Aurora Deanery Celebrates Eighth-Graders, High Schoolers
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
April 25, 2019
AURORA—Bishop David Malloy accepted an invitation from “months ago” from Father William Etheredge, superintendent and principal of Aurora Central Catholic High School.
It was an invitation to celebrate a Mass for eighth-graders from throughout the Aurora and DeKalb deaneries and for ACC students on April 11 in the ACC gym.
Priests from the deanery concelebrated the Mass, assisted by deacons from Aurora Deanery parishes. 
Knights of Columbus were the bishop’s honor guards at the Mass attended by about 1,000 students.
Eighth-grade students came from Annunciation BVM, St. Peter, St. Rita, Pope St. John Paul II Academy, and Holy Angels, all in Aurora; St. Peter in Geneva, St. Mary in DeKalb and St. Mary in Sycamore.
In his homily, the bishop reflected on Catholic education and the sacrifices made by “the donors, by the parents (and) by the teachers. We have a lot of investment in every one of you who is here. 
“The thing that we want more than anything,” he continued, is “your soul, eternally happy with Christ.”
“We always celebrate (near) the end of the year,” said Father Etheredge of the deanery Mass.
“We recognize eighth-grade students, and we recognize the seniors who are here, those who are going to graduate,” he said. 
It is a tradition “in the area (and) the bishop is always kind to celebrate this Mass. It is a wonderful celebration.”
Abigail Collins, an ACC senior, said she liked the Mass because “It was good. It was all inclusive. My little sister was here (and) it was very fun to see her and be in her shadow.” 
With this Mass she felt the “appreciation not only for us but the eighth-graders as well.”
Bishop Malloy said, “It was a great opportunity to get together with the students from Aurora Central and all of the eighth-graders from the Aurora (Deanery) graduating from Catholic grade schools (and) to encourage them and especially to try to help them strengthen their faith and ... the lessons that they are learning in Catholic education (as) they go forward.”  
Aurora Central Catholic students welcomed students from the other schools to share a lunch of hot dogs, chips and cookies after Mass.