Catholic school to honor new pope at spring fundraiser

It’s been quite a week at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta, where students watched an unparalleled history lesson unfold in real time before them.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” said head chaplain Father Jason Brooks, referring to Wednesday’s announcement that Jorge Bergoglio, who selected the name Pope Francis, had been elected. “That excitement is grounded in 2,000 years of truth.”

By asking for the people’s prayers straight away, Pope Francis provided a valuable teaching moment.

“The way he asked everybody to pray for him was just awesome,” Brooks said. “The whole spirit of communion, it seems he embraces that in a genuine way. That’s something the kids can benefit from. I hope they can appreciate there is a plan for them. Even if they may not be pope someday, Christ is calling them to actively participate.”

The new pontiff will be honored at the school’s upcoming fundraiser, planned for April 13 at the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton. All proceeds benefit the school’s Teachers Continuing Education Fund.

“Our family has been a part of the school since its doors opened in 1996,” said event chair Joann Jones. “The Teachers Continuing Education Fund reflects the school’s emphasis on faculty development and training.”

The event begins at 5 p.m. with an alumni gathering. Mass, celebrated by Monsignor Edward J. Dillon, begins at 6 p.m. in the Ritz-Carlton’s salon, and the Mass intention will be offered for Pope Francis.

Auction items will include a St. Francis rosary from local artisan jewelry company Catholic Bling, packaged with a Bible blessed by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who was in Rome this week to offer commentary for ABC News.

Individual gala tickets start at $200. For information, see www.holyspiritprep.org/springgala.