By Kay Cozad
FORT WAYNE — The steady rain that fell on the morning of Oct. 14 was not enough to dampen the spirits of the students and staff of St. Charles Borromeo School, who assembled for an all-school Mass celebrated by Bishop John M. D’Arcy, along with St. Charles pastor Msgr. John Suelzer and associate pastors Fathers Tony Steinacker and Jim Kumbakkeel. Family members, parishioners and visitors joined the students at the special Mass to celebrate the newly-constructed kindergarten facility in use this school year.
St. Charles School preschool and kindergarten-age students had been attending school on Our Lady of Good Hope campus for the past 12 years. Construction on the addition to St. Charles School broke ground in November of 2008 and was completed in August of this year.
Principal Robert Sordelet says, “We appreciate the generous support of the parishioners of St. Charles. In these difficult economic times they pulled forward. They’ve always been very good to the children.”
He adds, “The addition completed the school from a physical standpoint as well as now having everyone together.”
Currently the four kindergarten classes boast a total of 84 students, the majority of whom attend full-day. Two new teachers joined the original two this year to accommodate the incoming number of students and each classroom has a teacher’s aid.
Principal Sordelet says, “The kindergartners are doing an excellent job. We’ve had a smooth transition. It’s a blessing.”
Msgr. Suelzer agrees saying, “It’s wonderful that we have the kindergartners on St. Charles’ campus. It’s good that the little children see the big children and the big see the little. We’re very pleased with the facility and hope to keep up the numbers.”
At Mass during his homily Bishop D’Arcy spoke directly to the students about Jesus from the aisles of the church.
“Don’t ever be silent with Jesus,” he says. “Never be afraid, God loves you.”
As the bright students, both young and old, answered the bishops inquiries, he reminded the congregation that God’s people must be like children. “We’re all supposed to be like little children, no matter how old. In the sense that everything is from God — everything is a gift.”
He also reminded the adults that the children were innocent and unprotected and that they deserved and needed love and care.
“Let’s promise that the children will be central to St. Charles Parish. That we will love them, catechize them, protect them and above all bring them closer to God,” he adds.
As he closed the Mass, Bishop D’Arcy reminded the students to pray for their vocation saying, “One of the most important things in life is to find your vocation. At Mass we say the vocation prayer, ‘Lord, help me. Teach me to find my vocation in life.’”
Following Mass the bishop and fellow priests led the kindergartners and staff in a procession to the new building. There the bishop met the architect and consultants responsible for the design and construction of the new facility, which offers four new classrooms, restrooms, small kitchenette and utility closet, and is built off the existing building.
As all gathered in the hallways of the kindergarten building, the bishop offered a prayer to bless the building itself. Following the prayer the bishop met with the kindergarten students and teachers in their respective rooms. The student desks were centered within the economically arranged and brightly decorated classrooms.
Bishop D’Arcy took the eager students through a question-answer session in each classroom with easy banter before blessing all four of the rooms with holy water.
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