OLL fourth grader builds virtual mission project

Our Lady of Lourdes (Northridge) fourth grade student Gavin O’Flaherty created a different kind of California mission project this year utilizing technology.

Using the popular online building game called “Minecraft,” he created and presented a virtual San Fernando Mission, allowing viewers to tour the entire mission, inside and out. Details, such as glowing candles in the church and grazing cows in the fields, added to the experience.

Every year, OLL students create some type of replica or artistic representation of a California mission to showcase during the annual Open House that kicks off Catholic Schools Week, which occurred Jan. 26-Feb. 1. According to O’Flaherty’s fourth grade teacher, this was the first time that technology has played such a significant role in these projects. Students and parents alike enjoyed the display, and teachers appreciated the creativity that went into the project.

St. Mary Church hosts healing mission

John Cojanis, a Catholic Lay Missionary from the Diocese of Tucson, will lead a healing mission at St. Mary Church in Palmdale on March 3-4. He has conducted large healing missions at Catholic churches in hundreds of cities across the country to over 1 1/2 million people for the past 35 years.

Participants may choose to attend the early presentation at 10 a.m. or the 7 p.m. evening session, which is a repeat of the morning program. Each day is different, so participants are encouraged to attend one session each of the two days.

There will be special prayers for every kind of healing need: spiritual, emotional or physical. The program also features humorous talks, music and fun. The entire family is encouraged to attend. St. Mary’s is located at 1600 E. Avenue R4, Palmdale; (661) 947-3306.

TV dance show choreographer auditions FSHA students

Dancers at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Ca√±ada learned dance steps and attended same-day auditions led by guest choreographer, Sean Cheesman, currently a fixture on the hit TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Cheesman, a friend of FSHA’s dance teacher Cindy Montoya from when they met two decades ago as background dancers for Paula Abdul, accepted an invitation to choreograph an Afro-Jazz gospel number for FSHA’s annual dance concert in April.

Cheesman taught a group of 20 dancers (all members of the junior and senior dance troupes) a piece of an Afro-Jazz routine and, after rehearsing it with them for an hour, called groups of four girls to the floor to perform the dance they had just learned. Of those girls, Cheesman picked his top 10 dancers and gave them individual critiques, providing valuable insight into the professional dance world. He will return to FSHA in March to work with the dancers in preparation for the dance concert.

Four local Providence Hospitals receive top honors

Providence Southern California earned top state honors recently as the first health system in California to win Healthgrades’ Distinguished Hospital Award for all four of its hospitals eligible to be evaluated for this honor.

Healthgrades, a top consumer ratings company, awarded this distinction to hospitals that rank among the top 5 percent in the nation for performance on 27 of the most common diagnoses and procedures. The results mean better outcomes for seriously ill patients.

Providence Holy Cross, Providence Saint Joseph and Providence Tarzana medical centers in the San Fernando Valley and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance were among the 262 medical centers in the U.S. recognized with the Distinguished Hospitals Award for Clinical Excellence.

Distinguished Hospitals, as a group, have a 30.9 percent lower risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality rate across 18 conditions and procedures as compared to all other U.S. hospitals evaluated. Healthgrades estimates that, if all other U.S. hospitals performed at this high level from 2009 through 2011, approximately 164,414 deaths nationwide potentially could have been prevented.