Archbishop Jackels blesses new ND classroom


CRESCO - Notre Dame Catholic School had two special visitors this past Thursday, Dec. 1. They were Archbishop Michael Jackels, of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, and leader for all the Catholic dioceses in the state of Iowa, and Mrs. Kim Hermsen, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
The occasion was the blessing and dedication of the new classroom that was constructed this past summer at Notre Dame School to accommodate more students.
The special guests joined all of the Notre Dame students (198 students in grades K – 6), staff members, several parents, parishioners and members of the community for a special School Mass with Archbishop Jackels as the Main Celebrant. Rev. Dennis Cain, Pastor of Notre Dame Parish and School, was also present and made several remarks about the project, including the rapid way that the money for the project was raised. He was very positive about the parish seeing the need, and stepping up and providing the funds in about three months time.
Following the School Mass, everyone was invited to walk over to the school gym,  where a short program was held for everyone. There were four students from the upper grades who served as greeters and guides for the special guests. Sixth graders Quinna Ollendieck and Zach Mehmert greeted and guided Archbishop Jackels on a full tour of the school. 
Fifth graders Ava Ferrie and Mason Vrba served as the greeters and guides for Superintendent Hermsen.
The program included a welcome by the Pastor, Rev. Dennis Cain, which was followed by a selection sung by the first graders to welcome the guests - “I Have a Hello in My Heart, and “It's Just For You.”  Mrs. Hermsen, who is superintendent of all 54 schools in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, addressed the group and used her two guides to help her illustrate a particular point.
The Archbishop, Mrs. Hermsen, Fr. Dennis Cain, Mrs. Schatz, Principal of the School, and all the first graders and their teachers moved to the new classroom, which is just across the foyer from the gym. A portable microphone had been set up in the new classroom with a speaker in the gym, so everyone could hear the blessing. Archbishop Jackels offered the blessing not only for the new classroom and its occupants, but also for all the staff and students and spaces of Notre Dame School. Several observers remarked at the specialness and touching quality that could be seen, heard, and felt at the conclusion of the blessing.
Both Archbishop Jackels and Mrs. Hermsen remarked about the attentiveness of the students, and how engaged they were in the whole process of the morning's events. Mrs. Hermsen was particularly impressed with the strong singing of the students.
Following a tour of the school, both special guests joined all of the students in the church hall and had lunch with them - spaghetti, not liver and onions as the Archbishop jokingly suggested. 
It had been several years since the Archbishop of Dubuque had visited the school, specifically, and it was the first time that Mrs. Hermsen was here, as she is relatively new to her position in the Archdiocese. 
Mrs. Schatz remarked, “We were so honored to have Archbishop Jackels and Mrs. Hermsen present in our school. It was indeed a special event for us all.”  
One boy talked with Mrs. Schatz after all the festivities were over and said, “Well, Mrs. Schatz, because the Archbishop and your boss (the superintendent) came to our school today – it was a really big deal... huh? Her reply was, “Yes, it was a really big deal.”
About Notre Dame Elementary
The original school was built in 1963, and a major addition of six classrooms, a music room, and a library/media center was built in 2009, with classes starting there in January 2010. In a matter of five years, Notre Dame School has seen a growth spurt that not only filled the existing rooms, but last year had to improvise an additional room. 
One of the first grade classrooms was housed in the library/media center, using room dividers to separate the classroom from the library. While it worked, it was less than ideal, and, with that, the Notre Dame School Board and Notre Dame Parish voted to build another classroom onto the south side of the school. The new room houses a first grade classroom, taught by Mrs. Pam Daley, and is right next door to the existing first grade classroom taught by Mrs. Angie Toale.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

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214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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