BANGOR---When Bishop Robert P. Deeley visited with younger students at the St. Mary campus (kindergarten through grade three) of All Saints Catholic School in Bangor on Wednesday, March 2, activities included reading Hop on Pop to the kindergarteners in celebration of Dr. Seuss Day, being treated to displays of original artwork, and answering a variety of thoughtful questions excitedly posed by third graders, including what animal he would be if he could choose.
“A giraffe,” said the bishop to the laughing children. “That way I could look ahead and see if there was any traffic!”
But when the maturity and critical thinking levels naturally rose along with the age of the students at the school’s St. John campus (grades four through eight), so did the seriousness of the students’ questions.
“How do you know God is real?” asked a sixth grader in the school’s gymnasium during a question and answer session with the bishop.
“We experience God,” explained the bishop. “I think that the world shows us that it comes from somewhere. I can’t think of any other reason other than there is a God. The other piece that I think is important is that I worry about what we would be like if there wasn’t a God. There is a God who watches over all of us and reminds us that we have to care for one another. In experiencing God, we are also reminded that we are not God.”
A seventh grader asked the bishop what Heaven would be like.
“In Heaven, we will be in the presence of pure love, which is God,” the bishop responded. “We will want for nothing and we will be happy. We sometimes think of that in earthly terms, like ‘Great, I’ll have all the ice cream I want,’ but it’s a different state of being. I’ll be happy to get there, if that’s what God wants, because I know I will be happy.”
During his time with the students, the bishop also discussed the significance of attending All Saints and described what sets Catholic schools apart from others.
“Becoming the person that God wants you to be is the mission and goal of this Catholic school,” said the bishop. “It’s the mission and goal of the Church. So your education in math, science, history, and all of those things, is not separate from your religion. Trust each other and respect each other because God has created us to love. That is the character of this school.”
Fr. Timothy Nadeau, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor, Fr. Brad Morin, parochial vicar at the parish, and Joseph Gallant, principal of All Saints, accompanied Bishop Deeley on his visit Wednesday. Before leaving, the students presented the bishop with an All Saints sports bag and coffee cup among other gifts.