Read: The Cross stands, while the world turns

Lumen Christi Catholic School in Jackson has just installed a 16 foot crucifix, set upon a seven-foot pedestal, at the heart of their campus. Why? Here's the explanation from School President, Tim DeWitt, pictured. Tim writes:

You will pick up a recurring theme in this article. What we were doing was personal.

It’s going on three years since I became president of Lumen Christi Catholic School. To this day, as I reflect back, this has been a calling from Christ to do his will. I have often said this work we do in Catholic education is not only important, it’s necessary.

On day three, I asked our athletic director, Jesse Brown, to give me a tour of Lumen Christi’s athletic facilities. From inside to outside and all around was an interesting walk. We found ourselves at the entrance of the football stadium and Jesse asked, “What is it you do not see?” At the location where we were standing, you could see the stadium, baseball field, tennis courts and soccer field. For only a moment, I thought and then turned to Jesse, “Where is the crucifix? Where are the crosses to oversee all our athletic fields?” Jesse simply looked at me and said, "Exactly."

So, began my mission — my crusade — to do something. That was the moment this became very personal. I recall speaking with administration, faculty, parents and students campaigning to capture both their excitement and highlight what we should do. Many ideas were offered: crosses, a welcoming Jesus statue, a Stations of the Cross garden. The answer, though, came to me from the best place: Sunday Mass. There it was, the symbol of who we are, what we believe. The crucifixion of Christ to carry the weight of all our sins. Yep, a crucifix was the answer.

I did my research and found my answer in Milan, Italy. Sixteen feet tall on a seven-foot pedestal with spotlights beaming up on it for all to see. Now the difficult part: how to finance it. I called my brothers and sisters, all nine Lumen Christi graduates, and told them of my plan. In typical DeWitt fashion, they said let’s do it. Just let me know how much you need. I was ready to go, or so I thought. To be a sign of our faith and represent Lumen Christi, I needed the Jackson Catholic community to be part of this. Next up was the Lumen Christi auction. This was the feature item of the night, the last item to bid on. It took less than five minutes and we raised 125 percent of the cost. The Jackson Catholic community stood tall and answered the call. Two days later, the order was placed.

Taking five and half months to fabricate and another three weeks to ship, our crucifix arrived on May 17. With the amazing support of volunteers and three weeks of prep work, the crucifix was raised on May 23, just in time for graduation. Father Brian Lentz blessed our crucifix. There remains some finish work to complete, though, such as the viewing area, spotlights and a flower garden.

A simple story but a personal one. We are a Catholic school, and this will remind all who visit our facilities who we are.

* First published in the July/August edition of Faith Magazine