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Tribute to a pastor: Sacred Heart Academy dedicates its new gym to Fr. Stanley Krempa

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Father Stanley J. Krempa, the longtime pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Winchester, expected the new gym at Sacred Heart Academy to be dedicated with the name of a major donor during a blessing March 27. 

But after Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge sprinkled the brick building with holy water, and the canvas was pulled off the front, the schoolchildren cheered for Father Krempa — whose name was printed on the wall in large bold letters. The donor, J.J. Smith, had secretly arranged with Father Brendan Bartlett, parochial vicar, and a few select people at the school, to dedicate the building in gratitude for the pastor’s 16 years of service. 

Permission was needed from Bishop Burbidge, but the secret was otherwise closely guarded until the morning of the blessing — even Principal Susan Parks-Netko said she didn’t find out until then. 

Father Krempa looked at his name in surprise for a few moments, then went on to praise the Smith family and Sacred Heart parishioners for making the $4 million project a reality. 

“It’s been a little over three generations of people who have been dedicated to Sacred Heart Academy. Really, this academy, this gym, has been built not just by parents of the students, but by the whole parish,” Father Krempa said.

Construction of the 11,475-square-foot gym and renovation of the adjacent multi-purpose room, cafeteria and kitchen, took one year to complete. It includes locker rooms for both boys and girls, an office for the athletic director and a dedicated storage area for equipment.

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The new 11,475 square foot gym at Sacred Heart Academy in Winchester is dedicated in honor of Fr. Stanley J. Krempa, pastor, March 27. Until the dedication, the name of the gym was kept secret from Fr. Eric L. Shafer (left), parochial vicar, and Fr. Krempa, who were expecting the gym to be named after a donor. MARY STACHYRA LOPEZ | CATHOLIC HERALD

Alana Bradford, a seventh-grade student, said she’s excited to have a dedicated area for physical education classes. During bad weather, the students would have to take whatever space they could find. 

“Sometimes we ended up doing it in the music room and sometimes in the dining hall,” said Alana. 

She and her basketball team can now play games at their school instead of traveling off-site. There’s also space for more than 200 people to watch from the bleachers. 

“I like how much room there is in the gym with the new bleachers,” Alana said.

Parks-Netko called the renovation the last step in the process of designing the school “for excellence.” 

“With this wonderful new space, our parish has built upon our legacy for the people of today as well as those who will come tomorrow.” 

Buy photos from the blessing at catholicherald.smugmug.com


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017