Thanksgiving Mass for the 120th anniversary of St. Louis School

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The Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the Southern Province of Brazil, gathered in Brusque on Friday morning, July 7, for the celebrations of St. Louis School’s 120th anniversary. The Thanksgiving Mass, celebrated at 8 a.m. in the parish church, had the presence of priests who work at the School and College, in Father Dehon’s House, Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Parishes of the region, and other members of the Dehonian spirituality, who are part of the history of the institution, which began on July 9, 1903.

Along with the religious there were teachers, staff, students and their families who, after the Mass, participated in a beautiful procession to the School, carrying the image of the patron, St. Louis Gonzaga, and a time capsule, which eternalizes the stories of this jubilee year. The capsule will be opened in 2053, when the institution celebrates 150 years of foundation.

Joy and responsibility

The principal of the St. Louis School, Father Silvano João da Costa, notes the feeling of leading the institution in such a special occasion. “Joy and gratitude for all the people who, over 120 years, have helped build this legacy. We remember our students and their parents, who trust the School. We also remember all the professionals who have worked here and those who are still active. It is a great responsibility to continue on this path, aware of the changes of our time and always seeking to bring quality education, which can touch the hearts and minds of our children and teenagers”, Father Silvano emphasizes.

Bishop Emeritus Murilo Sebastião Ramos Krieger presided over the Thanksgiving Mass. For him, many factors make the celebration even more significant. “Besides being from Brusque, I am a Dehonian religious and most of the history of the School is linked to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I was also a student at this school before going to the Seminary, so it makes me feel at home,” says the Bishop Emeritus.

Devoted history

A defining characteristic of St. Louis School’s 120 years of existence can be easily identified in the legacy of the generations. Grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren meet in this timeline. The Superior of the Southern Province in Brazil of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SCJ), Father Sildo César da Costa, listed several aspects that make the institution an important cornerstone in the history of the Congregation founded by Father Dehon. “St. Louis School is the school of knowledge, which brings together four generations. Its graduates are important people in many places, who still sow what they learned here”, says Father Sildo.

Father João Carlos de Almeida, from Brusque, also participated in the celebrations. He, who is president of the Associação Dehoniana Brasil Meridional (ADBM) [Dehonian Association of Southern Brazil], which maintains the educational and welfare activities of the SCJ Congregation, praises the institution’s legacy. “St. Louis School continues to be inspired by Father Dehon’s mission to promote integral education and to form people of integrity. It is a mission that was also shared by St. Louis Gonzaga, whose vision goes beyond earthly things. I wish that the institution continues to form wholehearted people”, Father João congratulates.

Presence of former principals

Currently in the position of vice principal, Father Aléssio da Rosa emphasizes the joy of having led St. Louis School between 2010 and 2014. “It is a day to express our gratitude to the pioneers who began this journey in 1903, and also to look towards the future, in order to continue the celebration of this legacy”, says Fr. Aléssio.

Father Lindolfo Neves Braga, principal of St. Louis School from 2004 to 2009, was grateful for the opportunity of having contributed to the educational history and life of the community. “It was a time of many blessings. How good it was that God gave me six years of my life here”, remembered Fr. Lindolfo.

Another former principal, Father Carlos Alberto Rodrigues (Fr. Beto), fondly recalls the two administrations in which he was in charge of the school. “I had the pleasure of participating in the centenary of the St. Louis School and it is a joy to meet again students, teachers and so many friends,” says Fr. Beto, now parish priest in Botuverá.

Father Cláudio Marcio Piontkewicz, principal of the institution from 2015 to 2020, emphasized the joy and gratitude for the service. “Joy in sharing this moment, as well as gratitude for the experience in education, with this integrated perspective of the human being”, Fr. Cláudio declared.

Other participants involved

The parish priest, Father Diomar Romaniv, sees a connection between the 120th anniversary of St. Louis School and the parish’s 150th anniversary. For him, many of the great achievements last over time. “One of them is the School, which has always been a concern of all the priests. To look at everything that was sown with so much commitment, dedication and courage of the pioneers, is to confirm that today it continues to bear fruit and make history”, Fr. Diomar reveres.

The director of the Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Father Zaqueu Suczeck, reinforces the same thought. “This is an important moment for the history of the Dehonian congregation in Brusque. The School and the Convent have always maintained a very close relation and I can only rejoice for this day of celebration”.

The general director of ESIC Business & Marketing School, Alexandre Weiler, emphasizes the gratitude of living this moment. “We are all product of the same founder and our mission is to work together. Therefore, we congratulate everyone who has contributed and is contributing to the school. Maintaining an educational institution is an act of courage, which needs to be managed by many hands”, points out Weiler.

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