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Webb School of Knoxville and Knoxville Catholic High School, shown playing on Oct. 23, will no longer play following the 2014 season after Webb decided against scheduling the Fighting Irish in 2015. Photo by Stephanie Richer

Webb School of Knoxville and Knoxville Catholic High School, shown playing on Oct. 23, will no longer play following the 2014 season after Webb decided against scheduling the Fighting Irish in 2015.
Photo by Stephanie Richer

The Knoxville Catholic High School football rivalry with Webb School of Knoxville is coming to an end after the Spartans decided to call a halt to the series last week.

KCHS President Dickie Sompayrac said the school community is both surprised and disappointed by Webb’s decision, which was reported by local media Nov. 15. The two schools have played each other in football virtually every year since the early 1960s.

“This is disappointing for several reasons,” Mr. Sompayrac said. “I believe our rivalry has been healthy with Webb School, and we were surprised to find out this information via text last Thursday [Nov. 13]. I have reached out to Webb’s interim president, Kirk Walker, but have not heard back from him. We have tremendous respect for their community, and so many of our kids have grown up together. The rivalry is intense, but that is part of what makes it special. I just thought we would have received a call from someone in their administration before this was made public.”

The series’ end will also halt a major fundraiser benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

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Cardinal Justin Rigali, center, leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the St. Mary's Legacy Clinic storage facility Nov. 13 on the campus of the Church of Divine Mercy in West Knoxville. Joining Cardinal Rigali are, from left, John Geppi, Sister Mary Martha Naber RSM, Sister Mariana Koonce, RSM MD, Deacon Sean Smith, Bruce Bosse and Tom Greer. Photo by Dan McWilliams

Cardinal Justin Rigali, center, leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic storage facility Nov. 13 on the campus of the Church of Divine Mercy in West Knoxville. Joining Cardinal Rigali are, from left, John Geppi, Sister Mary Martha Naber RSM, Sister Mariana Koonce, RSM MD, Deacon Sean Smith, Bruce Bosse and Tom Greer.
Photo by Dan McWilliams

The St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic now has a permanent residence – a 40-by-60-foot warehouse that can house the mobile clinic when it isn’t on the road delivering free medical care to those in need across East Tennessee.

The facility was dedicated Nov. 13, with Cardinal Justin Rigali blessing the building located on the Church of Divine Mercy campus at 10919 Carmichael Road in Knoxville. Deacon Sean Smith, Diocese of Knoxville chancellor, and Sister Mariana Koonce, RSM, MD, led the dedication. They thanked those involved in the mobile clinic ministry, including volunteers, diocesan leaders, the communities served by the clinic, and Bishop Richard F. Stika, who led efforts to get the mobile clinic ministry off the ground.

Among those attending the dedication were Religious Sisters of Mercy, officials with building contractor Merit Construction, and the directors of Remote Area Medical and the Free Medical Clinic of America, which also offer free medical care to people in East Tennessee.

“Bishop Stika offers his thanks to all of you. He is very grateful for the work that has gone into this wonderful ministry led by Sister Mariana. She is the sister of multiple hats. She is a physician, but she also drives this mobile clinic,” Deacon Smith said as he introduced Cardinal Rigali, calling His Eminence a prince of the Church who we are blessed to have living in our midst.

Before blessing the mobile clinic storage facility, Cardinal Rigali pointed out that the dedication was occurring on the feast day of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was sent to America in 1889 by Pope Leo XIII to assist immigrants and who was the first American citizen to be canonized a saint.

Cardinal Rigali said St. Frances Xavier Cabrini worked in the name of serving the people of God, the immigrants and their needs.

The new St. Mary's Legacy Clinic storage facility, built by Merit Construction and dedicated on Nov. 13, is located on the campus of the Church of Divine Mercy in West Knoxville. Photo by Dan McWilliams

The new St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic storage facility, built by Merit Construction and dedicated on Nov. 13, is located on the campus of the Church of Divine Mercy in West Knoxville.
Photo by Dan McWilliams

“It’s wonderful that the Sisters of Mercy – they’ve been involved since the very beginning in the beautiful title of mercy, that’s their job – to show mercy, which is God’s love in the face of need, all kinds of need. So here we are celebrating this wonderful work by Sister Mariana, who is the head of it, but also on this particular occasion of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, showing that this is what the Church is all about,” Cardinal Rigali said.

“You know this is a work of the Catholic Church, but the reason that we do it is because we’re Catholics. But it’s not to serve the Catholics; it’s to serve all of God’s people. That’s what it is and we’re so delighted that we can be of service, and we’re so delighted that we have the Sisters of Mercy to make this project work. This is in the tradition of the Church and very much what Jesus had in mind because Jesus, in the New Testament, went around doing good, helping people in need. He preached the Gospel, he spoke about his Father in heaven, he told us how to get to heaven, and part of the way of getting to heaven was to help people in need,” Cardinal Rigali added.

Following Cardinal Rigali’s blessing of the new facility, he joined Sister Mariana, Deacon Smith, Sister Mary Martha Naber, RSM, diocesan facilities manager Tom Greer, Bruce Bosse of Merit Construction, and John Geppi, who is chief financial officer of Covenant Health and a St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic board member, for the ribbon-cutting.

Sister Mariana also thanked Father Hoan Dinh, Church of Divine Mercy pastor, for his assistance with the mobile clinic ministry.

As the mobile clinic serves people in Washburn, Crab Orchard and Athens on a weekly and bi-weekly basis, Sister Mariana said she hopes the clinic, which is 40 feet in length, can expand to additional sites soon.

“Everything is in one place and now we can spend our time focused on getting out and serving people and not running around Knoxville figuring out where things are, so that’s what this building means to us today,” she said. “In many ways, this building completes, if you will, the start-up phase of the mobile clinic, and now we’re really ready to launch and get out there and start serving people more robustly.”

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