History Project – Religious Education Efforts

In this installment of the History Project article, Rose Ferguson shares memories of some very early Religious Education efforts in the parish and the neighborhood–including an innovative fund-raising endeavor!

I have many fond memories of our dear friend and advisor, Father Ruetz. He was a truly holy and humble man always willing to help in any way possible. No task was too menial or insignificant.

However, one event is very prominent in my mind. I became a member of St. Mary’s at the request of Fathers Larsen and Ruetz to spearhead its Religious Education Program for the parish and neighborhood children. Because of Father Ruetz’s close association and contact with St. Mary’s school and the Religious Ed Program, the children were motivated in many ways. One way, enjoyed by so many, were the performances in school plays and musicals. Father was also instrumental in the recruitment of teachers and staff, even some from out-of-state.

Father oversaw one school money-raising project contracted with the Kellogg’s Corporation to assemble mini-telescopes for insertion in their cereal boxes. Many Parish members worked long hours on Sundays in the basement of the Church trying to accomplish the task with a looming deadline. If my memory is correct, the number to be assembled was to be one million. However, I don’t think we were able to reach that goal by the designated date but did come very close.

Some parents and members of St. Mary’s met prior to the beginning of classes to decide on appropriate textbooks to be used.

When the school and church basement were no longer available for Religious Education, classes were held at St Andrews School. Children from the St. Andrews area were also able to attend.

Some of the school teachers volunteered their time to teach in our Religious Ed Program. Ones I can recall were Agnes Hart, Glenn Zelley, Mary Lou Becker, Claudia Govert, Leah Govert, Annette Mascotte, Keith Williams. There were others whose names I don’t remember, unfortunately.

The program was well attended by neighborhood children. Naturally, children’s parents attended school plays, Christmas programs, and musicals, also.

Rose Ferguson, November 2022