Principals look to St. Paul as schools reopen

KICKAPOO — With the start of a new academic year in the Diocese of Peoria, Catholic school principals have been asked to look to St. Paul for inspiration.

“In the spirit of this great apostle, the men and women who serve as principals in our Catholic schools spread the Good News by their faith and example,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, as he commissioned the 42 grade school principals and seven high school principals during an Opening Principals Mass last Thursday at St. Mary’s Church in Kickapoo.

The universal church is observing a jubilee year in observance of the 2,000th anniversary of St. Paul’s birth.

“The defining purpose of St. Paul’s life can best be summarized by the word ‘evangelization,'” the bishop said. “Evangelization is also the central work of Catholic schools.”

Concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Jenky were 20 pastors who oversee parish schools. The theme of the liturgy was “Renewing Our Mission — Planning for Our Future.”

To commemorate the Pauline Year and to help remind the principals of their call to be living witnesses of the Gospel, Bishop Jenky presented them with framed pictures of St. Paul.

The Mass was followed by a luncheon and business meeting at Kickapoo Creek Winery, where Barbara Shrode, principal of St. Paul’s School, Macomb, and Msgr. William Watson, president of Peoria Notre Dame High School and pastor of St. Thomas School, Peoria Heights, were recognized as, respectively, the 2008 Distinguished Principal of the Diocese of Peoria and Distinguished Pastor of the Diocese of Peoria.

Bishop Jenky also presented gifts to three school principals in recognition of their years of service: Kay O’Brien, principal of Holy Trinity School, Bloomington (10 years); Ron Dwyer, principal of St. Mary’s School, Kickapoo (15 years); and Richard Morehouse, principal of Epiphany School, Normal (20 years).

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