Gusty winds and freezing temperatures did little to stop generations of Catholic school alumni and students from gathering Sunday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bishop Dwenger High School.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese presided over a celebratory Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne before the crowd made its way to a reception at the USF Performing Arts Center, formerly the Scottish Rite Center, at 431 W. Berry St.
Leanne Mensing, who was assisting at the reception, has longtime ties to the Catholic community.
A 1956 graduate of Central Catholic High School and president of the Central Catholic Alumni Association, Mensing also helps out at Bishop Dwenger whenever possible, she said.
Mensings grandson Eric is a student at Bishop Dwenger and granddaughter Lauren, who graduated last year, is now a freshman at Indiana University.
The community is very blessed to have both Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers high schools, Mensing said. Both offer an outstanding education to students.
Not only are the students very good academically, but they do a lot of good in the community, as well, she said.
Rhoades also commended the students on the virtues of their Catholic education and community service during Mass.
Drawing parallels between the Bishop Dwenger Saints – the schools team nickname – and the disciples of Jesus Christ, Rhoades said, Bishop Dwenger is all about educating disciples and forming saints.
The school also has an unusually high number of young men who enter the priesthood, Rhoades said.
What happens to students after they graduate is the real measure of success, he said.
Although Sunday was the main celebration, Bishop Dwenger students and alumni have been recognizing the 50th anniversary at smaller events throughout the year, said Judi Ueber of Fort Wayne. We did something at homecoming, held a carnival and there are more events planned, Ueber said.
Ueber has managed the Bishop Dwenger Spirit Shop for the past nine years. Three of her four children are Bishop Dwenger graduates while the youngest is a freshman, she said.
Ueber also works as a special events assistant in the schools Development and Alumni Relations office.
She gets a lot of help from the Catholic community as well as the Central Catholic and Bishop Dwenger alumni associations, which she described as quite a family.
Bishop Dwenger staff and students claim to do a lot of wonderful things, and they do all of that and more, Ueber said. They walk the talk, she said.