DANVILLE – A new Kindergarten classroom opened its doors last fall for students at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Danville, and it can now open its doors to its future students with a blessing. Diocese of Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer blessed the new classroom during a visit Thursday. Before the blessing, the Bishop celebrated mass with students, teachers, parents, and others, followed by the classroom blessing.
Bishop Gainer says he’s excited about the school’s future, “The fact that we’re blessing this Kindergarten shows the expansion of the school, which I hope bodes well for the future. It will be a great class that will feed, I hope, into first grade, and will enrich the enrollment here at St. Joseph’s.”
After the blessing, the bishop made an appearance on the school’s TV station, “TigerTV.” He then was escorted to each classroom to talk with students, and had lunch with students. Bishop Gainer says coming to schools around the Diocese is his favorite part of the job, “The enthusiasm of the kids, the joy that is there, gives me a lot of hope. They are just so alive, and also their innocence, regarding the faith, and their intentions as wanting to love as Christ’s love. I think they just absorb everything they receive here, especially in the lower grades.”
But there is a challenge for the bishop, current clergy, and school faculty and staff to keep students enveloped in the faith with the recent clergy sex abuse scandal. Fortunately, Bishop Gainer says he recently asked youth ministers about the scandal’s impact, and he got a surprising answer, “I directly asked them, ‘Is there much discussion about the sexual abuse crisis and the scandal, and it doesn’t come up. So I was surprised by that. This is of the failure of the institutional church. So, through Catholic education, I hope we can keep the focus on Christ and the mission Christ has entrusted to us, and not ignore the failures of the clergy, but understand that this isn’t the essence of the church.”
The new kindergarten classroom opened this past fall, expanding St. Joseph’s School to a K-8 school.