Religious Education Newsletter

December 2023

Message from the Director

Jessie Adrians, Director of Religious Education

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature. . . For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

There are many reasons to love the Christmas season,  but if you are anything like me, one of them is revisiting warm childhood memories.   For me one of those happy memories was sitting down in front of the TV in our family rooms and watching the 1964 version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  

If you were born after 1964, my strong suspicion is you are familiar with the movie, but just in case you are not, the basic premise is that Rudolf, the son of one of Santa’s reindeer, is born with a red nose and that makes him an outcast or “misfit.” He is treated so badly by the other reindeer that he runs away with Hermey, an elf, who is also a misfit because he wants to be a dentist and not make toys like the other elves. In their travels they land on an island of outcast and misfit toys who have also been rejected because they are “not like the other toys.” Eventually Rudolf and his friends save Christmas Town from danger, and everyone who has rejected them, including Santa, comes to realize that our differences are what make us special and that “misfits” should be loved and respected like everyone else.  

As a child, I loved this movie because I highly identified with feeling like a misfit. In the small town where I grew up, I attended an even smaller Catholic school, where I was “not like the other girls.” I didn’t enjoy many of the activities my more popular female classmates seemed to like (clothes, makeup, talking about boys) and instead preferred to read my books and write in my notebook, and this made me somewhat of an outcast. Tack on the fact that I wore glasses, had braces, and actually liked school, and the result was I was made fun of pretty much every day and I spent my lunch and recess time alone.  

I do not tell you this story to garner pity, however, I tell you this story because there was ONE place I felt loved and accepted, and that was at our parish. (Note, I said parish, not the Catholic school I attended.) When I was at church I was asked to be involved in things like choir and lectoring, and the people I interacted with embraced my “differentness.” This love from my parish community was enough to get me through the lonely years of grades 1-12 until I eventually found a core group of girlfriends in college who, like me, were misfits, but that didn’t matter at all given our common bond of faith and love in Christ.   

Like any parent, when my son Andrew began school, I hoped he would feel accepted and valued by his peers and teachers. However, Andrew’s first year at school was a struggle and at one point while we were talking he said to me, “The other kids just don’t seem to like me. I don’t know why. I want to be like them but I don’t know how.”

His words broke my heart, and in the months to follow both my husband I worked actively to advocate on Andrew’s behalf. During this difficult time there was one bright spot and that was the way Andrew was so warmly embraced by the St. Raphael Church family. He was not merely tolerated, but he was loved. This love and acceptance carried our whole family through until we could find an environment where Andrew could flourish, and by God’s grace we did. However, I will forever be grateful to the volunteers, staff, and other parish friends who took Andrew under their wing and made him feel loved, valued, and included. They are as close if not closer than family and I will spend the rest of my days praising God for the gift that they are and the ways in which they were (and are) the hands and feet of Christ in our lives.    

Reflecting on this time, I have come to realize that Jesus himself, from the moment he was born, attracted those who were who were unwanted and unloved. He was born into poverty and was rejected by others, so he understood well what it meant to be seen as a misfit.  Starting with the shepherds in the field, and ending with the thief on the cross, Jesus’ entire life was about gathering people together and helping them understand their dignity before God. In God’s eyes there are no misfits, only beloved sons and daughters. It was this unconditional love that was given to both Andrew and I by the St. Raphael Church family and it is that same unconditional love that is offered to EVERYONE who enters our doors. 

If it has been awhile since you have been to Mass, this Christmas is a perfect time to “come as you are” to worship. There are no misfits in the Body of Christ!  Click here to see the Mass times for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  

In addition to Christmas Mass, there are several other parish community events where you can come as you are:

  • 3 Kings Party: On Saturday, January 6th, 6-7:30, there will be a 3 Kings Party that will include dinner and activities for children and adults of all ages. Click here to find out more and to register to meet new friends and join in the fun. 
  • After Mass Socials:  
  • Coffee and Donuts are offered after the 8am and 10 am Masses on Sunday. Volunteers are always needed. Contact the parish office to find out more.

  • Cookies will be offered following the 5pm Saturday/Sunday Masses starting January 13/14th. Click here to find out more or to volunteer to help. 

  • Disciples on the Way: St. Raphael parishioners who are interested in growing in friendship with Jesus and connecting with others, are invited to participate in Disciples on the Way. Disciples on the Way is for adults and will include small group sessions and an optional retreat. Babysitting is provided! Click here to register or learn more.   

However you decide to grow as a family in faith in 2024, know Josh, Andrew and I are praying for you. Please pray for us!

Jessie Adrians 

Director of Religious Education  

Family Outreach

Kathy Baehman, Youth Ministry Assistant & Family Outreach Coordinator

Christmas Prayer for Families

Loving Lord,

During this holy season of Christmas, we ask for

Your blessing on our families.

Let Mary’s openness to your wondrous ways be an

Inspiration to place all trust in you.

Let Joseph’s courage provide hope during times of

Anxiety and uncertainty.

Let Jesus’ life ignite all families with a spirit

Of light and love.

May the grace that encircled the Holy Family widen

To embrace all families.

For this we pray.


Kathy Baehman

Family Outreach Coordinator/Youth Ministry Assistant

Sunday School

Gwendolyn Noto, Sunday School Coordinator PK/K

Hello Families,

Happy Holidays!!!

This month in Sunday school we talked about the story of Jesus’s Birth and the season of Advent. We learned that Advent is a time of waiting in anticipation for Jesus’s Birth. We created Advent Wreaths as a reminder of that time of waiting. 

We created cards as a class to send to those in need who benefited from the elementary grade’s service project. The kids had a blast seeing who could make the most cards to give to people in order to fill them with love and holiday spirit!

