St. Thomas honored its rich history with the annual Founders’ Day Mass on September 14 in Cemo Auditorium. The celebration of the feast of the exaltation of the holy cross was added to by the presence of additional Basilians who previously taught or attended St. Thomas.
The principal celebrant was Basilian and graduate Fr. Carl Belisch, CSB, ’54, who is celebrating numerous anniversaries this year.
Last year, Belisch celebrated his 60th high school graduation anniversary. He also enjoyed the 60th anniversary of his first profession as a Basilian August 15. This December, Belisch will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his ordination as a priest. The icing on the cake will come Christmas Eve with his 80th birthday.
Listen to Fr. Belisch’s Homily
In addition to Belisch, other special concelebrants were present at the mass. Fr. Jim Blocher, CSB, ’64 was in attendance with a bright smile on his face. Fr. Bill Frankenberger, CSB, a Basilian and graduate of the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York, was also present. Frankenberger taught at St. Thomas in the late 1960s. Fr. Wilford Canning, CSB, ’46, was also in attendance. He is celebrating several milestones, which include the 70th Anniversary of his graduation from St. Thomas and 60th Anniversary of his ordination as priest. Next year, Canning will have lived 70 years as a Basilian.
The highlight of mass was the homily delivered by Belisch. It meaningful, yet comical at the same time, as it included a lesson and humorous anecdote about Fr. Carl Allnoch, CSB, ’27, a well-loved former teacher, coach and principal at St. Thomas.
While a student, Fr. Belisch and some classmates were donating money for Basilian missionary work. Allnoch told them if the class could donate $10, he would bite the head of a snake. Without hesitation, Belisch and the other students eagerly gathered and donated the money, hoping that Allnoch would fulfill his promise.
Sure enough, Allnoch came into class the next day with a small glass that had leaves on the bottom and some grass in it. Then, he removed a baby grass snake and rubbed it against his face before biting its head off and spitting it out quickly into the trash.
“Now that was Allnoch,” Belisch said, to sum up the former principal’s strange but entertaining character. Belisch continued his homily saying that Allnoch is just one example of the many educators who have served the school over its 115 year history and deserved to be thanked.
Allnoch was the 16th principal of St. Thomas, serving from 1960 until 1965. Carl Mitchell Allnoch Auditorium stood in the current location of the WT & Louise J Moran Fine Arts Center, until it was razed fall 2005.