By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic
With a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and a special blessing from Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, hundreds of students, staffers and benefactors of Ursuline Academy of Dallas celebrated the dedication of the new lighted athletic field that was 12 years in the making.
Bishop Farrell was joined Oct. 9 by Mayor Mike Rawlings, Ursuline Academy President Gretchen Kane, Dallas Council member and Ursuline alum Jennifer Staubach Gates, Ursuline Board Chairman John Grimes Jr., and the longtime president of the girl’s school, Sister Margaret Ann Moser, OSU, who led the effort for the establishment of the field, which now bears her name.
The Sister Margaret Ann Moser, O.S.U, Athletic Field sits at the corner of Midway and Walnut Hill Lane in North Dallas. It is lighted by eight 45-foot tall light standards that are directed toward the 330 foot by 195 foot synthetic turf soccer and lacrosse field.
The blessing and dedication of the lighted athletic field at the corner of Midway and Walnut Hill capped more than a decade of school officials’ planning, fundraising, meetings with neighbors and city officials, who approved the plans in May 2013.
There will be limits, as games will be allowed on weeknights only during the school year and until 9 p.m. for a maximum of 20 scheduled home game nights per year. They will be restricted until 7:30 p.m. on other nights. The school is waiting on testing of the lights for final approval from Dallas city officials. The construction of the field, including sustainable landscaping and Cathedral live oak trees, was funded by gifts of $3.5 million from more than 100 donors.
Rawlings said the field would provide an opportunity for students at the all-girls school to continue their education today and to prepare for the future.
“The women who graduate from this school do remarkable things,” said Rawlings, who also led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Sister Margaret Ann.
“It is not a coincidence,” he said, “we put our soccer and lacrosse fields right out here front and center because athletics are such an important part of leadership— understanding how to work through tough things a sport gives you, understanding how to win with grace and lose with courage. Those are important.”
Bishop Farrell said that it was his first time blessing a soccer and lacrosse field in the diocese, but hoped there would be many more opportunities to do so.
He thanked Sister Margaret Ann and the many benefactors who made the field possible.
“Good and gracious God, we ask for your kindness and your blessing on these fields for athletics and all the activities to be held here,” Bishop Farrell said. “Grant all who meet here find companionship and love and together grant all of us the spirit of welcoming that is due to each of your children in Christ Jesus.
“And above all lord, we ask you to be on our side to win every game that we play on this field,” he said to applause.
In a short address, Sister Margaret Ann said that she was humbled by the honor, but said that many names also are on the sign.
“What so many have worked for over so many years, has now become a reality,” she said. “So, as the Easter liturgy says, ‘Let us rejoice and let us be glad’ of this wonderful work of our entire Ursuline community.”