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Father Muench Says...

Saluting heroic efforts in Ticonderoga

Sept. 2, 2015

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I want to take a moment today to recognize the heroic efforts by all the folks at St. Mary’s School, Ticonderoga – the families, Sister Sharon Dalton, the principal of St. Mary’s and her faculty and Father Kevin McEwan, the pastor. 

This September, the students at St. Mary’s School will be returning to their school building.  As you probably know, St. Mary’s School was badly destroyed by a fire a year ago on the second day of the last year’s school year.  The school could not be used for the whole school year.

I want to congratulate and recognize the huge effort of Sister Sharon and her faculty for carrying on the complete school year in temporary circumstances, using the basement of the Church and the rooms generously offered by the Ticonderoga Methodist Church.  So, school continued without interruption.

I know this was not an easy year for Sister Sharon and her teachers. For that reason, I call their efforts heroic.  The classes were separated in two different places - causing many unique difficulties – especially for school lunches.  I am certain that they can be very proud of all that they did and accomplished.

Father Kevin has had a busy year, also, organizing the efforts to refurbish the school building.  I was totally impressed with the generosity of so many including many other parishes which sent donations.  In addition, there was an incredible number of volunteers who helped with so many large and small chores.

The families of St. Mary’s School united together for all the many details of keeping the school alive during this incredible year.  Now they can celebrate – as the students return to their own school building – now as good as new.

Catholic schools are about families.  The strength of our Catholic Schools has always depended entirely on their involvement and participation. These parents trust our Catholic Schools for an excellent education and formation in the Catholic faith that gives hope for their future.

I had the happy experience of teaching in Catholic schools of the Diocese of Ogdensburg and was also a pastor for a parish with a Catholic School.  I am always pleased to meet former students, often at alumni gatherings.
I am constantly impressed at how well they have done and they were truly touched by the formation they received.  They speak often of the solid formation they received as students in a Catholic School.

The Diocese of Ogdensburg has fewer Catholic schools now.  I guess I understand why and yet it is rather disappointing. 

The Catholic Schools of our diocese have truly been very influential, they have touched and influenced so many throughout the years. 

The history of our Catholic schools has been a story of dedicated families – families united to keep our schools strong as they offer a strong formation to their children, to their whole family.

So, I am so impressed to see the determination and dedication of the families of St. Mary’s School in Ticonderoga. They would not accept any other choice than to rebuild their school.  There was no time wasted for sadness and depression.  They know how important their school was to their own families and so they supported Sister Sharon and her faculty though that difficult year.  The challenge was accepted and the building is now ready.

So, I salute the example give us all by everyone at St. Mary’s School.  I pray that all goes well in this new school year. 

The dedication of these families to their Catholic School is truly a testament to their faith in the Lord and readiness to meet the challenges of the future.

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