staircase in the parish center garden. Please refer to the attached image for a view of the stairwell and lattice work he put up to cover the retaining wall that will double as a trellis for beans. 


Enrollment for the 18-19 school year is looking great! We currently have 14 siblings for Kindergarten and an additional 21 applicants from new families. I look so forward to welcoming all of them to campus this Saturday for Kindergarten Assessment Day! We also have applicants in a few other grades already, so we will be welcoming some guests this spring for shadow visits and assessments. We enroll on an ongoing basis until classes are full. 


*Families will receive the "Intent to Enroll" forms in the next few weeks so that we can begin the budgeting process for the upcoming school year. Thank you for submitting this in a timely manner so that we can plan accordingly. 


CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK begins next weekend! We will celebrate with 10am Family Mass on Sunday, January 28th, followed by a reception in the yard (weather pending for location) and an Open House from 11am-12pm. All are welcome and invited to bring a friend.


We have exciting events for the entire week, including a new "Topsy Turvy" Monday when students can dress in mix match clothes and the teachers will swap grades for the afternoon to teach a special lesson to a new class. We also have the Science Fair, Grandparents/Special Person's Prayer Service and Reception (Wed @ 930am), and the Peace Parade (Wed 1:30pm). The week will end on Thursday with a Shamrock Spirit Day. There is no school that Friday because of the all-Archdiocese teacher inservice. Please refer to the attached CSW flyer and the online calendar with details.


St. Finn Barr Summer School: We are currently awaiting input from Archdiocesan teachers regarding availability to teach in our summer program (as all of our teachers have summer plans already). Once we hear of available high quality staff members for the program, we hope to roll out registration in February. 


Reminders of Confirmed Summer Camps on Site:


  • Spanish/Art Camp: 2 Weeks (June 11-21); rising 1st-8th


  • Shakesperience Camp: 2 Weeks (June 11-21)


  • Linda Bulgo’s Musical Theatre Camp: 8 Weeks (June 11-July 23rd)


Men’s Club: The Men's Club has generously committed $1000 towards the purchase of an installed projector in Goode hall, which, with the newly upgraded sound system, will go a long way in making our gatherings of all types run smoothly and effectively. Thank you to the Men’s Club memebers for the generosity and spirit you bring to our community! 


Maker’s Space News: We have excitedly started making purchases with the $44,000 in donations towards our Maker's Program (approx. $8K so far). We've determined that our program will be organized in conceptual kits that we will build in order to share amongst grade levels, and we’ve begun with our Building/Engineering materials in K, 3, 5, and middle school classrooms. I look forward to sharing more news and outcomes as we put the materials to work!


Building Updates: The tile upgrades in the new bathrooms are complete! They are on the entrances so you can walk by any time and see the exciting pop of color we’ve added! 


Thank you to Hannah Whitehurst (Emma ‘18) for leading another 8th grade class in creating and setting the beautiful mosaic artwork for our Marine life themed mural in the yard....what a difference this creative work has made on our yard! The pieces are being completed and will be up in the next few months. 


Walkathon Winners:








Most Laps Walked


K-4th Grade

$20 Target gift card

Jay Danaher

2nd Grade

Walked 50 laps (12.5 miles)

5th-8th Grade

$20 Target gift card

Rose Gargollo

8th Grade

Walked 42 laps (10.5 miles)

SFB Staff

$25 Amazon gift card

Cindy Richardson

4th Grade

Walked 13 laps (3.25 miles)


Pledge Winners


4th Place

$50 cash prize

Jack Mireles

5th Grade

Raised $340

3rd Place

$75 cash prize

Madeline Danaher

8th Grade

Raised $398

2nd Place

$100 cash prize

Evangeline Espinoza

5th Grade

Raised $500

Grand Prize

$500 value theater show tickets & dinner

Jay Danaher

2nd Grade

Raised $618


Class Winners


Class Prize

Free dress, homework pass, lunch party (date TBD)

For Highest participation


100% participation

Top Class

Class added to the Class Champions Plaque

For Highest pledges + highest participation


Raised $3,100



Message from Renee Espinoza (Josie, 5th & Ace ,K) w/CASA SF: Thank you and the entire SFB School community for your amazing and generous support to the SFCASA Youth Holiday Party. The generous families and faculty of SFB raised $880!  The youth had an amazing time at the party, they played games, had a hot meal and where entertained by a balloon artist, a sketch artist and make-up and hairs stylists. Below is the thank you letter. I am truly grateful for their support and for helping to make happy memories for our youth in foster care.


Thank you for helping to make the holidays joyous for the children and youth in San Francisco’s foster care. Thanks to you and a community of more than 150 volunteers and gift donors, SFCASA’s clients enjoyed a fun-filled holiday party with all sorts of activities, prizes and a terrific Italian meal.
Many youth were able to reconnect with siblings, relatives and friends they’d met in previous foster placements, and it was a joy to see their faces brighten when they first saw their old friends, sisters and brothers.
Every child left the party with an individually chosen holiday gift. Our community was so generous that numerous requests for extracurricular activities and birthday gifts will also be covered throughout the year.


Pot O’Gold Raffle News: Please keep in mind that we are nearing the end of our third mandatory fundraiser of the year! 


Each participating family must sell $100 worth of raffle tickets.


This coming TUESDAY, January 23rd is the LAST DAY TO SUBMIT MONEY & RAFFLE STUBS to be eligible for the raffle drawing.


Additional tickets are available upon request.



THURSDAY, January 25th, 2018 during morning assembly!


Thank you everyone for your timely participation and contributions.