Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
COVINGTON, La. -- Inside a facility dedicated to him Thursday afternoon, students, faculty and parents met for a special prayer service to mourn the passing of Archbishop Philip Hannan.
For faculty and students at Archbishop Hannan High School in Covington, the service capped an emotional day.
"A lot of us found out before 6:30 this morning, so we were prepared as we came into school this morning to tell the students," said Leila Benoit, a faculty member and director of Campus Ministry.
"He was obviously a really big part of this school,” said Cameron Dupuy, a senior. “He meant a lot to everyone here -- our namesake and everything -- it's definitely hitting home."
Hannan High School moved to the Northshore from St. Bernard Parish after Hurricane Katrina.
Throughout the difficult transition, faculty members say Hannan remained involved with the school, attending important events and keeping up his interaction with students.
"He just had this friendly, welcoming vibe with him and that's still shown at Hannan,” said senior Shelby Guinot. “At Hannan, any student who comes here, everybody says, this is a welcoming school. You feel like you're at home here."
Over the last couple years, though, Hannan's health problems began to cut back on the opportunities for students to meet with him.
Now -- even with the finality of his passing -- the school vows to move forward, keeping Hannan's beliefs and teachings a strong focus in all aspects of life here.
"Everyone really strives to live out his motto of 'Charity leads to perfection', in everything that we do, in the classroom, with our service projects, on the athletic field," Benoit said.
Junior Rebecca Sigler agreed.
"His legacy and his beliefs are manifested in our school and in each of our students with incoming classes. Upperclassmen teach them his ways, his charity, and we definitely continue to uphold that," she said.