Bishop blesses site for new Cardinal Newman campus

COLUMBIA—Members of the Cardinal Newman School community took part in a simple but moving ceremony April 19 to celebrate their latest step on the road to a new campus.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone prayed with about 150 people, including faculty, staff, clergy, donors and others involved in Catholic education in Columbia, at the 50-acre site off Alpine Road where a new school will eventually be built.

Cardinal Newman students sang, played music and read Scripture passages. The bishop blessed the building site with a bundle of pine fronds dipped in holy water, an appropriate choice because pines cover the heavily wooded site. Milliken Forestry will soon begin clearing the timber in preparation for other work to begin.

Chao Engineering and JHS Architecture, both based in Columbia, are handling the contracting and design for the project.

“We wanted to bless the property before the foresters stepped on the site to start cutting,” said Jacqualine Kasprowski, associate director of secondary education for the diocese and Cardinal Newman’s principal. “We’ve taken many, many steps along the way to get to this point, and we’re still fundraising, but it feels really good to be at this point in the project.”

Cardinal Newman has been raising money for the new campus through the “Our School, Our Children, Our Hope” campaign. Kasprowski said the entire project will cost an estimated $20 million.

Beside donations, Kasprowski said the campaign will also receive some revenues from sale of timber cleared from the site. The school is also marketing its current property on Forest Drive for eventual sale or lease.

A new campus would allow the school more space for future growth, as well as more facilities for sports and parking. Cardinal Newman has been on Forest Drive since 1961. Traffic along the four-lane road has increased dramatically in recent years, and the school has been hemmed in by both commercial and residential growth.

During the ceremony, Bishop Guglielmone said he noticed as he confirmed young people in the diocese this spring that many young women are choosing the confirmation name Elizabeth after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. That saint is especially important, he said, because she is considered the founder of the Catholic school system in the United States.

Cardinal Newman’s quest to build a new school is evidence, he said,  both of the growth of Catholic education in the diocese and its increased importance in today’s world.

“Even though the prime formation of the faith comes through the family, we live in such a complex world today that Catholic schools are more vital than ever,” he said. “…Clearing the land here is a start that will help this new school to become a reality, a place where the Holy Spirit can be central in the lives of the students and the community.”


(TOP) Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone reads a prayer from a book held by Noah Zimmermann (right) as he blesses the building site for the new Cardinal Newman School in Columbia on April 19.

(MIDDLE) Cardinal Newman student musicians (from left) CJ Eddy, Kenneth Vowles and Eileen Winslow perform at the April 19 blessing ceremony for the new school campus off Alpine Road in Columbia.

(BOTTOM) Daniel Adkins (left) and Sam Hall (center) assist Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone as he prepares to bless the building site.

See more photos here.