by Joe Bollig
MOUND CITY — It was coincidental — but very appropriate — that the Holy Family School of Faith received the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Award during a confirmation Mass here on Nov. 20.
“It was a fitting tie-in because the Holy Family School of Faith plays such a role in developing and forming teachers,” said Father Shawn Tunink.
Father Tunink is the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Mound City, St. Philip Neri Parish in Osawatomie and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in La Cygne.
Youths from the three parishes received the sacrament of confirmation from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann that night; the archbishop also conferred the award and was the main celebrant and homilist at the 4 p.m. Mass.
The Duchesne Award has been given annually since 2006 to individuals and groups who promote Catholic education, vocations to the priesthood and religious life, or devotion to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.
The award is given on or near the solemnity of Christ the King at Sacred Heart Parish in Mound City, which is also a shrine to St. Rose.
Receiving the award for the Holy Family School of Faith were Sebastian D’Amico, Chad Pirotte, Dave Staples and Cari Hillyer.
Although co-founder and executive director Mike Scherschligt couldn’t be there (he was teaching a class), he was certainly there in spirit.
“I referred to the fact that I first met Mike Scherschligt when I was a student at the University of Kansas, when he and [co-founder] Troy Hinkel began a program of education for the students, and Mike invited me to his class,” said Father Tunink.“I eventually took every class he offered.”
The School of Faith has produced many fruits, among them both Father Tunink and D’Amico. Both were students when Hinkel and Scherschligt taught at KU, and now they’re both instructors for the Holy Family School of Faith.
What began as a catechetical institute at the St. Lawrence Center for KU students grew to an entity that would teach laypeople and Catholic schoolteachers. Now, the Holy Family School of Faith has offices in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Cincinnati, and Omaha, Nebraska.
“I also expressed my gratitude to Mike Scherschligt and the school for my own education,” said Father Tunink.
There was a reception for the award winners, the confirmandi and their parents in the parish hall after the Mass.