Bishop Morneau blesses Two Rivers school

By Benjamin Wideman | For The Compass | November 9, 2011

“We dedicate this building to the education of youth, to the progress of the sciences and to learning. We become a center of students and teachers (who believe in) the words of truth, the search for wisdom that guides the Christian life, and strive wholeheartedly to stand by Christ as a teacher who lives and reigns forever and ever.”

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Surrounded by students and parents, Bishop Robert Morneau uses holy water to bless St. Peter the Fisherman School in Two Rivers. After leasing the building for the past six years, the parish purchased the school last summer from the Two Rivers Public School District. (Benjamin Wideman | For The Compass)

Following Mass, Bishop Morneau walked through the hallways, blessing the school as children and adults alike followed closely behind.

“At St. Peter here, it’s all about community,” said Bishop Morneau, directing his comments to the students. “It’s about sharing and caring. … Your grandmas and grandpas, your moms and dads, the larger community, they care and share about you kids. It’s all about community. It’s all about being God’s people.”

The school, formerly known as C.C. Case Elementary School, is located at 1322 33rd St.

St. Peter the Fisherman leased the school from the Two Rivers Public School District for six years before accepting an offer to purchase in July for $335,400. The 180 students in 3-year-old preschool through eighth grade come from Two Rivers, Mishicot, Francis Creek, Tisch Mills and Denmark.

The special Mass also commemorated a tradition of Catholic schools in the area dating back to 1867, when St. Luke School opened in Two Rivers. Other area schools over the years included Sacred Heart, St. Mark, Holy Redeemer, Two Rivers Catholic Central, St. Anne and Holy Cross.

At the beginning of the Mass, students and alumni from each of those schools (in many cases representing previous generations in the same family) formed a procession, marched with large photos of their respective schools and took part in readings.

Karolyn Efferson, who’s in her first year as principal at St. Peter the Fisherman, said the turnout was phenomenal.

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Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau and Fr. Tom Reynebeau are pictured at Mass Nov. 3 at St. Peter the Fisherman School. Bishop Morneau joined students, parents and parishioners to bless the school building. (Benjamin Wideman | For The Compass)

“To see everyone come together for this is very exciting. It’s wonderful to see people join together for a common purpose,” said Efferson, proudly noting that Bishop Morneau served at Holy Redeemer (from 1970 to 1978) when she was a student there.

Before Mass, attendees mingled in the gymnasium and hallways, where memorabilia from previous schools were displayed. Students and parents led school tours, and refreshments were served afterward in the library and cafeteria.

“People were so eager to bring in memorabilia to show. A woman even brought in her class photo from 1932,” Efferson said. “It just goes to show that Catholic education is still important to them after all these years.”

During his homily, Bishop Morneau emphasized the need for people to help one another.

“Education is about academics … (but) it’s more than that — it’s also about service,” the bishop said. “It’s about reaching out to others.”

To illustrate, Bishop Morneau held up a wooden statue from the Holy Land, saying, “On one side is St. Peter sitting in a chair, and Jesus bent over him washing his feet. It’s all about service.”

He went on to say, “We’re here not just to take care of ourselves — Super Bowl rings, Lexus cars, diplomas on the wall, money in the bank. We’re here to serve, to be for other people.”

Bishop Morneau also recited a poem from the late Emily Dickson: “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.”

To which he added: “Life has meaning when we reach out to others.”

Fr. Tom Reynebeau, pastor at St. Peter the Fisherman Parish, concelebrated the Mass and offered additional words of gratitude.

“Today, we ask God’s blessings on this center of seeking, learning and teaching what is true,” Fr. Reynebeau said. “We ask that those entrusted with the education of children or young people in this institution may teach their students how to join the discoveries of human wisdom with the truth of the Gospel so they will be able to keep the true faith and to live up to it in their lives.

“We also ask the Lord that the students will find in their teachers the image of Christ so that, enriched with both human and divine learning, they will be in turn be able and ready to enlighten and assist others.”

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