Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer
January 18, 2012 // Diocese

Bishop Rhoades enjoys St. Jude School hospitality during recent visit

Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer

See more photos in the photo gallery.

FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades continued his tour of diocesan elementary schools Wednesday with a visit to St. Jude School on Fort Wayne’s northeast side.

The day began with an all-school Mass in the church celebrated by Bishop Rhoades and concelebrated by pastor Father Tom Shoemaker and retired priest Father Paul Bueter. “I’m so happy to be here this morning,” the bishop announced, and thanked third graders for their warm welcome and assistance as he approached. He noted a banner at the church entrance proclaiming St. Jude’s hospitality and said, “I felt immediately at home.”

Principal Sister Kathleen Knueven, a Sister of Notre Dame, was surely pleased at that remark. She is quick to note that St. Jude’s is said to be a welcoming and caring community, and says, “We are family here!”

She adds, “St. Jude Catholic School is much more than brick and mortar (although the Spanish architecture is beautiful). Our school is more of a dynamic set of relationships such as collaboration, teamwork and consistent effort that over time creates a lasting learning community that promotes student success.”

Bishop Rhoades must have felt that dynamism first-hand as he toured the school after Mass, visiting classrooms and speaking with students and staff members. He asked each class to share with him what they had been learning about their religion and they were eager to do so.

Fourth graders were studying about the saints, their “best friends in heaven,” prompting the bishop to explain the saints’ intercession for them and the steps necessary to attain sainthood. Third graders were learning about the Twelve Apostles so he told them that bishops are the apostles’ successors who spread the word of God as he does by preaching and teaching.

Kindergartners spelled out their welcome to him with flash cards, revealing their mastery of the alphabet. He was amused by a poster they had made showing Our Lord as the Good Shepherd and looking for a few good sheep.

The sixth-grade class was studying the Old Testament so Bishop Rhoades recounted his visit to Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. First and second graders were learning about Jesus’ life, how he prayed and healed the sick. Fifth graders had been discussing the sacrament of Holy Orders so the bishop explained the steps to ordination and the duties of deacons, priests and bishops.

Bishop Rhoades fielded questions from seventh and eighth graders who are preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. He revealed that he first began considering a vocation when he was confirmed at about their age. He loves conferring the sacrament, he says, and likes “to be able to be an instrument of God’s grace.”

Nationally, St. Jude School is a Blue Ribbon Award winner, providing a strong religious and academic education. It is dedicated to the development of the total person in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

“Christ is the reason for St. Jude Catholic School,” Sister Kathleen points out.

Students have an opportunity to grow in their faith by planning and ministering at Mass and other liturgies. They participate in service projects by visiting residents at Saint Anne Retirement Home, long-term care patients at Parkview Hospital and by collecting items for needy families and the troops overseas. A strong fine arts program offers band, choir, handbells and art classes, and physical education includes fitness, good health and dance.

St. Jude students are fortunate to have retired sisters, parents, grandparents and others available to help with activities during the school day, as well as dedicated teachers always willing to give extra tutoring. After school clubs like Math Counts, Destination Imagination and Lego League draw many students and athletic teams attract others. Parents lend welcome assistance with those as well.

“St. Jude Catholic School with its strong religious, academic, cultural, social, athletic and service programs offers our students outstanding opportunities to live out the truths and values of the Catholic Faith and develop their God-given potential,” says Sister Kathleen with pride.

Indeed, St. Jude School exhibits all of those fine qualities, along with the hospitality enjoyed by Bishop Rhoades.

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