SOUTH BEND — In an unexpected turn of events, during a Mass marking the solemnity of All Saints Day at Holy Family Parish, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades had the pleasure of interviewing one of America’s newest saints.
Well, not exactly.
As a part of his pastoral visit to Holy Family School, the bishop began with an all-school Mass that included fourth-grade students who were dressed as their favorite saints. Among the students was Alexis Moran, who was dressed as Kateri Tekakwitha, a Native American who was canonized on Oct. 21 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop Rhoades asked Alexis to come with him to the pulpit where he interviewed her on the background of St. Kateri. Moran’s information on the saint resulted in accolades from the bishop and applause from the congregation.
During his homily, Bishop Rhoades asked the students to repeat the phrase “beatific vision,” which means seeing God in the glory of heaven. He explained that beyond the souls of those in heaven are those in purgatory that are in need of purification before they see God.
“That’s why it is important to pray for the dead, to pray for those in purgatory,” said Bishop Rhoades. He added that the Church “includes Christ’s disciples here on earth, the saints in heaven and the people being purified, which make up the communion of saints.”
Bishop Rhoades’ visit included a tour of the school’s facilities and answering students’ questions within their classes. Eighth-grade students were very interested in getting information about Confirmation and the selection of their new saint name during the process.
Holy Family School opened on Sept. 6, 1954 with 236 students in grades 1-6. The school was the 14th Catholic grade school in the diocese and was staffed by five Felician Sisters from Livonia, Mich. Seventh and eighth grades were added in 1955 and 1956, and in 1978, a kindergarten was opened. Due to a need for increased enrollment, a preschool was added in 1991.
Felician Sister Joan Marie Shillinger has been the principal of Holy Family School since 1993 and is pleased with new structural changes and updated educational programs at the school.
Last summer new windows were installed in all of the classrooms with hallway windows to be completed in the next phase of school remodeling. In addition, updating technology through the use of Smart Boards or Polyvision boards and projectors has been added in the classrooms. Sister Joan Marie noted that the school would like to update computers in the labs and classrooms and have all teachers receive updated notebook computers for their classrooms as well.
Holy Family fourth-grade students have participated in the past few years in a Water Safety and Aquatic Emergency Program presented by the South Bend Fire Department, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, South Bend Parks and Recreation Department and St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. Notre Dame allows the school to use their Knute Rockne Pool. This “hands on” program is an expansion of a 90-minute program that was presented to all the parochial and South Bend Community School Corporation students a number of years ago.
Sister Joan Marie said, “While this program will not ‘drown proof’ the children, it does teach them respect for the water, how to prevent water accidents, and in the event of an aquatic emergency, how to properly respond to save themselves or someone else, while minimizing the danger to themselves.”
Some of the topics covered are CPR, self-rescue, survival swimming and floating, HELP and huddle positions, life jackets, lifesaving skills, water and medical emergencies and special water emergencies. Additionally, parents are invited to a special demonstration at the end of the five-week program.
Two active priests from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Send are alumni of Holy Family School.
Father Andrew Budzinski, parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne recalled, “Holy Family Parish and School were very important in my formation in becoming a priest because, after my family, the parish and school were the most important factors in teaching me the Catholic faith and bringing me the sacraments.”
Father Andrew Curry, pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, North Manchester, and St. Francis Xavier Parish, Pierceton, and chaplain to the Catholic Newman Group at Manchester College, has fond memories of the school.
“I remember having fun with friends from my class such as when we would stay after school to play the card game Uno with Mr. Bob Budzinski, (a teacher at Holy Family School for 25 years and currently the assistant principal),” said Father Curry.
Father Chuck Herman, pastor of Holy Family Parish, offered his assessment of what makes the school successful.
“At Holy Family we strive to provide a well-rounded education for all of our students, in helping them to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. A Catholic education is so important today because of our very secular society. It is our mission to teach positive Christian values to our students, which will enable them to live good lives,” Father Herman concluded.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades made a pastoral visit to Holy Family School on Thursday, Nov. 1.
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.