April 28, 2006

Archbishop Buechlein visits
St. Mary-of-the-Knobs School

By Kelly Green
For The Criterion

The children in the first grade figured everyone needs a touch of sand and surf in April, so they invited Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein to their beach party celebration.

An air of excitement also filled the kindergarten classroom where the archbishop learned that two of the children long to be pope someday.

That joyous, festive mood pervaded on April 5 as the archbishop visited St. Mary-of-the-Knobs School in Floyd Knobs to celebrate “five years of success and continued growth in the community,” said principal Mary Ann Bennett.

During his visit, the archbishop toured each classroom at the southern Indiana school. He asked the students questions about their lives and encouraged them to ask him questions.

“The students see Archbishop Daniel as a spiritual leader and are anxious to meet him,” said Father John Geis, the parish’s pastor. “Even though he is miles away from them, he is still loved and special to the school, and they understand the significance of seeing him today.”

The day marked five years since St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Parish re-established its school in 2001. With a current enrollment of 170 students, the school ministers to children from preschool to fourth grade. The school plans to add a fifth-grade class for the 2006-07 academic year.

“The vision of the school began slow and involved the people from the parish,” Father Geis said. “Through study and commitment, the school re-emerged into what continues to grow today. The success of the school comes from the entire parish family focusing not only on the school, but all the other ministries that make the Catholic identity of this community so strong.”

The archbishop’s visit concluded when he gave a blessing to the students and teachers in the gymnasium.

Worship and music director Marilyn Merkel led the children in singing several songs, ending with “This Little Light of Mine.”

“Strong parent and school connections are an extension of the family and visible in the love of Christ at our school,” Bennett said. †

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