Reitz Memorial celebrates anniversary of dedication to St. Joseph 

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel leads a Litany of St. Joseph at the end of Mass at Reitz Memorial High School. Reitz Memorial held a Mass to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the school’s dedication to St. Joseph. The Message photo by John Rohlf

For a video from the Mass, click here

By John Rohlf

The Message Assistant Editor

Reitz Memorial High School held Mass with grandparents, special guests and family friends to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the school’s dedication to St. Joseph.

Last week, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated Mass with students, faculty, staff and guests for the 70th anniversary of the school’s dedication to St. Joseph.  Father Bernard Etienne and Father Zachary Etienne concelebrated Mass with Bishop Siegel. Father Chris Forler served as the master of ceremony. Special guests at the Mass also included Brother Ken Haders, Brother Robert Lavelle, Dr. Mary Anne Beiting, Mrs. Katie Lewis and JP and Allison Engelbrecht. The Engelbrecht’s generous gift to the school is allowing Reitz Memorial to renovate their current chapel.

Reitz Memorial High School President Christian Mocek speaks prior to the start of Mass for the 70th anniversary of the dedication to St. Joseph. The Message photo by John Rohlf

Reitz Memorial High School President Christian Mocek said last week’s anniversary Mass was “a really special celebration.”

“Thank you all for being here,” Mocek said. “We’re so glad to welcome you back home to Memorial High School. We hope this is a memorable celebration for you. And we do hope this is the start of a new tradition for us at Memorial, a yearly grandparents Mass.”

Bishop Siegel delivered the homily during the April 23 Mass at the Reitz Memorial High School auditorium. Sharing a name with St. Joseph, Bishop Siegel said he has always had a great devotion to the saintly husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. Bishop Siegel said one of his prized possessions is a statue of St. Joseph the worker that his parents gave to him on his 10th birthday. When he looks at it each morning, it reminds him to call upon St. Joseph’s prayers and intercessions, Bishop Siegel said.

Bishop Siegel said it is a great blessing that 70 years ago St. Joseph was named the patron of Reitz Memorial High School. He noted this is probably much due to the influence of the Holy Cross brothers to make the patron St. Joseph. Bishop Siegel said for many generations, students, faculty and staff have looked to the example of this faithful disciple.

Bishop Siegel said although not one of St. Joseph’s words is recorded in the Gospel, St. Joseph preaches a powerful sermon to us by his simple life of commitment, love and trust. As they renewed their commitment to the patronage and prayers of St. Joseph last week, it was also a good time to renew commitments to God, families, friendships, studies, work and the Church, Bishop Siegel said. He stressed these are the commitments that shape our life and soul.

Bishop Siegel continued St. Joseph is a powerful model of mature commitment that our society today desperately needs. He stressed to sustain our faithfulness, we must make it a priority to listen to the voice of God to guide and direct us in our daily lives. He said this can be done many ways, including through a consistent life of prayer, Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, reading the Scriptures and in quiet service of others.

Bishop Siegel concluded his homily by stating it is his prayer that through the intercession of St. Joseph, God will continue to bless Reitz Memorial High School as it continues its mission of forming faithful disciples and witnesses of the risen Lord.

At the end of Mass, Bishop Siegel led a Litany to St. Joseph.

After Mass, Reitz Memorial High School Principal Aaron Schmitt, a 2004 graduate of the school, thanked many people, including Bishop Siegel and the diocesan priests, for taking time to celebrate Mass at Reitz Memorial.

“I want to say how wonderful it is to see this auditorium filled,” Schmitt said. “It reminds me when I was a student here. There usually was never an empty seat.”

On May 5, 1954, students and faculty of Reitz Memorial High School publicly acclaimed St. Joseph as the patron saint of the school. A solemn Pontifical High Mass was celebrated in the school auditorium.

Reitz Memorial students lead a song during last week’s Mass. The Message photo by John Rohlf