Family Leads the Way to Restore Crosses at Carroll


By Tony DeGol

Gabe Yahner understands values and traditions at his school.

When one of the most enduring symbols of the Bishop Carroll Catholic High School family came down, he – like his fellow students – felt the void.

“It was sad to lose that piece of our identity,” he said.

Gabe is talking about the three towering crosses that stood outside the Ebensburg building for as long as anyone can remember.

Time and the elements took a toll on the structures, which had to be taken down for safety precautions about two years ago.

“They’re a symbol of BC,” noted Gabe, a senior. “When you see those three crosses, people think Bishop Carroll.”

For that reason, school administrators jumped into action to restore the tradition, and Yahner and his family were among those who were very willing to help.

Gabe’s father, Rick, owns a shop at which the team was able to convert telephone poles into crosses.

On Holy Saturday of this year, the Yahners and their helpers, with the aid of a crane truck, erected the new crosses outside the school.

“It was just a good day overall,” Gabe added.

On October 23, the school hosted a blessing and dedication of the new crosses with Father Jeremiah Lange, OSB, Pastor of Saint Nicholas Parish in Nicktown and BCCHS Chaplain, presiding.

“The crosses are a constant reminder of God’s love and the sacrifice He made for all of us,” said BCCHS Head of School Stephen Cotchen. “For them not to be here didn’t feel normal, and now that they’re there again, it just reiterates everything we’re trying to do here at Bishop Carroll.”

After the blessing, Cotchen took the opportunity to thank not only the Yahner family, but the many others who helped with the effort.

“What this shows all of us is that when we put our mind to something and work together collectively, using each of our individual talents, anything is possible,” he noted.

The new crosses are, indeed, yet another shining accomplishment for the BC family – especially for Gabe.

“May they stand strong and true for years to come in front of our splendid school,” he offered. “May God bless these crosses, and may God bless Bishop Carroll.”

Editor’s Note: More highlights of the BCCHS blessing and dedication of the crosses on Proclaim! TV on November 1 at 10:30 a.m. on WATM ABC 23.

[Photos: (Top) Head of School Stephen Cotchen; Student Gabe Yahner; Business Manager Lynn Weber; Chaplain Father Jeremiah Lange, OSB; and retired Principal Lorie Ratchford. (First and Second Inset) Crews installing the new crosses on Holy Saturday. (Third Inset) Father Jeremiah Lange, OSB, at the blessing and dedication on October 23. (Fourth Inset) The new crosses standing outside of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School.]