Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer
October 4, 2016 // Bishop

Most Precious Blood School welcomes Bishop Rhoades

Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer

Bishop Rhoades tells the students about his favorite charity, Catholic Relief Services, during Mass at the parish Friday, Sept. 30.

For more photos visit the photo gallery.

Most Precious Blood School welcomed Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades to the Catholic elementary school last Friday. Bishop was celebrant, and pastor Father Joseph Gaughan, concelebrant, for the Mass that opened a day filled with special activities.

“I can’t think of a better way to begin this day…,” the Bishop said, as he greeted eager students and the staff, parents, grandparents and other parishioners who filled the church.

Since he was visiting on the feast day of St. Jerome, the bishop spoke during his homily about that saint’s attributes, pointing out that St. Jerome was one of the great fathers of the church who became a hermit in order to spend his life in prayer. He reminded his listeners that they should emulate St. Jerome by reading the Bible, studying Scripture and listening to God’s word.

After Mass, Principal Stan Liponoga announced the results of a special fundraiser conducted by the students in anticipation of the bishop’s visit.

“We began collecting funds to donate to Catholic Relief Services Ark of Hope. Our students did an outstanding job,” he said. “The eighth grade was the class who collected the most funds, $219.66. If you notice, I did not use the word ‘winners;’ rather, the class that raised the most funds. Each classroom was a winner, as they participated in a beautiful global service project. … As a school, we raised a grand total of $1,030.18.”

Liponoga said to the bishop: “We are honored to donate in your name, to the Catholic Relief Services Ark of Hope program, 126 tree saplings, 12 rabbits, four pigs, 20 hens, four roosters and three lambs or baby goats.” “What a great surprise that was,” exclaimed Bishop Rhoades, and thanked the students for their sacrifices to help the poor.

The bishop spent the morning visiting classrooms at Precious Blood School, asking students about their religious studies and fielding questions from them in return. He reminded second graders about the importance of their preparation for two sacraments, first Holy Eucharist and first reconciliation, and spoke to them about their upcoming confessions.

The younger students were learning about the Holy Trinity and our Lord’s healing miracles, while first-graders were discussing Jesus. Bishop reminded them to talk to Him when they pray. Third and fourth-graders were studying the lives of the saints and discerning how to help the broader Church community. Students in grade five were studying Sacred Scripture while sharing daily Bible readings. Seventh-graders were also studying the Trinity, with an emphasis on the single divinity and two natures of the Son of God. Bishop Rhoades was pleased to find that both sixth- and eighth-graders had researched his coat of arms and were prepared to display their knowledge for him.

After classroom visits were completed, the students were excited to share with Bishop Rhoades that the prize awarded to the eighth-grade class for their fundraising efforts was “Bowling with the Bishop,” an activity that took place in the school’s own lower-level bowling alley.

The six-lane alley, established in 1932, has been a mainstay of recreational activity for students and the church community for nearly 85 years. Northside Recreation Center was originally formed by Father John Wilson, with the help of German parishioners interested in “kegling” — and is the oldest such facility in Fort Wayne. Longtime manager Rich Sarrazin is a proponent of the sport for people of all ages.

“You can bowl for the rest of your life,” he said. Bishop Rhoades proved it by bowling a strike, much to the delight of the students.

As the day ended, everyone gathered in the gymnasium to sing the Precious Blood Blessing for Bishop Rhoades, to which he replied, “May the spirit of God be with you all your days.”

The school’s mission is summed up in the following statement:  “First and foremost, Most Precious Blood School is a family of faith brought together by a common love of Jesus Christ. Students learn to live their lives by the example set by Jesus….” Father Gaughan underscored the statement by saying: “It is important to be spiritually united around our bishop”

Principal Liponoga added that the school is immensely proud to share its Catholic identity with him. “Our school would not be possible without your support and magnanimous leadership of our diocese. Thank you for all you do and for visiting Most Precious Blood School,” he said to Bishop Rhoades.

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.