Principal's Corner

Mrs. Maureen Ingham

Mrs. Ingham's Message for May 26, 2019

Back on April 8, Josh Maloni from the Lewiston Sentinel called and asked me to respond to the question, ”How do you feel about the announcement of Father David being transferred?” Like I was hit on the head with the proverbial brick...like I am losing my very dear friend, like what will I ever do without him here as my teammate and my support??? What I told Josh in my message to him is what follows as I tried to add some meat to those very obtuse and rather generic feelings. I am not really sure what he expected when he left me that message on Monday morning, but here is a piece of how I tearfully responded. And as I wrote this to do my best to let Josh know how I felt, I am pretty sure I was speaking on behalf of all of St. Peter’s School and Parish and the entire Lewiston area community.

Those who know me well know that sometimes I speak from my “big girl” head...that’s when I say the things that are logical and sensible and very grown up. So from that perspective I am proud of this opportunity for Fr. David and know, from having worked with him here at St. Peter’s for the past six years, that this is a new and important step for him at a parish that needs his leadership, his creativity and his masterful way to move a community forward. The challenges that await him are great, but because he has taught me, and so many others, that we can do whatever we need to do if we place our trust in the Lord...the community of Our Lady of Victory—the school, the foundation, the parish, the basilica, and all of the people that it encompasses—will flourish as they too learn that they need only to trust in the Lord and follow the path that He has laid for them. I have absolutely no doubt that Monsignor David LiPuma is the man for this job and that God, who has had this plan for him, will guide him in this newest endeavor, just as he has always done. I know that Fr. David is leaving Lewiston to continue to do God’s good work among the people of Lackawanna and the larger Diocese of Buffalo. And I also know that under Father’s unstoppable efforts and deep commitment, Father Nelson Baker will be canonized in his time!

But...when I am not in “my big girl head,” and I am speaking from my heart, the real me, my response to Josh moves to a whole different level of feeling. Fr. David came to St. Peter’s and immediately we connected. We shared the same vision for Catholic education and for meeting the needs of each and every child and family. We worked together to make sure we were doing all we could to meet those needs and to find new and different ways to bring our school and parish community together. We even learned, early on, that we read the exact same morning devotions and often compared our thoughts about the passage for the day, before the day even started for most. We continuously marveled at the wonders of the message and how, so very often, it carried a meaning that was spot on for the charge that laid ahead of us for that day. “Just God having a sense of humor,” Father would say!

He taught me about support, and caring and compromise...about patience and listening and always having time to do the right thing...he taught me because he modeled all of those things. That is who he is and who he wanted us all to be...more like Jesus...kinder, more thoughtful, less judgmental, always aware and deeply sensitive to others. I will miss seeing those characteristics every day and know that he came here to leave those messages with me, and others, to carry on. I hope I can do half of what he taught me. Father loved our staff and made them feel special every time he was in their presence. He loved his parishioners and was there for each one...no matter their need or the time or the place...he was there. But he mostly loved the children...and the love that our SPS kids have for Fr. David is unmatchable. Just come to Mass at 9:00 a.m. any Friday and you will witness the greatest outpouring of love and respect and the deepest devotion as they listen for every word. Ask any child...Friday Mass with Fr. David is their favorite part of the week!

I will miss our weekly meetings where we planned and shared together, that sometimes went on for longer than we intended because he was such a great listener...and I am known for being such a great talker.  I will miss early morning and late night texts with a thought or an idea shared, an emotion put in check or a funny story that couldn’t wait to be retold...he was always there! I will miss his sense of humor and his willingness to try anything, with a smile, and later tell me that maybe next time we might do that a bit differently... a gentle way to let me down. I will miss Mass, where words had new meaning and understanding my faith grew deeper than it has ever been in my 66 years of life. I will miss fun times with laughter and celebrating, knowing my family events and moments were just as important to him as they were to me. He is family! I will miss his ability to always get to the point, in a smooth and gentle way, with fewer words and deeper thought. (I still need to work on that). I will miss his willingness to step into whatever I needed him to do: cover a meeting, speak to a student, call the Diocese, or bury a friend whose pastor was not there. I hope I can do the same for others when I am needed. I think I got the message to Josh: I am going to miss Fr. David very much!!! But while he is not here physically, the imprints he will leave are the legacy that will get us through these tough weeks ahead and encourage us as we warmly welcome his successor and carry on the great work that has built us all over the past six years...physically, structurally, educationally and most importantly, spiritually.

