Parents and students of Saint Mary’s Catholic School in Boise adorned the front of the school with giant, handmade valentines on Tuesday night — sending messages of love and support to the school’s teachers, priests and staff, organizers said.
The colorful valentines are a show of support following the shocking arrest a week ago of former longtime Saint Mary’s Catholic Church priest, the Rev. W. Thomas Faucher.
Some of the messages on the signs: “St. Mary’s staff rocks,” “We love our teachers,” “Our school is great,” “The best teachers teach from the heart” and “Keep on teaching.”
“It was a very wonderful surprise ... I have goosebumps,” said longtime school secretary Elaine Davis, as she let students into the school building after the Ash Wednesday mass. She and others had ash crosses on their foreheads to mark the start of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.
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Saint Mary’s, 2620 State St., has 172 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Saint Mary’s Church is multicultural, serving English- and Spanish-speaking communities.
All of the teachers at the school are lay people, even those providing the religious education, Davis said.
Faucher, a 72-year-old retired priest, has been charged with possession of child porn and illicit drugs. The church has moved to evict him from the home he rents. He is due in court for a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning.
“The community is really heartbroken over the news of Father Faucher,” said Shanna Tucker, one of the parents behind the valentines project. “It was a way to come together.”
“We support our parish and our teachers through thick and thin,” said parent Katrina Jimerson.
The idea for the valentines project began about a week ago, and families worked on the posters over the weekend.