Bishop Deeley Kicks Off Maine Catholic Schools Week with Opening Mass in Brunswick
BRUNSWICK---“It is a time in which we lift up with gratitude the importance of our schools, and the significant contribution they make to the church and the community.”
The words of Bishop Robert Deeley were met with smiles from students, staff, families, and parishioners at St. John the Baptist Church in Brunswick on Sunday morning, January 29, as the bishop presided at the opening Mass for Maine Catholic Schools Week (January 29-February 4), a time in which Catholic schools across the state, particularly the special people who serve in and attend them, celebrate the energy and faith-filled hope the schools represent through special events and fun activities.
The setting for Sunday’s Mass (many pictures below) was an appropriate one, just a 50-foot walk from one of those special institutions, St. John’s Catholic School, which has been in existence since 1882. St. John’s students served in various parts of the Mass, including as lectors, cantors, and gift bearers, and the magnificent children’s choir earned applause and praise from the bishop.
The academic, spiritual, and social benefits of a Catholic education in Maine have been documented and favorably recognized for well over a century. Catholic schools are responsible for countless service projects benefitting the wider community, the passing on of the beauty of faith, and outstanding students who routinely fill the top ten student lists at public high schools following their education in Catholic elementary and middle schools.
“The purpose of our schools is to educate the whole person of the children who participate in these centers of educational excellence,” Bishop Deeley told the large assembly during his homily. “They are not just minds to be formed or technicians to be trained. They are human persons of mind, body, and spirit who, for the fullness of their education, need to see a way to balance the incredible gift that each of them is as a human person with a way of life that reflects their own value and that of their neighbors.”
The bishop said that in addition to the noted academic excellence in Catholic schools, a full education to prepare young people for life also includes values, discipline, and service.
“Our schools strive to help our young people to see the ties they have with others, and the responsibility they have for each other. In our Catholic schools, we work to help our parents in their duty to foster the faith of their children.“
Bishop Deeley thanked teachers, staff members, parents, grandparents, and the parish communities for their shared support and belief in Catholic schools. He added that St. John’s motto of “Exceptional Education Anchored by Faith” is one that would suit any Catholic school in Maine.
“That combination is the heart of every Catholic school, and it is a valuable resource for the future of our children and the Church,” he said. “Our schools, with the dedication and sacrifice that makes them possible, are certainly an example of the Gospel of service brought to life with joy and happiness. We are grateful for them, and for all the ways in which Jesus’ gifts to us help us to bring hope to our world.”
The Mass was concelebrated by Father Phil Tracy, pastor of All Saints Parish of which St. John’s Catholic School is a part, and Monsignor Marc Caron, vicar general for the diocese. Deacon John Murphy of All Saints Parish also assisted at the Mass.
To read about all the special events scheduled for Maine Catholic schools this week, visit here.