By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published May 15, 2015
DECATUR—St. Peter Claver Regional School students were eager to try out their new playground as Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory blessed the space April 22.
The playground blessing followed the annual Timothy Williamson Memorial Scholarship Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Decatur.
Archbishop Gregory used oversized shears to cut a ribbon and prayed that children playing there would do so in enjoyment and safety.
The memorial Mass remembers the life and service of Timothy Williamson, who was educated in Atlanta Catholic schools. Williamson joined the Alliance for Catholic Education program at the University of Notre Dame, which trains and places teachers in underserved schools. He taught in Louisiana for two years.
Williamson died in 2000 after a battle with cancer. Through ACE, his family created the memorial scholarship 14 years ago to provide tuition assistance to students at St. Peter Claver Regional School. In the last two years, the scholarship program has generated $9,000.
“Tim’s commitment to Catholic education began with his wonderful faithful family,” said Principal Susanne Greenwood. “Each year, we are grateful.”
Archbishop Gregory was celebrant for the Mass and shared thoughts on history, particularly the accounts of persecution of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles.
In his homily, the archbishop said there’s a tendency to believe that happenings of long ago have no impact today.
“You know that the persecution of Christians is something that is going on even today,” said Archbishop Gregory. “So history is not just something that happened a long time ago.”
The archbishop said those stories of early Christian believers and martyrs can inspire us to take up our roles in glorifying Christ. He expressed hope that our legacy will be “as glorious and generous and loving” as theirs.
Williamson’s sister, Meaghan Schroeder, and her family presented the gifts.
Following Mass, Greenwood invited all in attendance to visit the playground and garden on the Tim Williamson Memorial Plaza, a project announced at last year’s Mass. The revamped play space represents many “hours of physical labor” from parish and school volunteers, she noted.
“Behind any true gift is always love,” said Greenwood.
The days leading up to the playground blessing had been rainy, and the students were excited to finally have a sunny morning to explore the area.
“I think it’s pretty and it has tunnels,” said kindergarten student Cayla Eddington about the updated equipment.
Cayla’s grandmother, Linda Eddington, said she has been searching for a way to tell the Williamson family how much the scholarship support means to her and others.
A widow, Eddington has been a member of the parish for many years but can’t manage Cayla’s tuition on her own.
“I thank God for them,” said Eddington. “We wouldn’t be able to come.”
For more information on contributing to the Timothy Williamson Memorial Scholarship visit the Alliance for Catholic Education’s commemorative giving opportunities at https://ace.nd.edu/support.