Bishop Michael Jarrell was the mass’s main celebrant and was joined by area school administrators Fathers Matthew Higginbotham, chancellor of Notre Dame and pastor Redemptorist Catholic School; Mike Polson, chancellor of St. Michael School; and area pastors Fathers Clint Trahan, Jeff Starkovich, David Broussard and William Blanda. Another special guest was Notre Dame’s former chancellor Fr. Gary Schexnayder.
Together they helped Notre Dame kick off their new school year and welcome new students and a new addition to the campus.
Bishop Jarrell began the mass by asking for blessings for the school year, for the students, faculty and staff of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame’s new chancellor, Fr. Higginbotham, thanked all for attending and supporting the school and the library project; sentiments that Bishop Jarrell reiterated later in the mass.
The mass also saw Fr. Schexnayder have the opportunity to address the students one more time and wish them good luck. He urged the m to be the best students they could be. He also told all in attendance that it is also important to follow Mary’s example in life, keeping in mind the reason for the day’s mass.
“She is not just a plastic figure, she’s a real person,” said Fr. Schexnayder.
He also took the opportunity to reflect on the importance of school and how much he has missed not helping the students and faculty prepare for a new school year.
He then brought up the other focal point of the day, the dedication of the new library/media center.
“This library has been a need at Notre Dame for decades,” he said. “I commend all of those who have not only contributed to the library, but those who continue to foster Catholic education.”
Fr. Schexnayder added that he hopes the library will serve as a source of learning and inspiration for the school and the students now and moving forward.
Following the mass, the library’s dedication took place with Bishop Jarrell blessing it.
“His (God’s) word runs swiftly and it’s clear truth is received when it is heard preaching or read in books or when it reaches us in the other media of communication,” said Bishop Jarrell. “It is God who inspires in the human spirit the desire to record and preserve through books and other means the discoveries of the human mind that open the way to truth.
“The books of the Bible contain the truth in a unique way because they are inspired by the Holy Spirit, but other books as well contribute to human thought and discourse.”
As Principal Cindy Istre stated prior to the library’s dedication, a lot of people deserved credit for this day, too many to name.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to those in the Diocese of Lafayette who lent guidance and support and friendship; to those in our Notre Dame family who served on the advisory council that formulated the vision, and to those who have served since who have helped in the implementation; to those who have solicited donations for this project; to those who gave gifts that allowed the project to move forward; to those who contributed monetary gifts; to those who donated furniture, furnishings, goods and services; to those who have utilized their talents and technology and art; to those who have prayed for our success; to those who have given encouraging words, helped in moving or in anyway made this day a reality, we are so very grateful,” she said.