The renovation of Bishop Noll Institute’s outdoor athletic facilities continued moving forward November 1 with a special blessing and religious medal placement as the first concrete pouring took place.
    Representatives of the school’s administration, the Diocese of Gary, the school’s Board of Limited Jurisdiction, the student body and Walsh Construction Co. – which is managing the project – were present as the first foundation footings were poured below where the new grandstand will be.
    As is a generations-old tradition for projects and structures erected by the Walsh Group, devotional medals – known as the Miraculous Medal and honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary – are placed in the concrete as it is poured to seek the Blessed Mother’s intercession for a successful and safe project.
    “It’s a tradition that has been going on with us for a long time,” Pat Easterday, a Walsh project manager, said during the placement. “The original miraculous medal started in Paris in 1830s with St. Catherine having medals cast and distributing those to people seeking protection and good fortune and grace. So the Walsh family has taken that in the building trade and, as I said, in each one of our first concrete pours on each job, we throw a medal in for grace for the project."
    The Rev. Dominic Bertino, retired Diocesan priest who formerly taught theology at BNI and currently serves on the board of the Bishop Noll Institute Foundation, Inc., led the attendees in prayer and blessed the medals before they were placed in the concrete. 
    “Let us pray for His help, that God will bring this construction to successful completion and that his protection will keep those who work on it safe from injury,” Father Bertino said.
Medallions were placed by Father Bertino, BNI junior Molly Whelan and Principal Lorenza Jara Pastrick.
    The project, the first phase of which is to be completed for Bishop Noll’s 2024 fall athletic seasons, will provide Noll students with a new football/soccer playing surface, a regulation eight-lane track, new lighting, grandstands and press box. Following phases will provide concessions and locker room structures and a renovated softball field.
    Those wishing to help fund the subsequent phases of the project through the Fielding Our Future campaign are encouraged to contact BNI President Paul Mullaney at pmullaney@bishopnoll.org or Advancement Director Ryan Julian at rjulian@bishopnoll.org.
    Now in its 103rd school year, Bishop Noll Institute is a Catholic high school serving the youth of Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. It is the largest school in the Diocese of Gary. Its graduating class of 2023 earned a total of $23.2 million in college scholarship offers, an average of more than $222,000 per graduate.
    Bishop Noll is at 1519 Hoffman St. in Hammond. For more information on enrollment, email admissions@bishopnoll.org or call (219) 932-9058.
Bishop Noll Institute, a diverse, Catholic college preparatory school, partners with local faith communities to empower young adults to live their faith in Christ through ministry, scholarship, and leadership.