Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Diocesan Students Gather To Celebrate Catholic Schools

The Message photo by PeeWee Vasquez

On January 30 at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel welcomed students and staff from the Diocese of Evansville’s 26 Catholic schools as they gathered together to celebrate the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass.


Bishop Siegel encouraged all in attendance to pray and show gratitude for all who made sacrifices to provide for Catholic education, including both their immediate and parish families.


“Like you, I sat in the pews for many school masses,” the bishop said in his homily. “Like you, I was able to pray, have religion class and learn about our Church. It was only later that I realized how much my parents sacrificed to be able to provide a Catholic education.


“When I became a pastor of a parish I realized, too, how a parish family sacrifices to provide Catholic education as part of a parish ministry. Many of your fellow parishioners perhaps do not have children in the school, but still, they sacrifice through their offertory to help provide a Catholic education because they believe it is part of who we are; to not only worship God but also to pass on the faith.”


He reminded students from across the diocese that they, like Jesus, are called to serve; to live and share their faith with others. “Called to Serve” is the diocesan theme for the 2018 Catholic Schools Week.


“What kind of impact do we have on other people?” he asked. “Do you bring that same type of goodness, that kind of healing, forgiveness and mercy that people receive from Jesus?”


As students entered the cathedral, they offered a collection of essential products and donations to local charities. Bishop Siegel praised the efforts and encouraged them to continue to show generosity to others each and every day.


“We should give back to the lord by helping those who are less fortunate, those who don’t have the blessings we have,” he said. “How do we provide for them? With that same generosity, let us give back with kindness, generosity and our willingness to serve as Jesus served.”


Pastors and associate pastors of parishes with Catholic schools concelebrated mass with Bishop Siegel, while Deacon David Seibert and Deacon Joseph Siewers assisted. Students from throughout the diocese participated in the Mass, including a multi-school choir composed of representatives from each diocesan school.


Dr. Marie Williams, principal at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, thanked St. Benedict Cathedral Parish for hosting the annual Mass and the planning committee from Reitz Memorial for organizing the Mass with the added difficulty of missing a week of school due to snow and ice. The four high schools in the diocese rotate the responsibility of hosting the annual Catholic Schools Mass.