St. John Paul II Center

St. Joseph’s Catholic School kicked off Catholic Schools Week on Monday, January 26th with the blessing of the newly renovated St. John Paul II Center dedicated in memory of one of the school’s founders, Margaret Ann Moon. The Most Reverend Robert Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, was on hand to celebrate the opening Mass and to bless and dedicate the center. In addition to the entire SJCS community and several of the Upstate clergy, over 100 supporters and benefactors were present to witness the transformation of the former chapel into a beautiful space dedicated to worship and other school events. The second phase of the school’s Red Door Capital Campaign raised over $1.6 million in gifts and pledges to help fund the construction and beautification of this facility.

St. Joseph’s is delighted by the outpouring of support for this entire project. From the moment the textile factory became the home for our school, there was no doubt that the empty space in the middle of the campus would become the heart of the school. That heart was always there, but it is now pulsing brightly each week as we have our All-School Mass, Lenten Penance Services, Stations of the Cross, play productions, and assemblies in the space lovingly being called the “JP II.” It has brought immense happiness to the life of the students, the faculty/staff, and all those who enter such a special space.

To those who forged the way for this center to be what it is today–we cannot thank you enough for your dedication, inspiration, love and prayers. Thank you for fulfilling a vision 20 plus years in the making and seeking happiness through God’s will.

Looking back on the journey that the school’s founders and supporters have taken to take care of one another, future generations, and the mission of the school, let us take a retrospective glance at Headmaster Keith Kiser’s thoughts from August on this current school year’s theme. It seems all too appropriate given the care the school and its community has received, not only during the past year, but since its inception. We hope it resonates with you as deeply as it has with us:

Solidarity refers to unity of affection and action that can and should exist between people, especially among those who share a common experience and mission. To the question: Am I my brother’s keeper? The Christian answers with a resounding yes! A school is by definition a communal endeavor. We are taking this journey together, and we should be as concerned with the other’s success and happiness as much as our own.

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of solidarity by contrasting it with the “culture of selfishness and individualism that often prevails in our society.” Instead, he reminds us that “it is the culture of solidarity that (leads to a more habitable world), seeing others not as rivals or statistics, but as brothers and sisters.”

Solidarity has its origins in the Triune nature of God himself. God exists, and has from all eternity, as a communion of divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We human beings, made in His image and likeness, have a communal, relational nature as well and as such, need one another to reach our happiness and fulfillment.

To keep solidarity front and center in our school community this year, I have chosen the famous Rublev icon of the Holy Trinity for the “Image of the Year” along with the following theme verse from St. John’s Gospel: “I pray that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” (John 17:20-21).

To read even more on the development of the St. John Paul II Center in Memory of Margaret Ann Moon, please visit our Red Door Campaign website here.