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Archbishop delivers message of caring to IC students

  • Immaculate Conception School student Elliot Linde adjusts his tie during Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Charles City. Press photo by Chris Baldus

  • Jarvis Streich, an Immaculate Conception School student lights altar candles before Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Charles City. Press photo by Chris Baldus

  • Immaculate Conception School students Harper McInroy and Annemarie Hansen sing during Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Charles City. Press photo by Chris Baldus

  • Archbishop Michael Jackels urges Immaculate Conception School students attending Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Charles City to live with open hands so they will help others in need. Listening intently at center right is Bennett Hansen. Press photo by Chris Baldus

  • Archbishop Michael Jackels greets Immaculate Conception School fifth-graders after Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Charles City. Press photo by Chris Baldus

By Chris Baldus, cbaldus@charlescitypress.com

His message about caring drew chuckles from the children filling the pews Wednesday morning when the archbishop lifted the hem of his robes.

He was demonstrating how the queen of the world would descend the stairs to wipe the drool from his lip as extreme old age overcame him. She would do that, he said, because she was taught compassion and more at Immaculate Conception School.

Archbishop Michael Jackels of the Archdiocese of Dubuque celebrated Mass with the school’s students and the parishioners of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Charles City. He focused his message on the blessings of a Catholic education.

IC School is celebrating Catholic Schools Week. Activities are scheduled through Friday when school staff and students face off in a basketball game.

In his message, Jackels said education in general is important to individual and community success, he said, noting that not all children around the globe have similar access.

Catholic education is an important and meaningful ministry, he continued, stressing the values it instills by adding a “fourth R” to education — reading, writing, arithmetic and religion. Catholic education teaches students to treat others as they would treat Jesus in mind, body and soul, he said.

He urged the children to have their eyes open to see education as a blessing, ears open to hear the teachings and hands open to help others in need. That’s where the queen of the world came in.

Stepping between rows of pews, Jackels pointed to a third-grader Mikyla Sellers as he talked about how instilling values through Catholic education builds a better future. “And there is the queen of the world” who when she’s an adult will see him old and frail, with drool on his bottom lip. Because her heart and mind were purified as she learned Catholic values in school, she would not be the kind of monarch that says “Off with his head!”

Instead, Jackels said, she will lift her lacy skirt and descend to him and wipe the drool from his lip.

Catholic Schools Week kicked off on Saturday with the I.C. Development Board’s “Blizzard Bash” fundraiser at the Columbus Club.

The week comes at a time when it’s important for families considering enrolling children because of the March deadline to apply for tuition assistance, IC Principal Lynnette Hackett told the Press before the week began. A generous Student Tuition Organization ensures a Catholic education is available to all regardless of income, she said.

Income levels that qualify for tuition assistance are based on 300 percent of the 2017 federal poverty levels, according to an announcement posted in January on the IC School Facebook page. A qualifying two-person family would need to have an income of less than $48,720. The threshold for a family of three is $61,260, four is $73,800, five is $85,230, six is $86,340, seven is $111,420 and eight is $123,960.

The Family size includes parents or guardians plus total number of dependents claimed on 2016 tax return, the post says. For families with more than eight persons, add $12,480 for each additional person.

Catholic School Week at IC includes special dress-up days and events. Monday was Celebrate Your Community Day-Wildcat Wear. Students led business owners and community members on tours of the school.

Tuesday was Celebrate Our Nation Day. Retrieving Freedom Inc., a Waverly nonprofit that trains service dogs, presented a program. That afternoon, the Friends of IC treaded students and staff to a matinee of the movie “Sing” at the Charles Theatre.

Wednesday was Celebrate Vocations Day, which included the student-led Mass with Jackels and a picnic lunch back at the school.

Thursday is Celebrate Students Day. Students are invited to wear their clothes backwards or wear pajamas while they participate in special team building activities.

Friday is Celebrate Staff Day, which includes a basketball game with students pitted against the school staff.

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