The Grade 3 choir at Sacred Heart School. (Frank Flegel photo)
REGINA — June 23 was an appropriate day for the blessing and official opening of Sacred Heart School, as it was the Feast of the Sacred Heart, a solemn celebration held on a Friday 19 days after Pentecost.
Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen, in his remarks before he blessed the school, talked about the meaning of the Sacred Heart as a symbol of God’s love: “It’s a beautiful thing to have that name for a school. It is the heart of this community and it’s in the heart of the city, so it’s going to be a beautiful example and symbol of the kind of world we want to build and live in.”
With that he moved around the gathering area where guests and students were seated, blessing them and the school with holy water. He also visited the classrooms and other areas, blessing them as he went.
The archbishop took the occasion to announce that, come September when classes resume, he intends to move to the area: “God willing, I will be nearby so we will be neighbours. I will come and visit and get to know you better.”
Sacred Heart School is in the city’s North Central neighbourhood, which has a reputation for high levels of poverty and crime.
Bolen thanked everyone who was involved in the design and construction of Sacred Heart. The new school is a rebuild, replacing the old school on the same site. A gymnasium is under construction and will be ready for use early in 2019. Principal Dave Magnusson described the school as a state-of-the art facility.
The school received blessings in two languages: Bolen’s blessing was followed by elders May Desnomie, who offered a prayer in Cree, and Noel Starblanket, who lit a smudge bowl which was carried from the gathering area to the school’s main offices.
The importance of the school to the neighbourhood was emphasized by the number of dignitaries in attendance, including Regina Mayor Michael Fougere, Deputy Premier and Education Minister Don Morgan, Deputy Education Minister Rob Currie, RCMP Commander of Depot Division Brenda Lucki, local MLA Warren McCall, and chair of the Regina Catholic School Board Donna Ziegler.
Members of RCMP cadet troupe 31, who regularly participate in the school’s reading program, were also in attendance. RCMP officers attended in their red serge uniforms.
The service opened with with video of the “passing of the torch” from the old to the new, which took place in April. The same torch was processed into the new school at the end of the video and placed at the entrance to the gathering area. A wood carving of the Risen Christ on a cross — one of four donated by carver Maurille Hammond of Shaunavon — was also processed into the gathering area and placed on the altar. Each carving was formed from a single piece of wood.
The program was opened by the Grade 3 choir led by teacher Lindsay Shaw, and they closed the celebration by singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”