After Hurricane Irene delayed the original Mass date, Pope John Paul II High School held its opening Mass of the school year for students, faculty and staff at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Greenville on September 28, 2011. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass with Monsignor David Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese; Father Justin Kerber, CP, Pastor of St. Peter Church in Greenville; and Father William Quigley, CICM, Campus Minister of East Carolina Newman Catholic Student Center.
The Bishop encouraged the students to approach this school year as a spiritual pilgrimage, “opening your hearts to whatever graces the Lord wishes to bestow upon you; to the experiences He will give you, so that you may grow and be open to the possibility of truly becoming a new person, one truly transformed.”
After ten years of planning, Pope John Paul II High School, the second Catholic high school in the Diocese, opened last year with a freshman class of 23 students. This year they welcomed 18 more students to the second freshman class.
“Last year was a learning year; we were purchasing equipment and supplies and setting up classrooms,” said Glenn Joyner, Director of the high school. “This year we have strong parent support and incredible teachers; we have developed momentum and things are happening here.”
According to Mr. Joyner, the students are expected to move in to new classrooms this winter. Savannah Stallings, a sophomore, is excited about the year. “The challenge this year is bringing the new group of freshman in and incorporating them to be a part of our bigger family.”
Following Mass, students and parents shared refreshments before going back to class. Bishop Burbidge visited with the freshman and sophomore classes individually.
“The Lord has His hand in this school,” said Richard Saunders, theology teacher. “He’s going to make it a reality, and we just have to be patient, trust and pray.”
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Above: Students and staff of Pope John Paul II High School in Greenville at Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.
Below: Student musicians taking part at Mass marking the start of the second year of the new high school in Greenville.