Fr. David is my pastor, my priest, my confidante, my boss, my right arm, and sometimes my left, and my dearest friend. He is moving away from Center Street, but he will forever be close in my heart. He has taught me more than he knows and I am a better Christian because of the gifts that he has shared. God bless you, Fr. David. Go with God, as you always do, and I will do my best to be part of the team you are leaving behind, that continues to sow the seeds that you have so lovingly planted here in Lewiston.

Love, Maureen


Mrs. Ingham's Message for May 19, 2019

As you read this, Fr. David, Rich Helfrich and our Grade 7 & 8 students are ending their three-day class trip to Boston. We will head home later today after a fun-filled time together visiting the New England Aquarium, Quincy Market-place, the Boston Museum of Science, Lexington and Concord, the Boston Duck Tours, Cheers Restaurant, Fanneuil Hall, the Salem Witch Museum, House of the Seven Gables, the Burying Point Cemetery, the Witch Trials Memorial, and Mass at Immaculate Conception—Mary Queen of the Apostles Church. My guess is that the bus ride home will be a quiet one with many students fast asleep after this high energy, jam-packed weekend of activity. Memories for all...forever! We will be sure to share pictures upon our return.

While Grades 7 and 8 were in Boston, the rest of our school took a road trip down River Road to visit our friends at Stella Niagara Education Park. Our Stella friends visited SPS in February to celebrate Valentines with Vets Day and, on our exchange visit, the students will see Stella’s musical, The Wizard of Oz. All are excited to see what is always a great production at Stella.

The weather this week has not been particularly conducive to outdoor activities, but our track team managed to run, jump and throw amidst the rain and mud. The annual Diocesan track meet was held at St. Francis High School finally, after several postponements, and we are very proud of the energy and efforts of our students and coaches. Thanks for representing our school so well.

Lauren Stack (Grade 8), her family, Fr. David and I were in attendance at the Catholic Center this past Thursday as Lauren received an honorable mention award from Bishop Malone for her outstanding entry in the Diocesan Vocation Awareness contest. You make us all so proud, Lauren. Congratulations!

This coming week is filled with events that remind us that the end of the year is upon us. On Tuesday, Fr. David and I will celebrate our last Principal and Pastor for a Day together. “Father” Ducain Neal (Grade 3) and Ms. Melissa DiPasquale (Grade 6) will serve as Pastor and Principal respectively. After spending some “office time” in the morning and learning a bit about their roles in these capacities, we will travel to Our Lady of Victory Basilica, where Duke and Missy will be able to tour Fr. David’s new home and the great basilica that will become his new parish. We will meet with Bishop Kmiec, have lunch and discuss more about being a pastor and a principal, and come back to SPS to make some announcements about a couple of “plans” they have determined to share with their fellow schoolmates for the remainder of the school year.

On Thursday, May 23, the traditional Hope Day for Grades 7 & 8 will be celebrated. The entire school will attend Mass at 9:00 a.m. to say farewell to our students moving to high school and welcome to our soon-to-be leaders of the school. There are many traditions that make this a memorable day for all: a time capsule revisited, a last will and testament and a proclamation read, the viewing of a student-created video of memories for the years spent at St. Peter’s (for some, ten years)...the pinning of ribbons, sharing a luncheon with parents at the Niagara Falls Country Club. and “hanging together” at a semi-formal dance in the evening. Another memory-filled day for our SPS family!

