For the past 50 years St. Louis the King Catholic School has prided itself on forming the mind, body and soul of children.
Michael Hoffarth, class of 1973, would add one more word — friendships.
“To this day, we still have class reunions,” he said. “When you find similar ideals and beliefs you build friendships for a lifetime.”
Hoffarth was joined by a handful of other ’73 graduates during the school’s Golden Jubilee celebration Aug. 15 at the parish and school.
Opening remarks from Fr. Joseph Bui, pastor, were shared in English, Spanish and his native tongue from the Philippines.
Fr. Bui said he was “filled with much joy,” and thankful for the “strong and faithful Catholics“ who founded the school five decades earlier.
The joyous affair began with hundreds of current and former students, parents and staff attending Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares.
The bishop said the choice for Catholic education goes beyond grammar, science and history — “we also teach children to be a disciple of the Lord.”
He applauded the religious, priests and teachers for their commitment to Catholic education that taught children “who they are in relationship with one another and with God.”
Bishop Nevares also stressed the importance of the Eucharist, calling it “the crowning jewel of our faith.”
“It is an important sacrament for our spiritual life; it’s an intimate communion with Jesus Christ himself. It’s a joy and a privilege and an honor for children to be educated in the totality of a human being — and to the crowning jewel of our faith.”
The parish and school were given the patronage of St. Louis, King of France, in honor of the early French missionaries of Arizona by then-Bishop Francis Green of Tucson in 1962.
Two years later the buildings were completed and dedicated by founding pastor, Fr. James McFadden, who served for 20 years.
The spirit of worship, community and service he established has continued.
Former pastor Fr. Richard Felt said St. Louis the King is filled with “wonderful people that are loving and willing to help.”
“It’s a very loving parish and school; the people are patient and understanding. I love this parish,” he said.
The Sisters of Humility of Mary were among the first to staff the school when it opened in 1965.
Since that time a used portable building was installed in 1994 at the school and converted to a library.
In 2002, a new multi-purpose room and computer lab were constructed. It was the first new building in 40 years.
Four years later the preschool was opened.
The school is a wonderful example of cultural diversity, with students from all over the globe like Iraq and Uganda.
“The children understand that even if they eat different foods, look different or talk different, their Catholic faith unites them,” said Charlene Krushinsky, principal. “We have really centered on our mission and it’s a living reality of our school.”
The jubilee celebration was also a birthday party. Fr. Bui, who has been at the parish for two years and has seen the student body grow from 148 to 250 this year, blew out some candles.