Principals thank Bishop Loverde for shepherding schools

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The annual luncheon for pastors and principals sponsored by the Arlington Principals Association had an added layer of celebration and sentiment Jan. 19 as both Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde and Sister Bernadette McManigal, superintendent of diocesan schools, are set to retire this year.

Sister Bernadette will retire June 30 after eight years of service to the diocese. As is required by canon law, Bishop Loverde submitted his letter of resignation to the pope following his 75th birthday Sept. 3. The pope is not required to accept the resignation immediately.

Prior to the lunch in the St. Agnes Parish Center in Arlington, Janet Cantwell, principal of St. Mary School in Alexandria and treasurer of the principals association, presented Bishop Loverde with a gift on behalf of the association. In thanks for the bishop's support of Catholic schools over his tenure, $250 will be given to both the St. Rose of Lima Priests' Retirement Villa in Annandale and to seminarian education in the diocese.

After receiving the gift, Bishop Loverde gave off-the-cuff remarks filled with humor and thanks.

With his retirement "right around the corner," the bishop said he was grateful for the donation to the villa, where he will live once his resignation is accepted. Bishop Loverde said he's always had a special fondness for retired priests, "for all they have done" in service to the church and the faithful.

"They should have a place they can live with dignity and some relaxation," he said.

The bishop also thanked the principals for their contribution to seminarian education. The seminarians are "our future," he said.

After sharing his gratitude for the gift, the bishop expressed his appreciation for the pastors - "for all you do to encourage our Catholic schools and the evangelization that is done through them" - as well as for school staff and Sister Bernadette.

"You have been a great blessing to me personally and to our diocese," the bishop told Sister Bernadette. "Know that you always have a place here in our hearts."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016