Bishop accepts gift of students’ prayers, sacrifices


Look closely. Each drifting seed from the dandelion is a thumbprint.

Each thumbprint represents 500 prayers prayed or sacrificial or charitable acts carried out by people of the Jefferson City diocese for Bishop W. Shawn McKnight and his predecessor, Bishop Emeritus John R. Gaydos.

Students, families, teachers and staff of the diocese’s Catholic schools pledged prayers, sacrifices and service in the weeks leading up to Bishop McKnight’s ordination and installation on Feb. 6.

These were all combined into a “spiritual bouquet” to present to Bishop McKnight and Bishop Emeritus Gaydos.

Megan Tobar, art teacher at Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City, and Heather Schrimpf, the school’s principal, developed the artwork for Bishop McKnight’s “bouquet.”

“Mrs. Tobar recommended using the image of a dandelion with the seeds scattering,” said Mrs. Schrimpf. “I liked this image as it represents our prayers being carried across the distance of the diocese for our new bishop.”

They also selected a Bible verse — “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16:15).

“We felt this was very fitting of the newly ordained bishop as he is the spiritual leader for everyone: The Good News is for everyone to hear!” said Mrs. Schrimpf.

I.C. School students provided the colorful thumbprints.

Sister Elizabeth Youngs, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Kansas, and Sister Julie Brandt, a School Sister of Notre Dame, diocesan superintendent and associate superintendent of Catholic Schools (respectively), presented the completed and framed artwork to Bishop McKnight on March 8.

“I love it!” said Bishop McKnight.“I very much like the artistry as well as what it represents. Thank you so much!”

The artwork is now prominently displayed near Bishop McKnight’s office in the Alphonse J. Schwartze Memorial Catholic Center.

A chart on the back ties the colors of each “seed” with a specific prayer or action.

The offerings include: praying 24,362 “Hail Mary’s”; 24,296 “Our Father’s”; 19,429 “Glory Be’s”; 3,848 “Memorare’s”; and 1,352 Rosaries; offering-up 1,674 Mass intentions; and carrying-out 4,655 sacrificial acts and acts of charity.


City on a Hill

Bishop Emeritus Gaydos, who served as leader of the diocese for 20 years, received the artistic representation of his spiritual bouquet shortly after Bishop McKnight’s installation.

This artwork is made up of colorful silhouettes of several landmarks in the diocese, including the Cathedral of St. Joseph; the previous cathedral, St. Peter Church in Jefferson City; the State Capitol; St. Joseph School in Westphalia, the diocese’s oldest operating Catholic school; and Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School in Columbia, which was established in 2011 under Bishop Gaydos’ leadership.

It was created by Heather Lee, the art teacher at St. Peter Interparish School in Jefferson City, and Gayle Trachsel, the school’s principal, with help from students.

The buildings are made up of chromatic thumbprints correspond to prayers and acts of love and service on behalf of the students and their families, teachers and staff.

“Will you look at that!” said Bishop Gaydos as he took in the art and the symbolism. “That’s really amazing!”

Mrs. Trachsel said the students and teachers were excited to learn about and be a part of this special event in the Diocese of Jefferson City.

“Bishop McKnight and Bishop Gaydos will be in our prayers these coming days,” she said.