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Special People in Catholic Education (SPICE) is a program to support the education of children with special needs in our parish and school.

SPICE supports the teachers and staff at St. Catharine in their philosophy that every child is special. Our parish and school are committed to serving all of our children.

SPICE served as a means to raise funds, to employ needed personnel, and to support the educational process in whatever area deemed necessary by our pastor or principal.

SPICE brings about discussion and awareness necessary to embrace diversity in our parish and school.

SPICE Grant Request Form

Janet Weisner Spirit of SPICE Scholarship

For 20 years, Mrs. Weisner was a tireless advocate for SPICE and helped further the mission of inclusion into schools across the Columbus Diocese. Her dedication made our school a place where all students’ unique learning needs can be supported and championed. Each year, The Janet Weisner Spirit of SPICE Scholarship will be awarded to an individual 8th grade student who exemplifies virtues like kindness, diligence, and humility. Thank you, Mrs. Weisner, for always being a supporter of Special People in Catholic Education!

Janet Weisner Spirit of SPICE Scholarship Winners

2020 – Anna Casto
2021 – Katharine Barlay
2022 – Camille Hoffman
2023 – Francesca Nervez-Cueva

Monsignor Sorohan SPICE Memorial Scholarship Winners

2022 – Luke Allwein
2023 – Harry Hadden


SPICE sponsors an annual St. Patrick Day dinner. This year it will be held March 2, 2024.  The event is held in Monsignor D. Sorohan Parish Center on the Campus of St. Catharine Parish. This events sells out every year.  Great food, entertainment, silent auction, cold beverages and lots of fellowship. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of SPICE and exactly what it is doing, and at the same time to help raise funds to allow SPICE to further its mission.  It is a signature event for the parish, so mark your calendars and plan on attending.


Visit the SPICE website


spice-photoSt. Catharine SPICE Program recognizes that each of our parish children is a unique individual with different learning needs. The SPICE Program supports serving the educational needs of these children. We believe every child has different learning styles that provide diversity in the classroom environment.

Working together with the support of the SPICE program, the parish community, pastor, administration, teachers, and parents can help to provide understanding, information, creativity and willingness to address special educational needs.


A child with special needs receives more than a formal education when allowed to participate in the learning process with other students.  The emotional and intellectual challenges of the classroom environment provide a well-rounded and stimulating educational experience.

As spice adds flavor to food, so do children with special needs add richness to the classroom – encouraging a dimension of understanding and acceptance in even the youngest students.

The inclusive classroom promotes understanding, compassion and respect for all.  When students work together and learn to appreciate their individual strengths and weaknesses, everyone wins!

What is SPICE Doing?

SPICE creates awareness that members of our parish have special needs. Our parish is an extension of the family, the basic unit of the Catholic Church. Just as parents try to do all they can for their children, our parish family tries to do all that it can for our members.

SPICE creates an atmosphere that supports these students’ needs and creates a model for other parishes within the Diocese and beyond.

SPICE allows our parish community to provide additional funding for the following opportunities:

  • Classroom aides, tutors, & interpreters
  • Speech & occupational therapists
  • Teacher and staff continuing education
  • Classroom support materials and software
  • Individual grants for summer tutoring and specialized programs

Although these extra items are intended for those with special needs, effective instruction of any child enhances the learning of every child.

What is SPICE?

Special People in Catholic Education, or SPICE, is a special funding program developed to address the variety of student learning needs within our parish learning community. This includes the needs of our typical, developmental and accelerated learners in our parish and school. St. Catharine SPICE recognizes that each parish child is a unique individual with different learning needs and supports serving the educational needs of these children in several different ways:

  • SPICE supports teachers, catechists and staff at St. Catharine School in the philosophy that every child is special, inherent in human dignity.
  • SPICE serves as a means to raise funds and support the educational process and parish life in whatever area deemed necessary by our pastor, principal and director of religious education.
  • SPICE encourages all students with special needs to live out their Catholic faith by affirming the dignity of being created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by the saving power of Christ.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is SPICE going to make St. Catharine a Special Needs School?

Absolutely Not! SPICE was established to help St. Catharine meet the needs of our Parish Children, most of whom were already enrolled in our school or Religious Education Program before any special needs were even identified. It is our hope that SPICE will bring an awareness to other parishes, so that they can do what St. Catharine is doing in their own parishes.

Can St. Catharine meet all student’s special needs?

Good Question! The answer is probably not, but St. Catharine is committed to “try” to meet the needs of all of its parishioners. Everyone has different learning styles and needs. Sometimes the St. Catharine environment supersedes the benefits that a more publicly funded school system can provide for a student. The bottom line is what is best for the individual student!

Why does St. Catharine bother trying to meet everyone’s needs?

Think about that! This question is best answered by another question. Why didn’t God make us all the same? Does everyone have the same needs and learning styles, and should those with special needs be ignored? Our Parish is an extension of the family, the basic unit of the Catholic Church. Just as parents try to do all they can for all their children, so does St. Catharine for all of its members.

Why haven’t we heard of what St. Catharine is doing before now?

People’s needs are a very private issue, and especially when they involve inadequacies and special needs. Everyone loves their children and when they excel, people tend to talk about it. However, when they have problems, whether it be to protect the child, or for denial or embarrassment, parents tend to keep it confidential. St. Catharine understands and respects this, and has gone about their duties without making it public what special things that they are doing and how often they are doing it. Unless you are personally involved with a student with special needs, and unless these needs are “visible” (and typically they are not), you have no idea what the parents, parish and school are involved with. St. Catharine has been doing great things for years for a large number of families, and the general population has not been aware of it.

What is the future of SPICE?

Excellent! SPICE has the complete support of the Diocesan Vicar of Education, our Pastor, School Principal and Religious Education Program. We have received tremendous support and encouragement. Our Board is meeting this spring to plan for next year. SPICE will be an ongoing event at St. Catharine, both in its fundraising and awareness efforts. We will meet periodically, St. Catharine School, and the Religious Education Director to discuss their needs and assist in meeting them.

How can I help?

The immediate need for SPICE is for prayers and financial support. The ongoing prayers of our community are requested. And, if you are also able to help financially, the SPICE program will be assured of success. Thank you for your generosity!

All gifts are tax deductible. Gifts of securities are easily accepted and corporate matching programs are welcome. Please inquire with any questions.

Saffron Level – $1,000+
Sugar Level – $500-999
Cinnamon Level – $250-499
Nutmeg Level – $150-249
Salt & Pepper Level – $25-149
Other $__________________

Mail checks to:
2865 Fair Ave.
Columbus, OH 43209
(614) 235-6987


Fr. Matthew Morris – Pastor
Bob & Mary Ginn Ryan – Chairs
Mark Watts – Principal


Allison Brinkmeyer
Nicole Chavers
Andrew Jahan
Melissa Lawrence
Allison Leonard
​Pat McJoynt-Griffith
Laura Minnich
Alysia​ Plank
Justin Santorsola
Marin Santorsola​
Ginna Springer
​Lynn Sweeney
Meghan Vermillion
Janet Weisner