Bishop Schlert Celebrates Homeschooling Mass of Thanksgiving

"You study many subjects and many things in your academic year, but remember that while you are studying those things, our Lord is also writing in your hearts about the love He has for you," said Bishop Alfred Schlert in his homily at the Homeschooling Mass of Thanksgiving on Wednesday, May 22nd.

One hundred and thirty parents, teens, and children attended the Mass and reception that followed.

During his homily, Bishop Schlert thanked Father Kevin Bobbin, Chaplain of Nativity B.V.M. High School, Pottsville, and Chaplain for the Diocesan Homeschool Community, for ministering to the homeschooling families, and thanked Father John Maria, Pastor of St. Mary, Kutztown, for taking on the role of Vocations Director in the Diocese of Allentown.

When addressing what constitutes a truly grounded education, Bishop Schlert pointed out that it reflects the qualities of God: truth, goodness, and beauty. He emphasized that such an education not only reminds us of these divine attributes, but also helps us discover and develop the unique gifts and talents that correspond to each person’s call from God.

“We share the same work, but we all approach it from the unique gifts and perspectives that God has given us. So, that is why we say that we are uniquely created to fulfill that role,” explained Bishop Schlert.

He believes that parents' role in encouraging and dedicating time to educating their children on the truths of the Faith as handed down through tradition can, together with the Church, help youth find their God-given vocation, whether that be a holy Marriage, Priesthood, or Religious Life.

One might find that these parents uniquely answer the call of the dogmatic constitution, Lumen Gentium given by Pope Paul VI on November 21st, 1964. Pope Paul VI said, "The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state.”

When interviewed afterward, both parents and students shared those ways in which their families have thrived in education and grown closer to God and their families through their presence together at home, and their increased opportunities for daily Mass attendance and prayer.

Michele Heim, parishioner of St. Ignatius, Sinking Spring, noted that before deciding to homeschool, her family was almost never together at the same time. The transition to homeschooling "really changed the dynamics" of the household.

Camille Rebimbas, parishioner of Saint Joseph the Worker, Orefield, expressed that she loved that it gave her and her family more time together. Her kids are still involved in after-school activities, but regarding how they want their kids raised, “we can really build that up the way that we want to.”

Many families thrive through the homeschooling process, and see their kids participate in sports, go to great colleges, have successful careers, and discern their vocations well.

Formerly homeschooled, Clare Schachtes, who attends St. Charles Borromeo in Ashland with her family, felt supported in discerning a call to Religious Life. She eventually joined the Sister Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Altoona. Schachtes believes that homeschooling provided her with additional time to learn and explore her interests. It also facilitated visits from family members who were religious sisters.

The families were grateful that Bishop Schlert took the time to celebrate Mass for them. Heim thanked the Bishop for continuing to repeat messages to the youth “encouraging [them] to be in their faith, love the Lord, and listen to God and His desires for them."

Photos by Nick Chismar


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