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Pictures and bio's for staff are below. Click to learn about our priests. Please use the contact us page to email us!
Anderson, Sara - AFC Business Manager
My name is Sara Anderson and I’m the Business Manager for the Heart of Jesus Area Faith Community, overseeing the areas of finance, facilities, legal, strategic planning, human resources, and general administration.
Daughter of Bob and Katie Haney, I grew up in Olivia, MN and graduated from BOLD in 2005. I was a member of St. Aloysius church all my childhood and in 2009 my husband, Bryan Anderson, and I celebrated our marriage in St. Aloysius Church.
Between graduating from high school and marrying my wonderful husband, I attended the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. In 2009, I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Actuarial Science. Not knowing what exactly I wanted to do after school, I started volunteering at Guardian Angels Catholic Church and School in Chaska, MN. One thing led to another and within 2 years, I went from volunteering to working part-time, to working full-time, to becoming the Business Administrator for Guardian Angels Catholic Church and School.
I never dreamed in a million years that I would be a business administrator for a church but I LOVE IT! That’s not to say every day is easy, in fact, it was during one particularly stressful day when I was asking myself “What am I doing here, how can I do this when I don’t know what I’m doing?” and in that moment the Lord spoke to me, "I’m exactly where God wants me to be". I found great peace and joy in this moment and have recognized my job to be a vocation ever since.
I continued as the Business Administration at Guardian Angels until 2016 when the AFC Business Manager position opened up. Again, I never imagined that I would be able to come home to Olivia and continue in my vocation of Church Business Management but you never really know what the Lord has in store for you!
Outside of work, I enjoy the outdoors and recently purchased a small hobby farm where we spend most of our time along with our great dane Winston. Both my husband and I participate in running competitions (but I’m not a skilled or competitive runner). My husband and I enjoy traveling, so far, we have traveled to Ireland, England, France, Italy (Rome and Sicily), the Netherlands, and Belgium. My profile picture is from our visit to Amsterdam where we rented bikes and toured the city “like locals”! Part of the reason we travel so much is because family is so important to us and all three of my siblings have been in the Navy and stationed all over the world!
Being close to family is one of the biggest blessings of being back in the area where so much of our family lives. I mean, my first week of work, my grandma stopped by to pick up a bulletin and I got a hug and a kiss! Needless to say, I’m very happy and honored with my opportunity to serve this community!
What’s the best meal you ever had?
The best meal I ever had was while we were in Sicily. My oldest brother, Kade Haney, who was stationed in Sicily during this time, took us to a local's home who essentially operates their restaurant out of their house. You must make a reservation as they are not open like a normal restaurant would be. When you come to their home you sit down to a family meal. It was a traditional nine course meal, made that day, with only local ingredient and with endless wine. It was delicious. But what made this my best meal was more than the food it was the fact that I was able to share that moment with family and friends and I think all the best meals have family and friends!
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I would be a bluish-greenish color. Kind of like teal but not quite teal. It would be calming but bright and full of life!
Athmann, Marty - St. Mary's DRE
My name is Marty Athmann, and I am the Director of Faith Formation here at St. Mary’s. I started helping out with the high school religious education program in 2004. In 2015 I moved into the role of Director when Pat O’Neill retired after more than 25 years of dedicated service to our high school youth. She was an amazing mentor to me and I can only hope to continue the incredible program the she built here.
I am a lifelong Bird Island resident graduating from St. Mary’s grade school and Bird Island-Lake Lillian high school. After attending St. Cloud cooking school, I joined my family restaurant business in 1985 and continue to work there today. I am married to my wife, Karla and we have 3 children. Our oldest son Kyle lives in Sioux City Iowa with his wife Ashley. Kyle is a police officer for the City of Sioux City and Ashley is in graduate school at the University of South Dakota getting a degree in Occupational Therapy.
Our second son, Trent, is attending Luther College in Decorah Iowa. He is pursuing a degree in Business while also playing on the Luther Baseball Team. Our daughter, Dana, is attending the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Pursuing degrees in Criminal Justice and Communications. Other interests that I have include golfing, reading, biking, puzzling and quilting-- -yes quilting. I am a member of the Bird Island Lions club and truly love the service side of that organization. The Lions Club motto is “We Serve”, and it fits so well into the mission that Jesus left for us.
I thoroughly love being able to work with the high school students here.
Bertrand, Tracy - St. Mary's School Principal
Greetings from Tracy Bertrand…
As I reflect upon my nine years of being your St. Mary’s School principal, I am grateful for the many years of Catholic education that St. Mary’s has been able to provide for the students of Bird Island and the surrounding communities and it has been an honor for me to carry on the tradition of offering quality, faith filled education to all students.
Prior to coming to St. Mary’s, I was in the Sleepy Eye Public School District for 17 years. Throughout this time, I pursued my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction through St. Scholastica, Duluth and then continued to further my education which allowed me to receive my K-12 Administrative License through Minnesota State University, Mankato.
