Jesuit High School blessed and dedicated its new Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto during a special Convocation and a ceremony at the grotto on Monday (Feb. 11), the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.
At Convocation, Jesuit president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. spoke about the new grotto and recognized Josephine and Al Dato '60, whose generosity and vision made it possible.
After Convocation, altar servers and priests led a procession to the grotto, at the site of the former Blessed Virgin Mary Garden at the west end of building 2 and south end of Gonzmart Hall. The procession included dozens of Jesuit students who visited Lourdes in France during Jesuit's European Pilgrimage last summer.
The holy water sprinkled by Fr. Hermes during the blessing came from Lourdes, and the Our Lady of Lourdes statue is more than 100 years old – it was relocated with the school from Jesuit's original downtown campus to Himes Ave. in 1956
Shaded by two large oak trees with four new benches, the Lourdes Grotto was part of Jesuit's $50 million 'For Greater Glory' capital campaign. It is adjacent to Garcia Bridge, with the water sprinklers in the ponds between the grotto and the beautiful Hyer Family Park baseball facility providing a picturesque backdrop.
"The recent restoration is a beautiful and noble grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes," Fr. Hermes said. "The area has always been a quiet place to meditate, pray, and 'find God in all things.'"
Also speaking at the ceremony were Jesuit Board of Trustees member Fr. Vincent Giacabazi, S.J., and Xander vanBelzen '22, the godchild of Josephine and Al Dato.
Please view the photo slideshow below, and below that are two videos, the first from the Convocation and the second from the special ceremony at the grotto.