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New Catholic high school dedicated in archdiocese

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June 15, 2011

CATHEDRAL DEANERY — Nearly 400 supporters, community leaders, faculty, staff, students and family members took part in the dedication of DePaul Cristo Rey High (DPCR) School June 5. The dedication, blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s first Catholic High School in more than 50 years.


A mural is unveiled during the June 5 dedication ceremony at DePaul Cristo Rey High School by Franciscan Sister Jeanne Bessette, left, president of the school, and Sister of Charity Barbara Hagedorn, president of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.  (CT/Colleen Kelley)

DePaul Cristo Rey is the 25th school in the nationwide Cristo Rey Network, which serves nearly 6,000 young people with economic need, providing them with the opportunity to obtain a Catholic, college preparatory education made affordable through its Corporate Work Study Program. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, the school is located in the former Concordia Lutheran Church complex near Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Classes will begin Aug. 17, with an estimated freshman class of at least 80 students.


The dedication ceremony began with a welcome from Sister of Charity Barbara Hagedorn, president of her community, who called the occasion “a fulfillment of a dream, an unfolding of God’s plan for us.”


Sister Barbara noted the Sisters’ longtime commitment to educational ministry, which is rooted in the belief of their foundress, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, that all children deserve an education with the Catholic faith at its core. She also emphasized the rule of St. Vincent de Paul, for whom the school is named, who instructed his followers to see the face of God in everyone they served.


Committed to continuing the saints’ legacy in a new way, the Sisters voted in 2007 to explore an alternate form of Catholic education to serve those with limited opportunities. A feasibility study and advisory committee, who examined the possibilities and laid the groundwork, led to the establishment of DPCR, which was endorsed by retired Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk and has also been supported by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr.


“We are here today because of the hard work, the commitment and the talents of so many,” Sister Barbara said “We are here today because we trusted in God’s guidance in this endeavor and believed this was God’s holy work being accomplished through us.”


Franciscan Sister Jeanne Bessette, president of the new high school, then gave the invocation, followed by the unveiling of a mural by Cincinnati artist Holly Schapker that will hang in DePaul Cristo Rey’s lobby. The mural features visual elements showing the school’s relationship to Cincinnati, the Sisters of Charity, St. Vincent de Paul and the Cristo Rey Network.


Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer blesses DePaul Cristo Rey School during a ceremony June 5. (CT/Colleen Kelley)

Other participants in the dedication ceremony included Jim Rigg, archdiocesan superintendent of Catholic schools; Robert Mooney, senior consultant for the Cristo Rey Network; and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer.


“This afternoon, we have the opportunity to celebrate the joy of the risen Christ as we celebrate the beginnings of DePaul Cristo Rey School,” Bishop Binzer said.


He said the cross depicted at the bottom of the mural will serve as the school’s foundation and a reminder to all that “what we do here today, we do for the Lord and we do in thanksgiving for all He has done for us.”


Following the dedication, guests moved outside where Bishop Binzer blessed the school building and sprinkled holy water. Several of those instrumental in the launch of DPCR then helped cut a ribbon to officially open the school.


It was a meaningful moment for Stephanie Russell, a member of the class of 2015. “I’m excited about starting school — the chance to meet new people and get a taste of the real world by working one day a week. I think this will better prepare me for the future than a traditional school setting,” she said.


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