Saint Joseph Catholic in Florida Partners with Notre Dame

A read a really refreshing story today about a Catholic school in Florida that, in my opinion, is setting a model for many more Catholic schools to follow. Saint Joseph Catholic School in West Tampa Bay has partnered with the University of Notre Dame and the Diocese of Saint Petersburg in the Notre Dame ACE Academies. The goal of the program is to make Catholic schools and their communities stronger. This is important because Catholic school enrollment has been dwindling in recent years, mostly because these schools simply have fewer resources than public schools.

To learn more about what this school is doing to make strives educationally check out the post “Catholic School Reform Takes Root in Florida”.

Lourdes Grotto Fire

“The University of Notre Dame released a statement on July 26 saying that the campus’s Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes caught fire on Monday evening.

The university’s fire department quickly extinguished the flames when they broke out early in the evening, Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown told the South Bend Tribune. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Brown said.

Notre Dame’s July 26 statement added that the “interior of the Grotto has been closed while officials determine if it is safe to enter. Visitors may still pray at the perimeter of the shrine.”

Candles are often lit in the grotto by those visiting to pray and have posed a hazard in the past with the grotto catching fire in 1985 due to the large number of lit votive candles.

Built in 1896, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes  is one-seventh the size of the shrine in France where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette numerous times in 1858.” – “Lourdes Grotto at Notre Dame Catches Fire”, Catholic News Agency

I was deeply saddened to hear about this story from Catholic News Agency. The Lourdes Grotto is extremely beautiful and hopefully not too much damage has been done to it, that would be an utter shame. I intend to pray for the next few days for the Grotto, in hopes that it will be fully functional again sometime very soon.