ST. CHARLES—Bishop David Malloy celebrated the opening Mass for Catholic Schools Week at St. Patrick Parish on Crane Road, here.
During his homily he explained the origins of Catholic schools.
“This goes all the way back 130 years ago when all the bishops of the United States went to a meeting,” he said. “They were very concerned about our young people, because everyone was being forced to go to the government schools, where they were not teaching how to take care of their souls. They were trying to (pull) us away from our Catholic faith, and they said … what we need to do is put a lot of effort into creating a system of schools where we can share our Catholic faith with our young people so each generation knows the faith, has the opportunity to learn and has the opportunity to pray.”
Bishop Malloy recognized the sacrifice of many of people to keep the schools going over the years.
“So for 130 years your parents, and your grandparents, and your great-grandparents and all types of people that you don’t even know, sacrificed.
“They give up other things so they can contribute their time, their money, and their effort,” he said.
He explained that sometimes they built schools; sometimes they contracted others to build schools.
“Volunteers, the parents, they did things to give ... you a chance (to be) in a Catholic school, and it is a big sacrifice.”
He invited the students to thank their parents, teachers and principal for their part in ensuring their Catholic education.
At the end of the Jan. 30 Mass, students presented Bishop Malloy with three gifts.
They gave him a shield with symbols from his seal and that of the Rockford Diocese, a banner with his motto in Latin, Fides, Spes, Caritas (Faith, Hope, Charity), and a spritual bouquet.
They also wished him a happy birthday, which he celebrated Feb. 3.
Each grade received a virtue prayer to offer up “for bishop’s intentions,” as they asked “God to continue to bless” him with: kindness, compassion, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, counsel, piety, fear of the Lord and fortitude.
Bishop Malloy asked the students if they watched the carpool karaoke video with Father Kyle Manno, parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish, and Father Keith Romke, diocesan director of vocations. The video has had more than half a million views on YouTube.
After younger students returned to their classes, seventh- and eighth-graders asked Bishop Malloy directly or through Msgr. Stephen Knox, pastor of St Patrick, about different topics. Questions included:
How the video was made?
What is bishop’s favorite saint?
Why are there no clocks by the altar in many parishes?
After the bishop responded to their questions, the older students also returned to class.
Dani Coxworth, a St. Patrick student, said a Catholic school education, “teaches you discipline, and not just that, it is teaching you your faith. And in most schools if you talk about your faith, you are sent to the principal’s office or you are kicked out of the school. Here you are allowed to talk about religion and everything you want.”
Celeste Phelan, religious education teacher for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students, said it “touches me deeply to have the bishop, who is representative of the Apostles (here).”
Similar Masses took place throughout the diocese during Catholic Schools Week. Bishop Malloy was able to celebrate another Mass Feb. 1 at St. Peter Parish in Geneva.