My life has been blessed with three beautiful children Justin, Christopher and Brianna. My children have brought something so special to our family in their own individual way. Each of them have grown into young successful adults. Justin and Christopher humbly carry on their passion to farm the family farm which their father and grandfather would be more than proud of what these two young men have stepped up and done. Brianna continues to pursue her college career along with being my inner strength … she is my rock!
As a family we embrace our faith, embed our love for one another and continue to make memories that will last a lifetime.
The quote below is a quote I reflect upon often and that I would like to share with you. I encourage you to think about what the words to this quote are really saying.
“Inhale faith ~ exhale fear and God will pave the path before you.”
Honzay, Joan - St. Aloysius & St. John's DRE, AFC Liturgy & Pastoral Care
I am Joan Honzay and I live south of Danube with my husband, Ron, and our teenage daughter Elli. We also have 4 other children: Ben, his wife LeAnn, and their pre-school aged son Levi who live in Donnelly, MN, Natalie, her husband Matt, and their sons James; a preschooler, and Jude; an infant live in Tyler, TX, Al and his wife Angie live in Fargo, ND, and Trevor who also lives in Fargo, ND. We are extremely proud of our crew. Ron and I have been married since 1985. Ron has been a member of Heart of Jesus AFC all his life and I joined when we got married. All 5 five of our children attended St. Mary’s School and were confirmed in the AFC. We really do love being part of this community. I enjoy learning, teaching, working and playing outside especially at a lake, reading and doing anything with my family. My favorite thing is when Ron and play with our grandsons; they delight me to no end.
I grew on a crop and chicken farm south of Danube only a few miles from where I live now. I am the 9th child in a family of 10 children. Growing up on the farm, I learned how to work hard and how to get along with others. I worked at Olivia Family Dental for many years, first for Dr. Roger Baumgartner then for Dr. Mark Moorse. During my years working at the dental office, I got to know people many people in Renville County. I have also worked at Olivia Healthcare Center and Renville Health Services as a nursing assistant. In 2009, I started college and earned a degree in elementary education with a grades 5-8 Social Sciences endorsement. I graduated in the spring of 2014 and got a job teaching Kindergarten at Willmar Public Schools.
In the summer of 2015, I received a phone call from Fr. Dennis Labat asking if I would consider working at St. Aloysius, part time, as Director of Faith Formation. I knew they were looking for someone to fill this position and I had been praying about whether I should apply for the job, so I believe this connection was divine interaction. I worked for St. Aloysius part time until July 2016, when I became full time. As a full time employee, I am the Director of Faith Formation for both St. Al’s and St. John’s parishes. I love both parishes and enjoy the uniqueness of each. I am also a pastoral minister for the AFC, as such; I minister to parishioners and others who need someone in a time of stress or great joy. I lead the Grief to Grace Ministry and Companions on the Journey Ministry. I meet with families, when a priest cannot, to plan funerals. In addition, I organized AFC Bible studies. Finally, I work with liturgical processes at St. Al’s. I consider it a great privilege to serve God by serving His Church and His people. I love to be in a church building attending to behind the scenes details when no one else is there. I also love having a job where I have a Bible within arm’s reach.
Many people inspire me; my sisters Brenda and Teresa, my late mother-in-law Helen Honzay who was always content with her life, Fr. Sam Thomas who had such a great love for all people, Saint Teresa of Calcutta for the way she trusted God and served His people out of love for Him and by Fr. Denny Labat for his peacefulness. My late grandmother, Elizabeth Mages, has always been my biggest inspiration, for her great love of all children and her ability to meet a person right where they were at in their lives. She was a true prayer warrior and taught me to take everything to the Lord in prayer. I feel very blessed to have these role models to look up to and try to imitate.
Mathiowetz, Barb - AFC Financial Manager
Her Backstory: Although I am a cradle Catholic, I feel like I am just beginning to understand the love of our Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He continually amazes me!
Where She Grew Up: suburbs of Chicago, IL
Education Background or Related Experience: Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Business Administration
Married/Family – My husband, Kevin, and I have been married since 2002.
Hobbies - Reading
How Long have You Worked Here: Started in fall of 2013
Parish You Work For and Parish You Are a Member Of: Financial Manager for the Heart of Jesus AFC (all four parishes), Member of St. Aloysius.
What Do You Like Most About Your Job: To be able to use my God given gifts directly for the church.
Who inspires you?
There are so many family members and friends who inspire me every day, most of them in the little things they do.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
Minnesota, more specifically Renville County. That is why I moved here, to be in the community I have always loved.
O'Halloran, Sue - St. Mary's & St. John's Secretary
Her Backstory – I have been a member of St. Mary’s until I married and joined St. Aloysius with my husband. We became members of St. Mary’s as a family before Will entered school at St. Mary’s.
Where She Grew Up: I grew up in Bird Island, attended St. Mary’s Grade School and Bird Island High School.
Education Background or Related Experience: : I grew up in Bird Island, moved away to the twin Cities after completing 2 years of college in Sales & Marketing. I was employed with Herberger’s for approx. 5 years until moving back home, and then employed at Frandsen Bank of Hector for a few years and then Cenex of Hector for 5 years until the birth of our son Will. I was a daycare provider in my home for just shy of 12 years before being hired at the church.
