By Tom Maguire
Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, expressing his hope for continued support of Catholic education, conferred his special blessing Friday on the new Monsignor Francis J. Willenburg Center at Notre Dame Schools’ Burrstone Road campus.
The original school building, founded in 1960, now has a stage and an additional gymnasium with a regulation-size basketball court and bleachers. The new center will provide room for Notre Dame’s performing arts and athletic programs, and also for the Utica community.
Speaking after Friday’s ribbon-cutting, Bishop Cunningham said:
“Whenever Catholic education grows, we’re excited about it,” Bishop Cunningham said. “And this is a further sign of the growth of Catholic education in the Utica area. We’ve provided a wonderful facility — due to the generosity of so many people — that our young people will be enjoying for a long time to come.
“And having it named for Monsignor Willenburg, who spent his entire priesthood here, is a great, great gift. Monsignor Willenburg was well known in the area for his works of charity for both the young and the old.
“But this will keep his name alive in the minds and hearts of young people for years to come, so we’re very grateful for it.”