Engineering challenge at Marquette Catholic H.S. ties faith, mission, and academics

ALTON - With the Adorers of the Blood of Christ closing their location of Ruma, IL (about 30 minutes south of Belleville), many of their religious items have been given to local and international Catholic schools, churches, seminaries, and parishes. One monstrance did not have a home because it was missing its luna, which is the circular receptacle with glass sides that holds the Blessed Sacrament upright in the monstrance.

When a seminary in Ghana, West Africa requested a monstrance, however, people put their heads together. A half-moon luna was purchased, and students at Marquette Catholic High School’s Introduction to Engineering Class would be tasked with securing it to the monstrance.

Father Leland Thorpe, OMV, parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in Alton and chaplain at the high school, visited the school and first spent time explaining to the students what a monstrance must, should, and could do. Because the physical space students had to work with in the monstrance was so small, the students used their Solid Edge software knowledge to create a 3D image of their solution and then the 3D print of the connection piece.

Catholic Times asked the four seniors who worked on the project what it was like.

“Working on this project was such a big accomplishment,” said Laura Hewitt. “I am so honored to be able to be part of it. It has really stretched my creativity and made a deeper connection with my faith and interest.”

“Doing a project gives you a sense of completeness and joy knowing that you are doing something for those in need,” Ryan Klasner said. “Being able to help people grow in their faith through a small piece that goes into a monstrance shows that a small act of kindness cane be a game changer.”

“I initially found this project very intimidating and nearly impossible to complete,” said Jacob Rose. “However, as our collaborative efforts came to fruition, I saw the end in sight. I can’t wait to see how this impacts those in Africa on their faith journey.”

“Knowing my work in class is going to Africa makes this assignment much more meaningful than anything I’ve ever done in school,” Abby Taylor said. “My hope is to carry my faith into my future career and use my abilities to help people.”

The monstrance was given to Father Paul Kala, a priest of our diocese and originally from Ghana. He took it back to Ghana last month.