Our Catholic Identity


In the late 1950s, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis sought to expand the number of Catholic high schools in the Twin Cities. At this time, Monsignor Joseph Lapinski, pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Columbia Heights, purchased land in Fridley in the hope that the Archdiocese would soon build a new high school to serve Catholic families in the surrounding area. In 1965, the Archdiocese invited the Christian Brothers and the School Sisters of Notre Dame to join together to oversee the administration of the new school. Named in honor of Archbishop Thomas L. Grace, an early Minnesota bishop who was a pioneer in  education, Archbishop Grace High School opened in September 1966.

In 1980, in honor of the generous benefaction of Jim and Rose Totino, entrepreneurs in the frozen pizza business, the name of the school was augmented to Totino-Grace High School. At the time, Jim and Rose’s gift of $1 million was the largest ever given to a Catholic high school in the nation. Their profound commitment to Catholic education funded facility expansion and established the school’s endowment, which remains the foundation of our student financial aid program.

Due to its long association with the Christian Brothers and its support of the Lasallian  Educational mission, Totino-Grace declared itself to be a Lasallian School in 1997. Totino-Grace is now part of a worldwide network of Lasallian Schools with approximately 3,500 Brothers and 93,000 lay colleagues teaching more than one million students in eighty countries.


Totino-Grace is an educational ministry of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and shares in the teaching mission of the Catholic Church. Our curriculum meets the robust requirements for the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and follows the guidelines of the Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for A Catholic School Young People of High School Age. As such, the school is dedicated to the religious formation and instruction, academic preparation, and cultural development of young people. Totino-Grace invites and challenges each student to make his or her faith living, conscious, and active, while taking on a Catholic worldview. TG challenges students to see Christ in others and serve as Christ did.

When Totino-Grace opened its doors in 1966, the Christian Brothers and School Sisters of Notre Dame also introduced our community to the people we now call our Founders -- not because St. John Baptist de La Salle or Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger ever walked the halls of Totino-Grace, but because of their faith in God, their calling as innovative educators, and their love of students is what inspired the Brothers and the Sisters in those early years – and is what still inspires us today.


When asked what makes our school different from our public school counterparts, the answer may seem obvious -- we’re a community of faith -- but what does that actually mean? How does it manifest itself in our hallways, faculty and staff, and ultimately in our young people?
It means we bring God into everything we do. Every student. Every day. “Each class period starts with a prayer. Multiply that out for six periods a day, five days a week, for 174 school days, over the course of a student’s four years at Totino-Grace and that one student will have brought God into their daily lives more than 4,000 times,” said Totino-Grace President, Dr. Craig Junker. “It’s creating space for God and creating a habit of bringing Christ’s presence into their lives. We teach students to understand that if they have God in their lives, they will have better lives. The highs will be richer and the lows will be less lonely.” TG faculty and staff serve as models of faith in action, providing inspiration and opportunities for students to grow in their own faith and take the Gospel message beyond our campus and into the world.
“As Totino-Grace works to foster the four pillars of faith, learning, service, and community, every adult in our building--from volunteer parent to maintenance staff to advancement director--is invited to embody the phrase ‘remember we are in the holy presence of God’,” said Bill Vance, theology teacher, English teacher, and soccer coach. “From formal worship experiences to prayer at the beginning of meetings and gatherings to meeting each and every person who walks through our doors with a greeting of hospitality and reverence, we are continually striving to receive Christ so that we might be Christ to one another.”
First page of the PDF file: lasallianathletesposterv3_1
This initiative begins in the classroom and is also implemented within our co-curricular programs. Each coach or moderator is responsible for creating a faith formation plan for their club or activity. Andrew Blake, director of Campus Ministry, explains it like this “A faith plan for a sport, club, or activity can be as simple as praying or doing service projects together, or it can be as structured as praying in the chapel before each game, like our girls basketball team did during the 2021-2022 season.“
Every coach and moderator is given training on what it means to be a Lasallian athlete or participant and how that sets our students apart. Each new season, coaches and moderators gather to review the 12 virtues they are encouraged to bring to their group. “Our measurement for success is helping our young people play a game they love, with teammates they love, for a school they love, in front of friends and family who love them,” says Blake.
Not only do students, athletes, coaches, and teachers live and hear these principles on a daily basis, they see them too. “When you walk into our school, you will see reminders throughout the hallways and classrooms and especially in the TG Commons - that wherever we are gathered together, Christ is with us,” shares Dr. Junker. “Not only will you see our founders and religious markers, you will also see the Five Core Lasallian Principles up in our TG Commons. It’s a powerful reminder that we enter to learn and leave to serve.”


