Father Ryan announces 2021 inductees to Hall of Fame

Nine athletes and one contributor have been selected for the 2021 class of inductees for the Father Ryan High School Athletics Hall of Fame. 

The inductees represent classes from 1949 to 2003 and were selected from more than 110 nominations submitted by the community. They will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Sept. 9 at Father Ryan and will be the honorary captains at the school’s Sept. 10 home football game. 

“Reading the nominations each year, listening to their stories, and hearing about their accomplishments remind me not only of what our Hall of Famers accomplished athletically, but also what they have contributed to this community, city and country,” said Ann Mullins, director of athletics at Father Ryan and a 2003 graduate of the school. “I thank the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for their outstanding work and look forward to celebrating these men and women in September.” 

The 2021 Hall of Fame class includes: 

  • Raymond Dunning, Class of 2003, wrestling. “Father Ryan has long been considered the mecca of Tennessee High School Wrestling, and a big reason why this reputation continued in the early 2000s was because of Raymond Dunning,” according to the announcement of his selection. “Raymond wrestled all four years at Father Ryan and was a four-time TSSAA finalist and three-time State Champion. He went on to have a phenomenal college wrestling career at Adams State in Colorado where he was a three-time All-American and national runner-up his senior year.” 
  • Ronnie Dean Francescon, Class of 1987, basketball and volleyball. “A two-sport star, Ronnie Dean Francescon was the point guard on the first girls basketball team to make the Elite 8 in the State Tournament. She was named All-District and All-Region multiple times and also starred as a setter on the volleyball team. Ronnie has been a part of the diocese’s Catholic schools as a teacher and a coach for many years, most recently at St. Rose of Lima School in Murfreesboro.” 
  • Carmen Mondelli Lux, Class of 1991, basketball, softball, volleyball. “A rare three-sport star, Carmen Mondelli Lux was a star in basketball, softball and volleyball. While she shined in all three, her strongest sport was volleyball, where she was named the 1990 MVP of the Round Robin Classic and selected All-City as a senior. She matriculated to Fordham University in New York City, where she was awarded an athletic scholarship and was a Division I freshman starter for the Rams. She also walked on to the Fordham softball team, where she batted .345 with 11 home runs. Carmen remains involved in Nashville and with Father Ryan, where she has enjoyed a successful business career and currently serves on the Father Ryan Board of Trust.” 
  • John Sneed, Class of 1974, basketball. “Standing 6’9″, John Sneed was an imposing presence on the court and a friend to all off of it. As a lynchpin of the 1974 Boys Basketball Team, John and his teammate Carl Crain, a fellow Athletics Hall of Fame member, led the squad to the State Semifinals. John was a top recruit by Vanderbilt University, where he played from 1974-1978 before playing two years professionally overseas. John enjoyed a successful career in the hospital and real estate industries before passing away from cancer in 2019.” 
  • Jack Sullivan, Class of 1949, baseball, basketball, football. “Jack ‘Red’ Sullivan was a standout in football, basketball and baseball during his time at Father Ryan. He was a three-time letterman in each sport and a unanimous All-City selection in football in 1948. He was an All-District selection in basketball in 1947 and 1948 and was a starting pitcher on the baseball team. A true leader, Jack served as Class President during his senior year in addition to being voted “Most Athletic.” After high school, Jack played basketball and baseball at Middle Tennessee State University before courageously deciding to leave college to serve in the Korean War.” 
  • Jamie Birdwell Summers, Class of 1993, softball. “If Jamie Birdwell was on the mound, opposing teams faced an uphill battle. Considered the greatest softball pitcher in Father Ryan history, Jamie was a four-year starter who led the Girls Softball Team to the 1992 State Tournament. In addition to her dominance on the mound, Jamie was known as a great hitter and student. She matriculated to Mercer University in Macon, GA, where she was named an All-American.” 
  • Derek Wigginton, Class of 1997, baseball, basketball, football. “A three-sport athlete, Derek Wigginton starred in baseball, basketball, and football during his high school days. Derek chose to focus on baseball, his strongest sport, and played for the Crimson Tide of Alabama after high school. After a successful college career, including playing in the College World Series, Derek spent a few seasons playing in the Chicago White Sox organization of Major League Baseball.” 
  • Bobby Young, Class of 1950, basketball and football. “An outstanding athlete in both basketball and football, Bobby Young earned All-City honors for the Irish Football Team.  He went on to a sterling career at MTSU where he played fullback and was the leading scorer in 1951. He was named to the All-OVC in 1952 and 1953 and was inducted into the Blue Raiders Hall of Fame in 1979.” 
  • George Zimmermann, Class of 1985, baseball and basketball. “A star in baseball and basketball, it was on the diamond where George Zimmermann truly found his calling. A four-year starter on the Irish varsity team from 1982-1985, George was named to the All-Metro Team as a senior in 1985. He matriculated to MTSU, where he received a full scholarship, was a four-year starter, and was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year in 1987. Before he passed from cancer in 2020, George was awarded the 2019 Railbird Jacket from MTSU, honoring his continued volunteer commitment to Blue Raider baseball.” 
  • Eddie Krenson, Class of 1972, Principal and Coach. “Truly ‘All Irish,’ Eddie Krenson contributed to Father Ryan as a student, athlete, teacher, coach and principal across a span of more than three decades. A 1972 graduate of Father Ryan, where he won the Leo Long Award for basketball in 1972, Eddie returned to Father Ryan as a teacher and coach from 1979-1988. In 1988, after years of coaching basketball and leading the Girls Golf Team to a 1987 State Title, Eddie became the first layperson principal at Father Ryan. He served in this role until 2000, and he will forever be remembered for his commitment to Father Ryan.” 

