Enhancing Education


While everyone has a vital role in a Catholic school, the students at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School in Wayzata have their religion classes enriched by regular visits from Father Spencer Howe, the church’s associate pastor.

“My class is enhanced when Father Howe visits because he helps us to learn from a different point of view than our teachers and classmates,” said fifth-grade student Victoria Zamarano. “And Father Howe, being a priest, knows more about Jesus than we could learn from our religion books.”

The classroom visits are meaningful for the students, teachers and Father Howe.

“For me, time inside the classroom has also provided an opportunity to learn more about the unique vocation of the school teacher,” Father Howe said. “The dedication of our Catholic school teachers is a great encouragement to me personally.”

Not only are the classroom visits an important component of enhanced faith formation, but they also ensure a strong Catholic identity at Holy Name of Jesus.

“It is a great message that he sends to the students and the teachers that evangelization and speaking with us is a priority,” said sixth-grade teacher Mary Davy. “We feel very blessed to have his presence in our classroom.”

Fourth-grade teacher Meghan Doblar agrees, saying Father Howe’s classroom visits bring their lessons to a higher level.

Fifth-grade student Danielle Kukuljan said Father Howe enhances students’ faith by teaching them how to be more like Jesus, and classmate Mitchell Buhl said he likes reading Bible passages and discussing them with Father Howe.

One of Father Howe’s goals in visiting classrooms is to familiarize students with Catholics’ approach to the Bible and help them understand its basic composition and structure.

“We talk about it as more of a ‘library’ than a single book, as it is made up of a multiplicity of books, authors and genres, all intricately interwoven through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,” he explained. “I don’t just want to impart a series of disconnected facts and trivia, but rather a sort of lens with which to begin a lifetime adventure into the biblical texts. Catholics are blessed to read the Bible within the living tradition of the Church.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: When this story was written, Fr. Spencer was serving as parochial vicar at Holy Name of Jesus Church. Effective July 1, 2017, Fr. Howe was transferred to the Church of the Holy Cross in Minneapolis where he was appointed parochial administrator.

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