Students, teachers, benefactors and leaders in Catholic education from across West Virginia will convene for the 25th annual Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools Sunday, April 7, at the Morgantown Event Center in Morgantown, W.Va.
On the silver anniversary of the event, the Bishop’s Cross Award will be given to two organizations that share a rich history of support to Catholic education in West Virginia — the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the West Virginia Knights of Columbus.
The Aquinas Medal, the highest honor a student can receive from the diocese, will also be awarded to 26 students, one from each of its schools and Wheeling Jesuit University. Also, the St. Sebastian Medal will be awarded to high-achieving student-athletes, one female and one male from each Catholic high school and from Wheeling Jesuit University.
“Our Catholic schools work diligently to provide an education of intense academic rigor within the context and practice of our Catholic faith,” said Mary Ann Deschaine, superintendent of Catholic Schools.
“As communities of Catholic faithful, each of our schools strives to educate the whole person by using the latest technology, implementing numerous initiatives in hands-on learning and fostering an active faith life. The two organizations that we will honor at this year’s Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools show the importance of living Gospel values and the strong impact that it has on those around them. These organizations epitomize what we strive to instill in each and every student.”
The Bishop’s Cross is presented to individuals or groups who, through their lives and works, have demonstrated, in extraordinary ways, their commitment to the mission of Catholic education in West Virginia. Each recipient will receive a replica of the late Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt’s pectoral cross, representing his role and responsibility as teacher. Schmitt began this annual event in 1995.
The day will begin with a special Mass celebrated by Msgr. Anthony Cincinnati, V.E., pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown, at St. Francis de Sales at 10 a.m. Reservations for the dinner are required and can be made by calling Cathy Palmer at 304-233-0880, ext. 316. The cost is $50 per ticket.
The West Virginia Knights of Columbus are sponsoring the Aquinas Medal presentation at this year’s event. Over the past 24 years, the Knights have contributed more than $230,000 in support of the Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools. This year, Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration will sponsor the St. Sebastian Medal presentation.
This is the sixth year that Highmark West Virginia is sponsoring the Bishop’s Cross presentation. Catholic school officials said this partnership will continue to benefit the students of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools for years to come.