As the end of this school year draws near, we ask you to keep us all in your prayers...our teachers, students, and families. While we keep very busy, help us all to remember what is really most important...that we keep our Lord in front of all the other things we are so busy doing. He is our priority...He is #1!

Maureen Ingham, Principal


Mrs. Ingham's Message for May 12, 2019

There is no greater blessing than that of being a Mom! I have been saying that for close to 40 years now (Sorry Matthew James) and will continue to say it forever. God truly blessed me with the greatest Mom who taught me, through her example, how to celebrate and appreciate the joys of motherhood, and how to pray and trust in the Lord through all of the bumps in the road that occur, even with the greatest of kids. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say that “grandmotherhood” runs a very close second (and at times may take over first place ) to being my favorite job. 10 ½ little lives brighten my heart every day and I am so very thankful for the gifts of Lawson, Trevor, Alex, Sienna, Nathan, Cooper, Callan, Cuyler, Camden, Sydney and little baby Ingham arriving in July.

Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day to all. Enjoy the gift of motherhood today and every day as it is a blessing, and a responsibility and most definitely a gift from above. And remember that Mary, the Blessed Mother and our heavenly Mother, is here for us always...for celebrations and amidst troubles, with good news and at sad times. Pray to Mary at all times, knowing that she hears your heart and takes all of your messages to her Son. And enjoy this day created just for you...you deserve it!

While none of us want to admit that it is true, we all know that our much-loved Pastor is leaving to do God’s work in a different way and in a different place. To show our love and support, the staff and students at SPS had a Father Baker week at school this past week. Each morning we recited the prayer to Father Baker in place of our regular morning prayer and on morning announcements our students took turns reading a passage from the life of Father Baker so we could all learn about him and why Father David has been chosen to carry on the work of his mission. We held a dress down day as well, and all donations will be presented to Father David to take with him when he leaves...knowing that our prayers and thoughts will follow him wherever he goes.

And one final note is a huge thank you for the many warm thoughts and kind words shared as I assume my new role at Saint Peter’s, as was announced by Father David last week. I am honored and humbled at this vote of confidence, and I promise, whether Principal, President, or parishioner...that our continued upward growth as a Christ-filled community of giving, caring people will be the focus of all my energies.

FAMILY FIRST....and Saint Peter’s! God bless us all!

Maureen Ingham, Principal


Mrs. Ingham's Message for May 5, 2019

My family was away for a few days over the Easter break and we did all of the fun things that you do with grandchildren and sunshine. You swim, and fish, stay up late, walk a ton, go to the beach, ride bikes and eat all of the wrong food. That’s what vacation is all about...right? 

One evening, when we had had a bit too much sun we decided to go to the movies (my husband and I never go to the movies), and saw a great and thought-provoking movie that was suggested by my youngest grandson who was with us, Alexander Matthew. The name of the movie was “Breakthrough,” and it hit Jim and me on so many different levels. It made me think so much and so deeply, not just about what happened to the young boy, John, but about all of the characters that experienced a “breakthrough,” throughout the movie.

So now we have added “cry” to the list of things we did on vacation, because the events of the story are sad enough, let alone the deeper meaning planted within the text by the writers and directors, and portrayed so profoundly by the actors within their roles. You start to think…hard…deep…when you never really thought you would be touched in that way at all when you walked into the theater, bought your extra-large popcorn, and took your seat!

I don’t normally consider myself a theater critic, or a movie buff, and I am certainly not a spoiler who would tell you the ending to the story, but urge you to take a couple of hours to see this movie yourself, and feel the “breakthrough” for yourself. I know you will understand what I mean once you see this movie based on a true story.

I hope to be able to take our school students to see “Breakthrough,” and I already have written the questions to which they will need to respond after viewing the movie…checking their comprehension, their thinking and their FAITH!

Ultimately, in so many places, for so many people and at the most unsuspecting moments our FAITH is what gets us through each and every day...each and every challenge…each and every time!

FAITH

that God is in charge always and with Him we are safe and loved!

Maureen Ingham, Principal