TYLER – Bishop Joseph E. Strickland blessed the site of the future Bishop Gorman Catholic Schools’ Broadnax Family Crusader Center athletic field house May 25.

Bishop Edmond Carmody, second Bishop of Tyler and retired Bishop of Corpus Christi, and Father Anthony McLaughlin, incoming president of Bishop Gorman, also spoke at the ceremony.

The blessing coincided with the 25th anniversary of Bishop Carmody’s installation as Bishop of Tyler in 1992.

“The most important thing we do today is always the most important thing we do – to turn to Christ, our Risen Lord, to live in his light,” Bishop Strickland said. “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do we do any of this. But the Lord is about this, because it is about the children, the students, who will benefit. So let us prayerfully enter into this blessing, rejoicing that God has brought us to today and knowing that he will accompany us into a bright tomorrow.”

The Broadnax Family Crusader Center is an 18,960-square foot complex that will replace the current field house. The center will include a lobby; a multi-purpose for drill, dance, and cheer teams; an alumni room overlooking the football field that will provide a venue for hosting friends of the school; expanded locker space and shower facilities; a training room and expanded weight room; expanded laundry facilities; and significant upgrades to technology.

The center is projected to cost $4.5 million and is part of a $4.9 million capital campaign.

Bishop Carmody praised donors to the campaign for their generosity and likened them to those who founded Bishop Gorman 60 years ago.

“We have to reflect on and pray for the people who gathered here 60 years ago,” he said. “They decided they wanted a Catholic school here in Northeast Texas.”

That school, he said, has gone on to benefit the students who have passed through its halls, the families who sent them there, and the wider community that has been served by those students.

“As we look at our school, we strive to make it the best possible school that we can provide for our young people in the Diocese of Tyler,” Bishop Carmody said. “Young people come here to learn. We form them and then send them out to serve. That’s what’s important – the service they provide to our community.”

With the Broadnax Family Center, donors today are providing for the welfare of future generations of students.

“We all warm ourselves at fires we never built, and we drink from wells we never dug,” Bishop Carmody said.

Brett Broadnax, whose family was a major donor to the campaign, said Bishop Gorman played an integral part in his life. Broadnax, who graduated from the school in 1983, said his years at Bishop Gorman “taught me a lot of life lessons, specifically integrity, teamwork, hard work, dedication, commitment, competition, all those things that have helped me live my life.

“On behalf of my family, we couldn’t be more thankful and honored to be part of the program and initiative that’s going to have such a profound and long-standing impact on so many TK Gorman students now and for generations to come. Thank you for including us.”

Father McLaughlin called it “a great joy to welcome our Gorman family and friends to such an occasion as this. Each of us understands that facilities matter. To this end, we gather today to bless and dedicate this site upon which the Broadnax Family Crusader Center is soon to be built.”

He announced that construction on the center will begin by mid-June and should be completed by April or May of 2018.

The present field house will be torn down to make way for construction. Lisa Lujan, a member of the project’s executive board, said there would be a “field house funeral” for the cramped and outdated facility.

Bishop Strickland reminded all present that “we are people of the resurrection, and we look forward to a beautiful Broadnax Center resurrection in about a year.”

For more information about the center or to make a donation, see the website here.