‘Thank God for the gift and blessing of Catholic schools’

Holy Family School, Nazareth began the final school day of Catholic Schools Week Jan. 30 with Mass celebrated by Bishop Alfred Schlert. The Bishop, who was scheduled to celebrate with them last year but was snowed out, fulfilled his promise to be with them this year.

The school, which is home to 203 students in grades K through 8, made many preparations to celebrate this special Mass with Bishop Schlert. Showing their Catholic identity and willingness to serve the students were altar servers, choir members and lectors for the Mass, which was also open to parishioners and family members.

During his homily, Bishop Schlert said, “We are here today to thank God for the gift and blessing of Catholic schools.”

He talked of the many people who make sacrifices so that the students can go to Mass and hear about Jesus every day in school.

“In the readings today we hear that God works in our lives quietly,” he said. “Each day something is happening to the seed that is placed in our hearts. The best place for that seed to grow is in your family and in your church and school.

“That is why Catholic school is so important. You may not always feel it or see it, but Jesus is here, and he is working.”

He continued, “We do our best through our Catholic schools to help you listen and learn how to pray because that is also how we figure out what Jesus is calling us to do. If we don’t talk to Jesus in prayer, we don’t know what to do with our life.”

Near the end of Mass the eighth-graders received their class pins, which are traditionally presented each year at Mass on Friday of Catholic Schools Week, this year Jan. 26-Feb. 1. The pins are given as a memorial of their last year at Holy Family School.

Father Joseph Tobias, pastor of Holy Family Parish, concelebrated the Mass with the Bishop and helped present the pins to the eighth grade students saying, “Pins have always served as something special to set people apart. These pins celebrate the fact that you are part of a special group – the class of 2020 from Holy Family School.”

Gianna Caiazzo, an eighth grade student and president of the Student Council said, “It was great to have the Bishop here when we got our class pins, and it was nice to hear what he had to say to us. It made the week special. I love all the activities that we have during Catholic Schools Week. It is a good way to get everyone together and to have fun.”

Principal Christine Bruce said Catholic Schools Week is an exciting time. The weeklong activities began with a prayer service, which was very important to set the tone for the week.

“We are all very excited when the Bishop comes to celebrate Mass with us. This gives our students an opportunity to do some public speaking and a great time for them to express their faith,” she said.

She also noted that a celebration of faith is important, but just as important is celebrating the students’ gifts and talents. Students participated in many activities and presentations throughout the week to make it special.

“This has been a wonderful week for the teachers and staff as well,” she said. “It is a great way to celebrate our faith and Catholic education.”

Bishop Schlert closed by saying, “I am very proud of our Catholic schools, the teachers, administration and all those who make a sacrifice for their children to be here. We try every day through our schools to help our young generation to know Christ, to love Christ and to serve Christ.

“That is our whole purpose. What I see when I go into our schools is a love of Christ and bringing Christ to the students around them.”


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