St. Agnes names new activity center for Father Ubel

| November 16, 2015 | 0 Comments
Father John Ubel tells students at St. Agnes School that they are the reason he feels privileged to have been part of the school. The scene is from the assembly when an expansion at St. Agnes was dedicated as the Ubel Activity Center. Mike Ekern photo

Father John Ubel tells students at St. Agnes School that they are the reason he feels privileged to have been part of the school. The scene is from the assembly when an expansion at St. Agnes was dedicated as the Ubel Activity Center. Mike Ekern photo

St. Agnes School in St. Paul dedicated the $17.6 million Ubel Activity Center on its Thomas-Dale neighborhood campus Nov. 12, naming the new space in honor of Father John Ubel, the former superintendent of the St. Paul school and pastor of St. Agnes Parish who was influential in saving the school from closing.

Father John Ubel admires a painting of himself that will hang in the new Ubel Activity Center at St. Agnes School in St. Paul. The former St. Agnes pastor and superintendent of the school was influential in saving St. Agnes from closing eight years ago. Mike Ekern photo

Father John Ubel sees a painting of himself that will hang in the new Ubel Activity Center at St. Agnes School in St. Paul. The former St. Agnes pastor and superintendent of the school was influential in saving St. Agnes from closing eight years ago. Mike Ekern photo

Led by an initial gift of over $11 million from St. Paul philanthropists John Nasseff and his wife, Helene Houle, the new activity center was built on the site that included the former high school gymnasium, Bandas Hall. The new facility includes upgraded spaces for vocal and instrumental music as well as the visual arts, additional classroom space, an expanded gymnasium, and a student commons area.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens joined current St. Agnes pastor Father Mark Moriarty in presiding at Mass and blessing the new activity center. A procession through the new building included a sprinkling rite and the distribution of blessed crucifixes into the many spaces. The new gymnasium will be named Bandas Gymnasium to continue to honor the late pastor.

The center was named for Father Ubel at the request of the donors.The school was on the brink of closing in 2007 when Father Ubel approached Nasseff for funds to keep St. Agnes open. Nassef offered $500,000 if others donors could match his gift. They did in, and the revitalized school has since more than doubled its enrollment to 650 students in grades kindergarten through 12.

Father Ubel is now rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News