Unless there’s flooding, or thunder and lightning, most sports aren’t cancelled for a few drops of rain. So the cold, misty weather March 29 didn’t deter the hundred or so people gathered for the dedication and blessing of St. Pius X High School’s new athletic complex.
St. Pius X High School principal Joseph Monachino expressed his gratitude to the the community, benefactors and building committee who helped make the complex a reality.
“Thank you to all of you for being here!” he said, before segueing attention to the dedication and blessing of the grounds by Bishop Johnston.
The reading for the blessing was from I Corinthians 9, ‘Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.’
The bishop spoke a few words on the reading.
“I think that all of you will be happy that with the temperature and the wind being the way they are, I’ll give a very short homily,” Bishop Johnston said, laughing.
“That reading from St. Paul uses the analogy of sports for the spiritual life, and I think that’s one the beautiful things about providing athletic opportunities for not only our youth, but for all of us. There are so many lessons we can learn from that we could tie in through competition, through sports, through training: the perseverance required to reach excellence, the striving, the sacrifice, the teamwork that’s required,” he said.
“I’m grateful for your giving of yourselves and making this opportunity possible, and we now ask God to bless this place that holy and good things will happen here,” he concluded.
The Bishop then prayed and blessed the grounds with holy water, and the crowd quickly dispersed for warmer places, such as the reception.
Back in 2017, St. Pius X High School started a three-year, $7 million Warrior Pride Campaign for capital improvements, which include transforming a former convent on campus into a fine arts and activities center and building the 45-acre athletic complex less than a mile from main campus. Now they are both open: the activities center includes arts classrooms, event spaces and Catholic Radio, and the new athletic complex includes a track, practice fields, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts and cross-country trails, most of which have been saw use starting in Fall 2018 with tennis, softball, cross-country and soccer plus grade school football practice by the Northland Catholic Warriors. The old football stadium on campus is also receiving updates that include new turf fields, new lights and a new parking lot.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time—it’s been a real struggle to know when we started thinking about this eight, ten years ago, what property was available to us. This came late in the game,” said Greg Ringel, alum and brother to St. Pius X teacher and baseball coach Rick Ringel. “We felt landlocked over here, and then it’s like—wow, we can build that dream!”
Savina Lee, wife of St. Pius assistant principal Robert Lee, is looking forward to watching sports at the new complex this year.
“I’m very excited—I’m a St. Pius grad, and when I went here we had to go miles away to play baseball, there was no tennis. Now we’re in the big leagues—it’s all good!” she said.
Athletic Director and Head Football Coach for St. Pius X Rick Byers thinks the new complex will help attract even more students to the school.
“I think that one thing now we don’t have to worry about with a student or potential athlete going somewhere else just because we didn’t have this kind of facility. I think it puts us on even ground with the rest of the Northland,” he said.
Currently baseball, tennis, soccer, and track & field teams are using the complex for games and meets.
“There’s going to be a few nights when there’s all four going on at the same time, so it’s going to be interesting!” said Byers.
“It’s been a joy, knowing that we’re taking this step to ensure the athletic department and our kids’ future athletically—it’s been awesome. We’re happy, we’re very happy,” he said with a big grin.
For more information on St. Pius X High School, visit spxkc.org.