By DEIRDRE C. MAYS
Though the books had already been opened, the historic beginnings of the new Bishop England High School facility on Daniel Island were marked with an opening Mass, a blessing ceremony, parent and donor celebrations and the dedication of the football field.
Parents and donors received tours of the school earlier in the week and David Held, principal, honored Bishop David B. Thompson, former principal Nick Theos and Joe Griffith for their support of the school. Held also introduced Lois Conlon, a 1925 graduate, as the oldest living graduate of the Bishop England.
The dedication Mass was held Sept. 11 and was celebrated by Bishop Thompson with Bishop England’s former rector Msgr. Robert Kelly, and rector, Msgr. Lawrence McInerny concelebrating. During his homily, the Bishop explained to the students that they were part of the temple of God, not just the building.
“We are the living stones, each one of us has a part,” he said and told them to to carry on the wonderful tradition of Bishop England High School. He went on to say that, as the school is located on Daniel Island, they are reminded of Daniel in the lion’s den and how the Lord proved he was present to him even through all the difficulties of life.
“I urge you students to rely on God as Daniel did,” he said.
Then the prelate urged the principal to give the students a day off at a time Held deemed appropriate. This action was met with much applause.
Another cause for celebration was the blessing held later that day by the Bishop, Msgr. McInerny and Msgr. Kelly.
“… This is a milestone reached, a dream accomplished,” Kelly said. He described the school as one established with strength, spirituality and the dedication of its very first rectors. He thanked the parents and attributed the completion of the project to Bishop Thompson and expressed gratitude to the dedicated service of Nick Theos and the unfailing support of the Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy.
In true Bishop England pride and anticipation of the football game that followed, Msgr. Kelly closed his remarks by shouting, “Go Bishops!”
The first home game was also another milestone with the dedication of the field. Longtime coach, Jack Cantey was called out at halftime to stand with former coaches from the high school and be honored for his contribution to the youth he so steadfastly served. The field was baptized with applause at the announcement of the dedication to Cantey.