Listening Session Held for New Catholic School in Columbia

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COLUMBIA- A listening session was held at the St. Thomas More Newman Center Tuesday to discuss the possibility of opening another Catholic school in Columbia. It was one of five sessions that will be held this week.

The session included an explanation of the overcrowding problem in the current Catholic elementary school in Columbia, Our Lady of Lourdes, and gave the public an opportunity to discuss their opinions in small groups and then present them to the room.

Some session participants expressed concerns about not knowing enough information on the new school to present their level of support. They were told to contribute those questions on paper at the end of Tuesday night's session.

Sister Kathleen Wegman of the Diocese of Jefferson City said the listening sessions were designed to bring public questions and concerns to the surface. Wegman also said Bishop John Gaydos will make the final decision on the new school.

A committee comprised of different members of the Jefferson City Diocese is expected to meet in December to draw a conclusion from these listening sessions and then create "target group listening sections" that focus on certain parts of the new school, like the grades it will include and the location.

After the target group listening sessions are complete, the committee will present a recommendation to the Bishop, who will make his decision by June.

The new school would help ease overcrowding in Our Lady of Lourdes, which is currently the only Catholic school in Columbia for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Our Lady of Lourdes turns away about 25 families a year in Columbia.

There are three more listening sessions this week:

Nov. 6, 6:30-9:30 pm - Our Lady of Lourdes Flanagan Hall

Nov. 8, 6:30-9:30 pm - Sacred Heart Education Center (will be held in Spanish)

Nov. 10, 2:30 - 5:30 pm - Sacred Heart Education Center