On May 1, San Francisco’s ABC TV affiliate reported that officials at Notre Dame High School in Belmont rescinded a speaking invitation to homosexual/ same-sex ‘marriage’ activist Gregg Cassin. The disinvitation followed a March 21 CalCatholic article “LGBT activist leads retreat at Notre Name de Namur.” The article, the first in an ongoing series on the influence of homosexual activists in the departments of religious education in the high schools of the archdiocese of San Francisco, documented Cassin’s support for same-sex marriage, quoting from his own website He is an LGBT rights activist helping to organize and emcee anti-Prop 8 rallies since 2008. According to ABC, Cassin got a telephone call the night before his most recent scheduled presentation “They said, ‘The principal doesn’t want you to come.'” ABC also reported “Cassin believes the school uninvited him because of what was written on the California Catholic Daily website,” and that “many alumni are rallying in support of Cassin and his message.”
ABC’s story was followed by similar stories the San Mateo Daily Journal and the San Francisco Examiner. Despite the disinvitation and his open opposition to Catholic teaching, Notre Dame apparently sees no problem with Cassin’s presence, and that their action was tactical. The Examiner reported: “Cassin said he was informed by a Notre Dame teacher that Head of School Maryann Osmond had asked him not to come back this year.
The snub was apparently in response to a series of articles published in late March on the website California Catholic Daily…’I saw it as controversial,’ Osmond said of the stories. ‘I was being told that it was getting a lot of attention and I thought the best way to proceed was to diffuse things and resume Gregg’s relationship next year.” Later in the same article Osmond said “I want him to continue to speak at Notre Dame.” All three news outlets reported that Cassin had been speaking at the school for 20 or more years.
The homosexual infestation at Notre Dame High School was noted, by Catholic media, more than 15 years ago. On November 19, 1998, Teresa Cepeda, a reporter for the Catholic weekly, the Wanderer, covered the “Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network” conference. Her article on the event, “Gay Friendly Agenda Gaining Footholds in Catholic Schools Around the Country,” was also picked up by Catholic World News. Cepeda reported, “John Otterford, a religion teacher at Notre Dame High School in Belmont, California, noted that he is trying to get his administration to do faculty in services on gay issues.”
Cepeda had the teacher’s name wrong: it is actually John Ottersberg. By 2011, Ottersberg had become the school’s director of campus ministry. Bed, Bath and Beyond’s wedding gift registry has a page for Ottersberg and another man, with the information “event date: 7/18/2009” and “event type: wedding.” Ottersberg no longer works at Notre Dame: he is currently a member of the campus ministry at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco.
While Notre Dame de Namur High School is under the control of a religious order, meaning the power of the local bishop is limited, the school is still listed as a Catholic school on the archdiocesan website and on the website of the San Francisco Department of Catholic Schools.
The leadership of Notre Dame De Namur’s California province consists of: Sister Louise O’Reilly, SND; Sister Georgianna Coonis, SND; and Sister Virginia Unger, SND. All may be contacted at: Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Province Center, 1520 Ralston Avenue, Belmont CA 94002.
For the archdiocese of San Francisco, contact: Maureen Huntington, superintendent of Catholic Schools; Laura Held, assistant superintendent, Faith Formation and Religious Instruction; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone; all at the archdiocese of San Francisco, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco CA 94109.
Most important is to contact the principal of your local Catholic elementary schools. Almost all enrollment to Catholic high schools come from Catholic elementary feeder schools. The elementary principals may be unaware of the catastrophic state of religious education in archdiocesan high schools, and they are the persons with the greatest ability to effect change.