Each student at Totino-Grace is exposed to opportunities to help them discover their God-given gifts and talents, and consider how to best share them with others. Over the years, the TG Campus Ministry program has continued to grow and become more robust. One way to measure the program’s success is by the number of students interested in the student ministry program - and this upcoming school year boasts the largest cohort of student ministers in over a decade.
“I knew we were on the right track when we had more students apply to be a part of the Totino-Grace Student Ministry program than we’ve had in recent history,” said Campus Minister, Max Linnville. “This group of students is hungry to experience Christ in their school, and the campus ministry department is thrilled to offer some tried and true opportunities for spiritual growth and discipleship, and a few new options this year.” Approximately 10% of the student population will be participating in student ministry this year.
The TG Student Ministry Team is made up of juniors and seniors who are committed to creating, offering, and implementing worship, formation, discipleship, and service programs for the Totino-Grace community. Student ministry team members work in small groups to plan liturgies, prayer services, service projects, mission formation, and theme activities. The main work of the student ministers is to bring to life our school theme and be the inspiration behind all campus ministry programs. “The creativity of the students and the talents they bring to sharing God’s love with their peers is what helps Totino-Grace’s Campus Ministry events touch the hearts and minds of the community in such meaningful ways,” Linnville explained.
Student ministry is just one of the many ways TG students see Christ. In addition to daily prayer opportunities in the classroom and regular all-school mass, students also have the following opportunities for liturgy, sacraments, service, and prayer:
  • TG’s chaplain, Father Zipp, presides over Mass once a week (held on Thursday mornings this upcoming school year)
  • A weekly student-led chapel service (can be adoration, rosary, prayer reflections, etc.)
  • Seasonal Reconciliation
  • Coffee hour with campus ministry on Wednesdays before school (invitation to discipleship, etc.)
  • Small groups run by student ministers
  • Advocacy and Justice Group - dedicated to raising awareness about Catholic Church teachings in regards to justice
  • Retreat Team - where students are invited to take an active role in the retreat programming
  • Sacraments, Liturgy, and Prayer Team - focused on sharing the Sacraments on campus
  • Advertising and Charity Team - dedicated to publicizing and sharing the exciting opportunities for students to take an active role in their faith
  • Sports and Activity Ministers - dedicated to helping groups with their faith formation

Totino-Grace is continuing to grow and add new options for further faith development, and this year an added emphasis will be on partnering with our families. “Through new educational, prayer, service, and justice opportunities, we hope to encourage and allow parents to more fully engage in their student’s Totino-Grace faith experience,” explained Linnville. Families will be invited to participate in weekly efforts beginning in the fall. Initially efforts will start as morning prayer, but hopes to expand to include talks, retreats, and service. “These young people are eager for their own faith development and would benefit from shared excitement at home,” says Linnville.

- St. John Baptist de La Salle


As important to helping students with their faith development, Totino-Grace is going to put extra effort this year into helping faculty and staff grow in their faith life as well. “It’s no secret that there has been a great resignation in education,” says Holly Hoey Germann, theology teacher and spiritual director, “but I truly believe that prayer, particularly contemplative prayer, can be a countermeasure to burnout.”

Hoey Germann has spent the past year and a half getting certified in Spiritual Direction, which will be offered as a way for faculty and staff to have a professional partner walk with them on their faith journey. Through gentle questions and conversations, both individually and in small groups, participants are invited to look more closely at how the Holy Spirit is working. Teachers are in a unique position to talk about their faith life and mold what it means to walk with God. “The ultimate goal with these new offerings is to surround our students with faith-filled adults who are open and aware of God’s profound love and what they are called to do and be in this world,” says Hoey Germann.

In addition to the campus ministry offerings of prayer, sacraments, and spiritual direction, faculty and staff will also be given the opportunity to deepen their faith-filled relationships with each other and as a community in the following ways:

  • Monthly book reflections and discussions centered around contemplative prayer practice (offered before and after school)
  • Advent evening reflection
  • Lenten afternoon prayer series
  • Staff spiritual retreat
  • Charism formation opportunities with Lasallian and School Sister of Notre Dame partners
  • Individual spiritual direction

“The adults of faith that are modeling the day-to-day reality of discipleship are, arguably, the main differentiator in a Catholic school,” says Hoey Germann. “We need to invest in them so that they can, in turn, inspire and encourage our students to be people of faith.”


Although young in terms of years, a Totino-Grace education has a rich history and strong foundation that continues to grow richer and stronger. A Totino-Grace education is special because it touches the heart of each student, inspiring them to surpass their own expectations, achieve academic success, and experience personal and spiritual fulfillment within a safe, nurturing community. TG students truly embody our Lasallian mission: “enter to learn, leave to serve.”
“Teaching is definitely not limited to our teaching staff, nor is it only accomplished in the classroom. Our students witness Christ in the lunch line, on the bus, and any time where two or more are gathered,” says Bill Vance. Totino-Grace’s faculty and staff continue to honor St. John Baptist de La Salle and Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger and all the men and women who came before to continue their tradition of faith, love, and education. “We have an incredible tradition and foundation to continue to embody and build upon and I couldn’t be more proud of our teachers, staff, and students as we enter our 56th year of Catholic education,” says Dr. Junker.