Bishop celebrates Catholic Schools Week in song with St. Veronica, St. Aloysius students

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., preaches a homily on the benefits of Catholic schools Jan. 28 in St. Veronica Church, Howell. John Batkowski photo

By Jennifer Mauro | Managing Editor

“Have you heard the song, ‘Baby Shark?’” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., asked dozens of youngsters gathered Jan. 28 in St. Veronica Church, Howell.

“Yes,” they said shyly but enthusiastically as the Bishop led them in song: “Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.”

“Alright,” he said with a smile. “We’re going to change the words. ‘Catholic schools, doo doo doo doo doo doo. Catholic schools, doo doo doo doo doo doo.”

Photo Gallery: Catholic Schools Week Mass with Bishop in Howell

He was met with giggles and applause as two school communities – St. Veronica, Howell, and St. Aloysius, Jackson, which will undergo a merger at the end of the school year – joined for a Catholic Schools Week Mass on the campus of what will become Mother Seton Academy. The pastors of both parish communities, Father John Bambrick of St. Aloysius and Father Vincent Euk of St. Veronica, were among those who concelebrated. Also in attendance was the staff of the diocesan Department of Catholic Schools.

“Catholic school is cool,” the Bishop said. “There is no better place for us to be as we grow up. There’s something special about what we learn in a Catholic school. And you know why? We learn about God. We learn about Church. We learn there is more to our young lives than what we see. We learn about what we believe. We learn about our God who created the world. We study why he created the world. We learn how we should live together.

“In a Catholic school, our family really becomes bigger and includes all the boys and girls who are sitting with us here,” he said, looking over the pews, youth from St. Aloysius and St. Veronica schools sitting side by side.

“You know, boys and girls, when we are young, we really only think about the present. But Catholic school teaches us more about just today. It talks about what happened yesterday … Why? So that the present can lead us to the future and make it good and happy and bright. The future begins now, and if we live now, today, with faith in God, the world will become a better place tomorrow.”

Of the two schools, he said, “We’re not only celebrating the things of our past. We are celebrating a great new future that will begin this summer as our two schools join together to become a new Catholic school. … it’s exciting to make something new. It’s exciting to make something different. … In the weeks and months ahead, great things will happen. It’s exciting that our Catholic school takes the best of our past, in Jackson and here in Howell, and our present and begins a new future.”

That was something students could agree with.

Dominic Lambusta, a seventh-grader in St. Aloysius School, and Isabella Nobera, seventh-grader in St. Veronica School, Howell, were among the young choristers who sang for the Mass.

Nobera said it was important to come together “so we get to know each other before seeing each other in classes. We can say, ‘Oh, I know you from the Catholic Schools Mass.’”

Lambusta said Catholic School Week “makes me think of how lucky we are to be in a Catholic school and have the opportunity to be in religion class, which I really like.”

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