We will be having a birthday celebration for Jesus during our final class of 2023! We will be playing games, talking about ways in which we love Jesus and even making our own manger scenes to take home. 

As a family, have a conversation about ways you can give this holiday season, maybe with your time, talents or something else!

Merry Christmas,

Gwendolyn Noto

Sunday School Coordinator PK/K

Elementary School

Jenifer Jensen, Elementary School Coordinator

Watch together...Prepare together….Rejoice together...Behold together! 

What an exciting season to be celebrating with your children, and as a family! This time of year is perfect to recognize being a family as we reflect on our most Holy Family. We are asked to help each other grow in holiness. Christmas provides such beautiful opportunities to participate in mass, give to others and create memories to share later in life. Many thanks to those families who were able to create their Holy Family ornament earlier this month. We are ALL called to strive to be a holy family. 

May this joyous season find you celebrating the simple, yet wonderful things with your family. Allow your days of togetherness find you rest, time to reconnect and relish in the peace of the birth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ. May the New Year ahead bring you health and true happiness that our beautiful faith brings.

Middle & High School Youth Ministry

Michael Wilms, Youth Ministry & MS/HS RE

Praise the Lord!...Now and forever!!

Merry Christmas everyone!! May God fill your hearts with His great joy and bountiful blessing this Christmas season. Did you know that when we celebrate “the 12 days of Christmas,” we’re not celebrating the days leading up to Christmas? Rather, we actually celebrate the days starting at Christmas and going to Epiphany when the wise men come to honor Jesus! Here are some neat ideas for you and your family to start making traditions in your own homes: 

On a separate note, we’ve all heard of Christmas in July, but what about Summer in December?? That’s right, it may be winter, but it’s time to start thinking about our summer plans! We have two amazing opportunities for our middle and high school students that you do not want to miss out on! 

For our Middle schoolers (current 5-8th grade) we will be once again returning to Love Begins Here (LBH) this summer. This is my absolute favorite part of the job, it is such a joy to serve with our teens and have an all around fun time with one another in community. We will have 16 spots open, so do not wait to sign up! 

For High Schoolers, there are 2 awesome opportunities: for the first time ever LBH is offering an internship for high school students to join in the mission! (contact michael for more info) Also this summer is our Steubenville youth Conference in Rochester Minnesota. This conference is an absolute game changer for the faith! As a teen I went on this and praise God I did, because I don’t know if I would’ve remained Catholic without it. This is a truly incredible experience with thousands of teens from around the Diocese and throughout the country! Spots are limited this year and fundraising options will be available. Please reach out if you or someone you know is interested.

God Bless!

Save the Date!

  •  Love Begins Here: Saint Raphael will be looking to bring a group of middle school students (currently in 5-8th grade) on mission June 10-13, 2024. This year’s location will be in Appleton. Spots will be reserved on a first come first serve basis. Please email Michael for more information or to reserve your spot. 
  • Steubenville Youth Conference: Open to all High School students, we will be joining the Diocese of Green Bay for Steubenville Rochester, July 12-14th, 2024. Tickets must be reserved asap to secure your spot, fundraising options will be provided at a later date. Contact Michael for more information or to reserve your spot.

Upcoming Events and Retreats

  • Sunday Jan 14th- Second Sunday Holy Hour (SSHH!) Our monthly time for prayer and worship, held the 2nd Sunday of every month, at 4pm, followed by Sunday Mass at 5pm. This is a great opportunity to come pray for our youth/parish and spend time on the Sabbath growing in your own relationship with God.
  • Catholic Youth Expeditions (CYE): Retreats for middle, high school and families! Located in beautiful Door County WI, CYE offers retreats that combine nature, community, prayer and fun for all ages. Visit to find out more.

  • TEC Retreat, Green Bay (16+ years) -A great retreat that helps youth and young adults to engage in their faith in a fun and deep way. Visit for more information.

Follow us on instagram (aftershock_ym_straph) for updates, inspirations and to stay connected.

Blessed Carlo Acutis…Pray for us!

Michael Wilms (

Youth Minister/Faith Formation

Grades 6-12

inFORMED Highlights

Some content in this section may be from FORMED, a Catholic content digital platform that provides 24/7 access to video-based study programs, feature films, audio presentations, and eBooks. St. Raphael has a parish-wide subscription, so sign up for your FREE account by visiting and searching for St. Raphael the Archangel in Oshkosh, WI.

O Holy Night, The King is Born: What Christmas Is About | Brother Francis


Celebrate the wonder and joy of Christmas with Brother Francis in this heartwarming presentation of the birth of God's Son! Witness the moving submission of Mary, Joseph, and others as they make way for our Savior.


A Fr. Mike Christmas


Fr. Mike wishes all a merry and Christ-filled Christmas, while singing some Christmas songs in an ugly sweater and doing a bit of a Santa imitation

The Real Meaning of Christmas


You know it, but it’s worth saying...the real meaning of Christmas isn’t presents, food, or Santa. It’s not even about kindness and sharing good memories with our families. Christmas is all about Jesus coming to save us. Jackie and Bobby remind us of the true meaning of Christmas and share ideas for helping us center ourselves and our families on what’s actually important about this season: Christ’s incarnation:

Upcoming Events
Check the youth page on the St. Raphael website for calendar updates. 
Religious Education
920 233 8044

Director: Jessie Adrians
RE Secretary: Anne Glowcheski
Sunday School: Gwendolyn Larsen
Elementary School: Jenifer Jensen
Youth Ministry, Middle/HS RE: Michael Wilms
Youth Ministry, Families of Faith: Kathy Baehman