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Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School

News of the Diocese

August 2, 2023

Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School
Rufus Courtyard dedicated at Benedictine High School

The Benedictine High School community gathered on July 27 for a special ceremony to bless and cut the ribbon for the new, recently completed Rufus Courtyard. The courtyard honors the late Joe Rufus, a longtime coach, athletic director and teacher at the school.

“This evening is about celebrating Benedictine and St. Andrew Abbey and sharing our gratitude while enjoying one another’s company in the beautified spaces. Our home is your home,” said Chris Lorber, the school’s chief operating officer, as he welcomed guests to the event at the school on Cleveland’s East Side.

Those assembled – alumni, faculty, staff, monks, benefactors and others -- heard about Rufus from Chuck Palsa, the school’s 1968 Mr. Benedictine, who also was an assistant coach for the late Augie Bossu, a beloved longtime teacher, football and baseball coach at Benedictine. Palsa served on Bossu’s staff when the Bengals won the OHSAA Class AA state football championship in 1973.

A 1968 BHS graduate, he gave an impassioned speech about the impact of Rufus’ 45-year-plus career.

He noted that Benedictine became known as The Home of Champions after Rufus coached the Bengals to senate championship titles in football, basketball and baseball in 1948-49. After winning numerous city titles, Rufus became athletic director and continued Benedictine’s championship pedigree. He also continued to teach in the school. During the event, many stories were shared about his driver’s education class, his pep rally speeches and the legacy he helped build at Benedictine.

Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries, a 1954 Benedictine graduate, recalled being coached by Rufus and credited him with helping to form the man he is today. He also talked about Rufus’ legacy and shared memories of working with Rufus after entering the monastery and becoming principal of his alma mater.

“I got to witness him as he continued to form Men of Benedictine," the bishop added.

Abbot Gary Hoover, a 1974 BHS alumnus, blessed the Rufus Courtyard and sprinkled it with holy water before gathering with members of the Rufus family in prayer before they cut the ribbon on the new green space that connects the high school with the new atrium and St. Andrew Abbey.

The courtyard and new main entrance to the school are part of Benedictine’s Centennial Campaign. The bishop and abbot expressed gratitude to the donors and benefactors who helped make the campus improvements possible. Among those credited were members of the steering committee, including Andy Smith, Jamie Georgeson, Greg Rufus, Frank Bossu and several monks – Father Timothy, Abbot Gary, Bishop Gries, Father Gerard and Father Michael.

Lorber also acknowledged board chairs Andy Smith, Matt Joyce, Bill Wilkinson and Joe Sweeney. He noted that the construction committee met weekly for two years to plan the project. In addition, Lorber credited Hank Bloom “for his time, his philanthropic spirit, coaching, mentoring and development.” He also thanked BHS Principal Dominic Fanelli, the administration, faculty and staff for their flexibility during construction, the school’s board of directors for their leadership and the monks.

A plaque featuring highlights of Rufus’ years at Benedictine was installed near the courtyard, which sits between St. Andrew Abbey and the school building.

Lorber said another phase of the school’s Centennial Campaign -- the new Howley Science Wing --would be unveiled early next month.

Benedictine High School, a ministry of the Benedictine Order of Cleveland, is at 2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Cleveland. Click here to learn more.

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