John Paul II Catholic School effort receives $3 million gift

BLUFFTON—John Paul II Catholic School is a big step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to a generous donation.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone announced March 15 that the school has received a $3 million gift from the Richard D. Ennen Charitable Remainder Trust. The money will significantly enhance the efforts to build a Catholic middle to high school in the area which now may open within the next two to three years.

“This is exciting news for Lowcountry parishes and the diocese,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “This tremendous contribution will give high school and middle school students in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina the opportunity to receive a quality, Catholic education.”

The Ennen trust bestowed the money specifically for the construction of the high school but it has to be used within five years or be returned. The donation will be added to the $2 million dollars already pledged and will provide the necessary funding to begin the first phase of the construction project.

“We are committed to building Pope John Paul II Catholic School; however we cannot undertake this tremendous effort alone,” Bishop Guglielmone said in a press release. “In the coming year, the Catholic faithful of the Lowcountry will be asked to financially commit to the school to bring the dream of a Catholic middle and high school to fruition within the five-year timeframe.”

The late Richard D. Ennen, after whom the trust is named, was the founder of NN Ball & Roller Company, a multi-million dollar corporation that produces the steel balls used in ball bearings. He was known for his charitable work, in particular helping build a high school in Tanzania. Ennen was a member of St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton. He died Jan. 18.

The school will be built in a location central to the Lowcountry Deanery on S.C. Highway 170 near Okatie. A construction timeline will be announced at the completion of the current capital campaign.