Vietnamese Catholic Community celebrates new home

The Vietnamese Catholic Community celebrated its move to St. Pius X Church in Nashville with a luncheon on Sunday, June 6. In the Mass before the luncheon, three children received their First Communion. The community moved to St. Pius from St. Martha Church in Ashland City earlier this spring because it is more accessible to more people. Members of the community travel from throughout the Nashville area for Sunday Mass in Vietnamese and religious education classes for their children and other ministries and services. Father Hung Pham, a native of Vietnam, is the chaplain for the community. 

Photos by Andy Telli

Nun slain by three teenagers in satanic sacrifice beatified as martyr

Sister Maria Laura Mainetti, a member of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, was killed in 2000 in Chiavenna, Italy, by three teenage girls in a satanic sacrifice. Sister Mainetti was beatified as a martyr June 6 in the northern Italian city where she served and died. She is pictured in an undated photo. CNS photo/courtesy Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

VATICAN CITY. A nun who was brutally stabbed in a satanic sacrifice was beatified a martyr June 6 in the northern Italian city where she served. 

Pope Francis commended the beatification of Sister Maria Laura Mainetti, a 60-year-old member of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, after praying the Angelus the same day with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. 

“She was killed 21 years ago by three young women influenced by a satanic sect. Cruelty. She, who loved young people more than anything, and who loved and forgave those same girls imprisoned by evil, leaves us her program for life: do every little thing with faith, love and enthusiasm,” the pope said. 

The beatification ceremony was held in Chiavenna in the Diocese of Como where Sister Mainetti had been serving as a teacher, catechist and head of her religious community. 

Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, presided over the beatification ceremony and Mass. On the altar was a reliquary holding a rock stained with Blessed Mainetti’s blood; the rock was found where she had been killed. 

The cardinal said the nun prayed to God for the grace of “true charity,” which means loving God more than oneself and loving others as much as oneself. 

She is pictured with children in an undated photo. CNS photo/courtesy Consorzio Turistico Valchiavenna

Born Aug. 20, 1939, near Milan, she felt called to a religious vocation after a priest told her, “You must do something wonderful for other people.” 

She began teaching in 1960 at elementary schools run by her congregation in different cities in Italy. She dedicated her life to helping those excluded by society, particularly drug addicts, juvenile delinquents, the poor and sex workers. 

Her killers were three teenage girls who knew Sister Mainetti from catechism class when they were younger. The young women wanted to sacrifice a religious person for Satan, according to their testimony in court, and chose the sister, rather than the parish priest, because she was slender and easier to attack. 

The three girls had planned to stab her six times each to indicate the biblical “number of the beast” on June 6, 2000, the sixth day of the sixth month. 

When they ambushed and attacked her, she prayed for the girls, asking that God forgive them. 

The young women were found guilty of murder, but they were given reduced sentences because the court determined they were partially insane at the time of the crime. They have since been released from prison and given new identities, living in different Italian cities. 

In June 2020, the pope recognized the martyrdom of Sister Mainetti as someone killed “in hatred of the faith.” While a miracle attributed to a candidate’s intercession is not needed for beatification as a martyr, a miracle is required for canonization.