Dear Saint Mary’s Families,

I would like to thank everyone for the incredibly warm welcome I have received.  I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the Saint Mary’s community.

The theme of new beginnings is an appropriate one not only as I begin my tenure as principal and we begin a new month, but this weekend as we begin a new church year and enter this time of preparation for Christmas.  There is no doubt that God has wonderful things in store for all of us.

Each year, the Holy Father asks for our prayers for a specific intention each month. We are invited to answer the Holy Father’s request and to join with many people worldwide in praying for this intention each month.  Pope Francis’ prayer intention for December is The Elderly – That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.

I invite you to include the Pope’s intention in your family prayer.  This is not only a wonderful way to bring the Pope into conversation at home, but an opportunity to continue to talk about the importance of those – both related to us and those not related to us – who have paved our way in both big and small ways.

From time to time I will share resources that I have found helpful that I think you may find helpful as well.  This week I want to share with you an Advent resource from Dynamic Catholic, which is also mentioned in Fr. Renninger’s Advent message.  Learn more here.

I look forward to walking this road together.  Know that I am here to help and support you and your family in any way that I can.

Jenni Ellis


IMPORTANT DATES THIS WEEK: Please visit the school calendar regularly for the most up-to-date information as times and dates may change.

Sunday, December 3 –  Last day for Yearbook orders

Sunday, December 3 – Advent Brunch

Sunday, December 3 – Wednesday, December 6 – SMCS Christmas Shop

Wednesday, December 6 – Richmond Symphony Performance with a special appearance by our SMCS Choir

Thursday, December 7 – 2nd Grade Field Trip to see Mary Poppins

Friday, December 8 – School Mass, Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Saturday, December 9 – SMCS Band Christmas Concert


An Advent Message from Fr. Renninger:  Please visit the St. Mary Catholic Church home page to view an Advent message from Fr. Renninger and find out all about our Advent events and Christmas Mass schedules.

Yearbook Orders:  It’s not too late to order a yearbook! And trust us, you don’t want a sad child when yearbooks are handed out at the end of the school year and we have run out of books. There is still time to order!  Please click here to order your yearbook by December 3rd.  Please contact Heather Heishman at if you have questions.

Advent Pancake Brunch:  Please join the Saint Mary’s Catholic School PTO for an Advent Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, December 3rd in the Parish Hall (Gym) of Saint Mary Catholic School.   There are two seatings.  The first seating is at 10:00 AM and the second seating is 12:00 PM.  St. Nick will be there and a craft tables for the kids will be set up as well.  Mimosas for the adults are available for pre-purchase. The Christmas Shop and the Spirit Shop will also be open.  Tickets are $7 per person. Children under 5 are admitted free.  Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Advent Pancake Brunch Volunteers Needed:   We need LOTS of volunteers to make the 2017 Advent Brunch a success!  Please click here to volunteer.

Christmas Shop: Christmas is here and with it, the opportunity to teach our children the beauty of gift giving.  The Christmas Shop is an opportunity for our students to purchase gifts for family and friends.  Most items are under $10.00.  Saint Mary’s PTO members will be present to wrap items purchased so that gifts will truly be a Christmas surprise.  Please look for your child’s specific shopping time in their classroom newsletter.  Children in JK can participate on Sunday during the Advent Brunch.  Only children in kindergarten through 8th grade will be attending the Christmas Shop with their class.

Christmas Shop Volunteers:  For the Christmas Shop to be a true success we need your help.  Please volunteer at 2017 Saint Mary’s Christmas Shop.

Richmond Symphony Orchestra & SMCS Choir Concert: Wednesday December 6, 2017 at 7 pm,  St. Mary Catholic Church  This concert is SOLD OUT!!!

Important Concert Information:

  • Please bring your purchased tickets to the concert to expedite entrance.
  • If you purchased your tickets online, bring your ticket confirmation or email with you as your ticket.
  • Sorry, but there will be no tickets available for sale at the door.
  • The front doors of the Church which will open at 6:15 p.m.  Concert begins at 7:00 p.m. with one intermission.
  • Parking available in all lots at St. Mary Church and School and at Pinchbeck Elementary School.  Please arrive early and be patient!
  • Choir families – please see email messages directly from Mrs. Heidi Taylor.
  • Questions?  Call the parish office at 804-740-4044.

Saint Mary’s Christmas Band Concert: Saturday, December 9th, 3:00pm at Benedictine College Preparatory,  12829 River Road, Richmond VA 23238.  Come enjoy Christmas music played by our beginner and concert/symphonic bands and led by Mr. C, our new band instructor.

Poinsettia Sale:  The St. Mary’s School Class of 2018 is offering a festive way to celebrate the Christmas season! Beautiful Poinsettias from Strange’s Florist arrive nicely wrapped in gold foil with a bow and have 5-6 blooms per plant. Please help support The 8th Grade Graduation Fund with the purchase of a Poinsettia for your home, office, or as a lovely gift!  Order here by Thursday, December 7th.

Saint Mary’s Student Council:  In conjunction with St. Mary’s Faith Formation Program, SCA is sponsoring the annual partnership with Sherbourne Methodist Church Christmas collection for low income children along Jefferson Davis Highway.  Please consider participating.  A gift will brighten the hearts of these children this holiday season.  Click here for additional information.

Wise Men’s Purse: The Wise Men’s Purse is a community collection that will be distributed among Saint Mary’s Catholic School faculty and staff in celebration of Christmas. This collection is a fair and equitable way to share the generosity of many, and to do so in a manner in accordance with the giving policies set forth by the Diocese of Richmond. While individual classroom teachers are readily identified by students as “their” teacher, each teacher is supported by colleagues who create a loving and caring team. It is the PTO Board’s desire to acknowledge the contributions each faculty and staff member makes to the success of every child at Saint Mary’s.

Participation in Wise Men’s Purse is voluntary. Donations may be made online or by check sent in to the office labeled Wise Men’s Purse between December 4th and December 17th.

Feast of Our Lady Of Guadalupe:  School Mass will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 12th, to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day.  All families are invited to join us.  In celebration, we are asking all students to bring a flower on December 12th.  Flowers will be collected and placed to decorate the altar for Our Lady. Click here for a short story of “Our Lady Of Guadalupe”.

Flynn O’Hara Uniform: Information on Ways To Order” and a current 2017-2018 price list.

Lunch Help Still Needed:   Parents, we are in need of your help for the coming months in our lunchroom. Please consider helping our teachers and students out for 40 minutes or 80 minutes if you help with both lunches.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping out in this area – it is greatly needed and greatly appreciated! Click here to sign up.

Painless Fundraising:  Click here for updated absolutely PAINLESS Fundraising for our Saint Mary’s School Community.