Married/Family- I have been married to Paul O’Halloran of Olivia since April of 1999, we have 4 sons: Josh 27, Will 16, Joey 14 and Jacob 8. We also have 3 grandchildren.
Hobbies- my hobbies include my children and all their activities, I LOVE watching them in any activity they participate in and am their biggest fan! I also love to read and have been in a book club since August of 2005.
How long have you Work Here: I have worked for St. Mary’s Parish since June of 2013
Parish You Work For and Parish You Are a Member Of: I am a member of St. Mary’s Parish and am the parish secretary for St. Mary’s Church.
What do you like most about your job: I love the feeling of giving back to my parish and all the wonderful people I have been blessed with getting to know through my employment.
Who inspires you?:My children, I love watching them achieve their goals or try to be the best they can in whatever they do both academically and in all aspects of life.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?: With my husband and children at the lake as it is very calming in a stressful world we live in and this is somewhere we come together as a family and are able to remove the day to day interruptions.
Olinger, Doug - AFC Facilities Manager
My parents and I moved to Lake Lillian from St. Paul to farm and raise livestock. Both of my parents originated from the Bird Island and Hector areas. I was confirmed at St. Thomas Church in Lake Lillian and I graduated from Atwater High School.
Growing up I enjoyed raising livestock and I stayed on the family farm to continue raising swine seed stock. I married and have two children, Heather and Jordan.
My careers have varied in many fields including oil extraction, feed mill work and production, and building maintenance. I now live in Bird Island and I enjoy greatly working with the Heart of Jesus Staff and St. Mary’s Staff. I look forward to new projects for the organization.
When I’m not at one of the Heart of Jesus Locations, you can find me helping my son at Brookfield Collision and Restoration. My hobbies include shooting pool in the winter and riding my Harley in the summer.
Pfarr, Nancy - St. Aloysius & Holy Redeemer Secretary
My name is Nancy (Eiler) Pfarr. I grew up on a hog farm southwest of Bird Island with my 5 older sisters. My parents taught us many things such as to work hard, work together and to take pride in what we do. I was raised Catholic and attended St. Mary’s School from Gr. 1 – 8. I am still an active member at St. Mary’s in Bird Island. I then went on to BOLD to complete my high school career. After graduating high school I worked full time and attended Ridgewater College in Willmar. I received a 2 year degree in Sales and Marketing. After college I worked for Henslin Auction Co. for about 1 ½ years and then I worked for Glesener’s Inc. for 14 years. In the fall 2013 I began working for St. Aloysius in Olivia. I also have a part time cleaning job at Saunders, Mertens & Schmitz in Bird Island.
I live in Bird Island with my 2 sons Garret (14) and Grant (11). Most of my evenings and weekends are spent with my children and attending their various activities. I enjoy being outside as much as I can. I walk, jog and like to find places to enjoy small hikes on occasion. I enjoy spending time at the lake with some friends and taking the boys fishing. I have recently been able to do some traveling and have found I really enjoy sightseeing, flying and learning about different places!
My favorite things about working at the church are the people I work with, both volunteers and staff.
If I could travel the world, I would. I have discovered that there is so much to see and I would love to sight see, learn about different cultures and see some history. I have been to California and New York/Washington, DC and so far they have been my favorite places to see! There is so much history and it is so different from the way I grew up. I absolutely loved getting to see the world from a different view.
Lastly, many things give me inspiration. However, my mom is my one true inspiration. She has given me so much. She has grace and dignity, she is the hardest working person I have met and never complains. She gives to all of those around her while teaching you how to be independent. My mother’s faith in God in unbelievable and she has paved a wonderful path for me. If I could be even a little bit of whom my mom is, I would consider it a gift to be cherished!
Schueller, Lynn - Holy Redeemer DRE
In May 1999, I was asked to consider becoming the DRE for Holy Redeemer-Renville. Thinking this was absolutely crazy, since I was a former Lutheran who joined the church back in 1977. I told them I would pray about it and give them an answer in 30 days. I remember asking God to let me know, without a doubt if this was His will. On the 30th day at Mass, the reading Matthews 5:14-16 was read by the lector. This spoke to me like God was sitting next to me whispering in my ear...Yes, I choose you...I believe in you. You see.. I had chosen this verse as my Confirmation verse to be in service to God wherever he needed me.
It has been a joy to serve this parish, our youth, & my God. The church has become my home, bringing me much peace & joy. In turn, I strive to make this church a home for all youth by being welcoming, loving, & forgiving. The work is not always easy, but my trust & faith in God gives me the strength & endurance that passes all my understanding. As years of youth go by, I see the need for hope & faith in their lives increasing. The world they live in is confusing & their home life may be challenging or divided. We always need your support & prayers for our Faith Formation program. May God continue to bless all our Catechists as they give glory to His name!
I am also very thankful to God for the gift of my Catholic Christian husband Jim of 45 years & our family consisting of our 4 beautiful daughters, their husbands, & our 9 very fun & special grandchildren. I am also reminded of the beauty & energy that youth have to offer. May God bless all our families with His Love, His Peace, & His Presence.