June 23 was an appropriate day for the blessing and official opening of Sacred Heart School as it was the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, a most solemn day held 19 days after Pentecost on a Friday. Archbishop Donald Bolen, in his brief remarks before he blessed the school, talked about the meaning of the Sacred Heart as a symbol of God’s love for us. “It’s a beautiful thing to have that name for a school. It is the heart of this community and it’s in the heart of the city so it’s going to be a beautiful example and symbol of the kind of world we want to build and we want to live in.” With that he moved around the gathering area where guests and students were seated, blessing them and the school with holy water. He also visited the various classrooms and other areas of the school, blessing them as he moved throughout the school.
The Archbishop took the occasion to announce that come September when classes resume in the new school year, he intends to move to the area, “God willing, I will be nearby so we will be neighbors. I will come and visit and get to know you better.” Sacred Heart school is in the city’s North Central neighborhood which has a reputation for a high poverty level and is a high crime area.
Bolen thanked everyone who was involved in the design and construction of Sacred Heart. The new school is a “rebuild” replacing the old school on the same site. A new gymnasium is under construction and will be ready for use early in 2019. Sacred Heart School Principal Dave Magnusson described his school as a state-of-the art facility.
The school actually received blessings in two languages and cultures; Archbishop Bolen’s blessing was followed by Elder May Desnomie who offered a prayer in Cree and Elder Noel Starblanket who, with an assistant, lit a small smudge bowl which was carried from the gathering area to the school’s main offices. The importance of the school to the neighborhood was emphasized in the number of dignitaries who were in attendance. Regina Mayor Michael Fougere, Deputy Premier and Education Minister Don Morgan, Deputy Education Minister Rob Currie, RCMP Commander of Depot Division Brenda Lucki, local MLA Warren McCall, and Chair of the Regina Catholic School Board Donna Ziegler who brought greetings on behalf of the Board. Members of RCMP cadet Troup 31 were in attendance; members regularly participate in the school’s reading program. Several RCMP officers, as well as Commander Brenda Lucki, were in attendance in their red serge uniforms.
The special service opened with a video of the “passing of the torch”, from the old to the new which took place in April when students migrated from the old site to the new school. The same torch was processed into the new school at the end of the video and placed in a special container at the entrance to the gathering area. A special wood carving of the Risen Christ on a cross - one of four donated by wood carver Maurille Hammond of Shaunavon - was also processed into the gathering area and placed on the altar. It was noted on the program that each carving was formed from a single piece of wood.
The program was opened by the Grade Three Choir led by teacher Lindsay Shaw and they closed the celebration by singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.