Queen bees abuzz at St. Thomas More


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

CORALVILLE — After the pastor sent a postcard from London this past summer addressed to the “queen bees,” five staffers at St. Thomas More Parish welcomed him back by decorating his office as a beehive. Then last week, to celebrate Boss’ Day (late) and Halloween, the female staffers dressed as queen bees to greet their boss, Father Stephen Page.

Barb Arland-Fye
The five “queen bees” on staff at St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville pose with the “beekeeper,” Father Stephen Page, the parish’s pastor. He nicknamed these busy staffers queen bees, so that’s how they decided to dress for Halloween. Pictured from left are Joan Garrity, Judy Duncan, Maricarla Rohret, Michelle Montgomery and Maria Gudenkauf.

They took him by surprise, although he’d been puzzled as to why all five had been dressed in black when he celebrated Mass. He didn’t realize that the black attire provided the foundation for their costumes.

Fr. Page said he began calling the staffers “Queen Bees” shortly after assuming duties as the pastor of St. Thomas More last year. “I came to the conclusion real fast after arriving here at St. Thomas More that I work for five busy queen bees and I just go to my room, shut the door and they will buzz me when decisions are made,” joked Fr. Page.


The five queen bees are Judy Duncan, music director; Joan Garrity, religious education director; Maria Gudenkauf, staff support for religious education; Michelle Montgomery, director of youth ministry; and Maricarla Rohret, office administrative assistant.

Dressing as queen bees was a piece of cake because Judy had some bee costumes her family wore one year. “She grabbed them, and we went with it,” Maricarla said. “When (Fr. Page) got done with Mass, we had our outfits on. He laughed real loud.”

Photos were taken of the queen bees with their boss, which got him to thinking. Maybe St. Thomas More could challenge other parishes “to outdo us in the costume” department, Mari­carla said. “You have to have fun sometimes. There are so many people with problems; it’s kind of nice to have a little fun once in a while, to realize we’re all human.”

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