Catholic schools alumni greet old friends at reunion

CHARLESTON – Sacred Heart Church hosted the fourth annual Peninsula Parish School Reunion Mass and reception Nov. 1.

The Mass was held to honor alumni of Charleston Catholic, Immaculate Conception, St. Joseph, Sacred Heart, St. Mary, and St. Patrick Elementary schools. Students from Charleston Catholic School acted as cantors and provided the evening’s music. Father Gregory B. Wilson, parochial vicar for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, served as the master of ceremonies.

Yvonne Orr, principal of Charleston Catholic, said that the event provided “an opportunity to thank (the alumni) for their continuous support of the school’s mission of building the students, mind, body, heart, and soul.”

“We want to give the children the opportunity to meet and greet the graduates and gain strength for those who laid the foundation,” she said.

And who better to offer a look back for the students and alumni than the school’s founder, retired Bishop David B. Thompson.

“I combined the Cathedral and Sacred Heart Schools to achieve the most excellent school that I could,” he said. “I called it the Charleston Catholic School to set it apart.”

Bishop Thompson said that he wanted to create a school that was authentically Catholic, academically excellent, financially feasible, and community acceptable. Orr is conscientious in maintaining those criteria, he said.

In his homily the bishop spoke of the gratification he received in celebrating the homecoming of the alumni.

He asked the congregation, in observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, to remember those who had gone before them.

Orr echoed the bishop’s sentiment, reminding the students that we cannot look forward if we don’t take the time to look back.

Though the reunion is in its fourth year, it was many local alumni’s first time in attendance.

For the Richards family, the evening was instrumental in reuniting them with classmates they hadn’t seen in nearly 50 years. The four siblings, Irene, Bernadette, Mary, and Eddie, attended St. Joseph and Bishop England.

“This has been wonderful,” said Irene, a James Island resident. “I see many of these people on Sunday, but others I haven’t seen in a long, long time. I am so thankful that the school has put this evening together.”