Tonawanda News

May 3, 2013

Warm welcome for new bishop at Cardinal O'Hara

Education: Cardinal O'Hara High School earns high praise from Bishop Malone after first-ever visit.

By Barbara Tucker
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Cardinal O’Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda earned high praise from the Most Rev. Richard Malone, bishop of Buffalo, at his first visit to the coeducational high school May 1.

The bishop told those in attendance he is comfortable in a school setting as he taught in a Catholic high school and was a campus minister at the Harvard-Radcliffe Student Center.

“This school feel like family,” he said. “It’s wonderful. O’Hara has such a spirit and vitality. It’s a joy to be here,” he added.

The bishop’s visit began with a liturgy in the school auditorium concelebrated by Msgr. Leo McCarthy and the Rev. Thomas Ribits, members of the O’Hara staff, and attended by students, faculty, alumni and guests.

He said that May 1 is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, explaining the background of the feast and noting that whatever work one chooses, it can be noble and helps build the church.

“The bishop reminded our students to pattern themselves after the saint being honored, today, St. Joseph, in their work efforts in school, as well in their future endeavors,” Mary Holzerland, principal, said.

“Your job here,” the bishop told the students, “is learning — and fun. That work leads us all in celebration of Eucharist and gives praise to God our Father.”

Malone commented on the skill of the O’Hara Song Corps, noting that the group had just returned the evening before from a trip to Disney World in Florida. He stayed after the processional to hear a rendition of the school Alma Mater “Hail the Black and Gold,” written and composed by O’Hara’s choral director, Scott Paeplow. 

After the liturgy, the CIAO, Culinary Institute at O’Hara, hosted a reception. The students, wearing chef coats with the CIAO logo and their name embroidered on them, are taught the two-year course by culinary arts teacher, Kristi Bean.

“It’s really exciting to serve the bishop,” Dave Seifert a CIAO student, said. He and classmate Tony LoBuglio said they received their inspiration to try culinary arts from working at Rizzo’s restaurant.

Student council and class officers were invited to the reception.

Andrew Moje, a freshman class officer, said he was impressed by the bishop’s personality and feeling for the school.

When the bishop came into the reception, he took his coffee and sat with the students, laughing and joking with them and getting a feel for student life.

“(The bishop) is very personable,” Paige Currie, a sophomore class representative, said.

O’Hara presented a gift to the bishop, who when he opened it, exclaimed an enthusiastic “Wow! This is wonderful,” to which one of students commented that he’d never heard a bishop exclaim “Wow.”

The students cheered when the bishop said he was following a long tradition of granting a “Bishop’s Day” holiday for the school.

Later, Malone and school principal Mary Holzerland toured the facility.

“During his tour of the building, the Bishop spoke with students about the beautiful facility that we have here and listened to many of them talk about their pride in the visible reminders of their school from the black and gold theme seen in our impressive gymnasium and through the halls of the school,” Holzerland said.. 

“It’s wonderful. I know O’Hara has an upward enrollment and the courtyard with umbrella tables and chairs for the students to enjoy is something I’ve not seen in other schools,” the bishop noted.

“It was a beautiful day, both inside and outside of Cardinal O’Hara High School — one that will always be remembered by each and every student,” Holzerland said. 

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email