Cardinal George was there--and quite engaged. Talking to the kids with their yellow hardhats. Other priests were, too--after they figured out how to buy a parking permit out of the black box on the 1500 block of South Michigan Avenue in front of Old St. Mary's. Today was groundbreaking day for the church's new grammar school-expected to open next year next door to the church and across the parking lot. The rendering in white was simple and just perfect for a school.
The school was the dream of a former Paulist priest at the church, Father DeSiano
, who was once one of my neighbors on State Street. (The Paulists, who have had a contract
to serve OSM for more than 100 years own a house on my block near Roosevelt.) In fact, "Frank" and I had quite an email exchange after I read The Da Vinci Code
several years ago--and wanted to know what he thought. He never held back. Nor did he hold back on his desire for a rambunctious grammar school at OSM. His name was mentioned during the formalities more than once and I know he would be proud.
Aside from the cardinal, the alderman attended. As did those in charge of the capital campaign. And parents. And teachers and administrative staff. The remarks, which stressed that the building would be environmentally sound and very green, were short and to the point from everyone--including a reading from the Gospel of Mark
delivered by a student, Maggie Walsh. Afterwards, everyone filed into the church for some Dunkin Donut holes. Just about the time that the holy water was sprinkled and the shovels came out, a train whistled in the background from the 16th Street St. Charles Air Line--and it was just the right touch.
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