Ask students in Our Lady of Sorrows School what they enjoyed most about Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., visiting March 6, and they agree: having the opportunity to meet and learn more about his role.

“I was surprised to hear the Bishop say he was friends with the Pope,” Max Roberts, a fifth-grader in the Hamilton school, said as he thought about the homily the Bishop gave during Mass.

“I never knew that,” Roberts said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop visits Our Lady of Sorrows School

Addison Rhodes, also in the fifth grade, was enlightened to hear Bishop O’Connell’s description of a bishop, how he is a successor to the Apostles and how he is a shepherd. Rhodes said it was especially “cool” when Bishop O’Connell pointed out that “if he is the shepherd, then we are his sheep, we are followers of Jesus.”

Bishop O’Connell’s visit began with the Mass he celebrated for the students, teachers and staff, as well as parents and fellow parishioners. Joining the Bishop in the sanctuary were Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, and Father Pierre-Louis Joseph, parochial vicar, who concelebrated .

“How wonderful it is to see you,” Bishop O’Connell said as he told about the various items a bishop wears, including the mitre (hat) and the staff (crozier) he was carrying. He then spoke about the responsibility of being the Diocese’s shepherd and to have the students among his sheep.

Turning to the Lenten season, Bishop O’Connell asked the students questions such as the number of days in Lent and some of the things “you do differently.” The responses ranged from “not eating meat on Fridays” to “giving up something,” such as a favorite food.

“Lent is a special time to show God you are serious and that  you want to be close to him and show your love for Jesus,” said the Bishop, who reminded the students that Lent leads to Easter, which is a time to rejoice “because Jesus rose from the dead, and he wants the same for all of us.”

After Mass, the Bishop toured the school, visiting classrooms to chat with students and hear about what they were learning. A few of his tour highlights included the music class where several fifth-graders, under the direction of music teacher Jay Kemmey, played a rendition of “Hail Holy Queen” using chimes.  The Bishop responded by telling about his love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and encouraged the students to pray to the Blessed Mother as well.  The Bishop also visited the second-grade class to talk about their upcoming First Holy Communion in the spring. He spent a few minutes happily reading the Dr. Seuss book, “Green Eggs and Ham” to a group of third and fourth-graders as they dined on green eggs and ham.

“We are absolutely honored to have Bishop O’Connell here,” principal Maureen Tuohy said.

“It’s such a blessing that he took time out to be with us, so inspiring for him to say Mass and interact with the kids,” she said, adding that when the Bishop in his homily said, “‘I am your shepherd,’ that’s exactly what the children needed to hear. He showed us who he truly is.”