A commitment to strengthen Catholic primary and secondary education prompted celebrations of joy and hope at the University of Notre Dame on Sept. 16-17 with the dedication of a new home for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).
A series of events, including a blessing by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., spotlighted the newly built Carole Sandner Hall as well as refurbished office and gathering spaces where ACE and the Institute for Educational Initiatives will advance Notre Dame’s service to K-12 education. See the Chicago Tribune's coverage.
The events evoked words of gratitude and encouragement from many visitors and participants, such as the Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and the Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Exhibits during an “open house” on Friday, Sept. 16, introduced many faculty, staff, and students to ACE’s 18 years of alliance with Catholic schools.
“The University of Notre Dame’s ACE program has helped to sustain the great hope of Catholic education in this country,” Father Jenkins said, prefacing his blessing with “a tremendous amount of gratitude.” He singled out three benefactor families—Carole and Jack Sandner, Mary Ann and Jack Remick, and Bobbie and Terry McGlinn—who made possible the construction of Carole Sandner Hall and refurbishment of the Building, together just steps away from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes, and the Main Building.
Blessing ACE’s new home with hundreds gathered around him, Father Jenkins said, “May those who teach and serve here always strive for wise stewardship of the ongoing mission to sustain, strengthen, and transform primary and secondary Catholic education in this country. Bless them and the entire ACE community, standing on the shoulders of generations of dedicated priests, religious men and women, extraordinary disciples of Christ the Teacher.”
ACE’s new home features Remick Commons, a large and welcoming space that once was the chapel for the convent of Holy Cross sisters, many of whom were Catholic school teachers. Bishop Rhoades complimented the new structure—as well as ACE’s important work in preparing tomorrow’s Catholic school teachers—during his remarks as celebrant at the Dedication Mass Friday evening in the Basilica.
He said he has met many enthusiastic young people serving Catholic schools as ACE teachers. “I see their zeal for the mission. Where does all this come from?” he asked. “It comes from our faith. That’s why we have to have these schools.” The Bishop, calling ACE “just one example of how the University of Notre Dame serves the Church,” said ACE is helping Catholic education locally and nationally in a number of ways, including its campaign to double Latino enrollment in U.S. Catholic schools and its priority attention to low-income children and under-resourced schools.
Archbishop Dolan, touring the newly dedicated space on Saturday, said ACE helps to affirm a bright future for Catholic schools. “I don’t know of any place that gives more hope and promise than here, and this beautiful building is an icon of that,” he said in brief remarks accompanying a blessing. “Keep up the good work,” he added.
The Archdiocese of New York is a partner with ACE in its Catholic School Advantage campaign to give more Latinos the benefits of a Catholic education. The Archbishop personally addressed Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., co-founder of ACE and director of the Institute, ACE’s crucial infusion of hope among Catholic school supporters. Father Scully, along with more than 70 faculty and staff colleagues in ACE, hosted a Saturday afternoon tailgate party along with the other dedication-related events.
Separately, Father Scully thanked the McGlinns, Remicks, and Sandners for benefactions to ACE’s new home, saying “the home you’ve provided will be a vessel of hope and new life for countless thousands of children across our country and across our world for as long as there is a Notre Dame.”