Bishop visits school on 100th anniversary

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor visits first graders in Janet Kanopsic's class at St. John School in Hot Springs Sept. 4. After celebrating Mass, the bishop toured the school and attended a special luncheon.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor visits first graders in Janet Kanopsic's class at St. John School in Hot Springs Sept. 4. After celebrating Mass, the bishop toured the school and attended a special luncheon.

HOT SPRINGS — St. John School in Hot Springs opened its doors Sept. 4, 1908, under the guidance and support of pastor Father John E. Weibel, a Benedictine priest. There were eight grades, two Olivetan Benedictine sisters and 16 students. On Thursday, Sept. 4, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor celebrated Mass with the entire student body of 126 students, marking the 100th anniversary of the first day of school. Many parents and some former students were also in attendance.
Assisting at Mass were Father Erik Pohlmeier, pastor at St. John; Father Alan Rosenau and Father T.J. Hart, associate pastors; Father Raymond Rossi, former pastor at St. John who is now retired; and Deacon Robert Wanless.
Bishop Taylor, in speaking to the students after the homily, stressed that in public school, students learn what is useful in life, such as reading, writing and math. In Catholic schools, students learn what is useful to obtain everlasting life. Bishop Taylor said that the most important thing he ever learned, he learned in first grade at a Catholic school. It is the answer to the Baltimore Catechism question, “Why did God make us?” The answer, “God made us to know him, to love him and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him in the next,” does not mean to “know about him” as learned in religion class, but to “know him” by spending time with him. Catholic schools give students the opportunity to do that, he said. (See Bishop Taylor’s column this week.)
At the end of Mass, Bishop Taylor was presented with a “goodie bag” containing a shirt, cup and commemorative plate celebrating the parish centennial. He told the congregation that they took the corporal works of mercy seriously because they were providing clothing, drink and food utensils for a visitor.
After Mass, the bishop greeted students and parishioners as they left the church and then joined Father Pohlmeier on a tour of the school. Bishop Taylor visited the children in their classrooms from pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade. He asked the children what they liked most about going to school at St. John. He received various answers including the enhanced playground, the school lunches, the art and computer classes, and the teachers. One answer really surprised the bishop. “It’s bizarre?” he asked, repeating what he thought he heard. Father Pohlmeier quickly explained the student was referring to the annual bazaar the school holds as a fundraiser.
After meeting with the students, Bishop Taylor met the members of the school board and the board of trustees as well as officers of the school Parent-Teacher Organization for lunch in the church hall.

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