Vince LaBarbera
Freelance Writer
August 31, 2016 // Local

Bishop Rhoades blesses diocese’s newest Catholic school

Vince LaBarbera
Freelance Writer

Bishop Rhoades blesses the outside of Our Lady School.

By Vince LaBarbera

For more photos visit the gallery.

On Monday, Aug. 29, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blessed Our Lady School — the newest Catholic school in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend — at Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Fort Wayne.

At a Mass prior to the blessing celebrating the Passion of St. John the Baptist, Bishop Rhoades talked about the great Old Testament prophet before outlining three objectives he would like to see the new elementary school accomplish.

The bishop said St. John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus, and he asked the students questions about him — ascertaining from them that St. John the Baptist was the first person to welcome Jesus when he “leaped in her womb” with joy when Mary visited his mother Elizabeth.

“Joy is part of being a Catholic, being a Christian,” Bishop Rhoades emphasized. “And since this is the newest Catholic school in our diocese, it should be a place of joy. In fact, every Catholic school should be a place of joy. That’s my first point,” he told the assembled students, teachers, parents, parishioners and guests.

“The second point again concerns St. John the Baptist and the very important mission he had,” said Bishop Rhoades. “A Catholic school, like your school here at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, has a mission, too, like St. John the Baptist — and that is to point out Jesus to others, to follow Him and repent.”

In front of a statue of Mary, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades begins prayers for the blessing of the new Our Lady School at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, Fort Wayne.

Bishop Rhoades told the students their school’s mission is to kind of be like St. John the Baptist and point out Jesus to others.

“The most important thing you learn here at your school is to follow Jesus. Therefore, you learn all about the teachings of Jesus and everything that Jesus did, His miracles, how He showed His love for people such as the poor, the sick and the suffering. You learn about His passion and death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension into heaven, and all about the Catholic faith. The mission of Our Lady of Good Hope School is at the center of everything. All your teachers and your principal look to Jesus as our great teacher,” he stressed.

“The third and last thing I want to talk about is courage. It’s one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit,” he emphasized to the eighth graders who will be confirmed later this year. “To follow Jesus takes courage. And it’s not always easy, because many people in the world don’t follow Jesus and don’t believe in Him. St. John the Baptist had great courage,” Bishop Rhoades reminded his listeners.

He also emphasized that many of our brothers and sisters in the faith are suffering right now throughout the world and are in prison because they are Catholic. “Here in Fort Wayne we need to have courage as well to live our faith and stand up for Christ like St. John the Baptist, who is in heaven with his cousin, Jesus. And that’s why we have Our Lady of Good Hope School — to help all of you get to heaven. May God bless you and Our Lady of Good Hope School,” he concluded.

Following the liturgy, Father Mark Gurtner, pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope Parish and the co-celebrant of the Mass, thanked Bishop Rhoades for his support of the new school.

“From the very first moment he heard about it, he never hesitated,” Father Gurtner emphasized. He also thanked Marsha Jordan, superintendent, and Carl Loesch, secretary of education, of the Catholic Schools Office; Dr. Eric Grekowicz, principal of Our Lady School; school board members, teachers, staff and benefactors.

Bishop Rhoades then blessed the elementary school, beginning on the outside of the former preschool building; he then blessed the students and teachers in their respective classrooms.

Our Lady School opened in August with 160 preregistered students. According to the school’s website, it’s a “classical liberal arts school geared toward the pursuit of two goals: wisdom and virtue. It inspires students to contemplate all that is true, good and beautiful, and to apply those lessons to their lives.”

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