Joshua Schipper
Video/Digital Content/Graphic Design Producer
January 16, 2024 // Bishop

At Dwenger, Bishop Rhoades Urges Students to Carry Christ to Others

Joshua Schipper
Video/Digital Content/Graphic Design Producer

During his pastoral visit to Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne on Friday, January 12, Bishop Rhoades encouraged students to be like “Christophers” – bearers of Christ.

Hayden Fritz, a student at Bishop Dwenger whom Bishop Rhoades confirmed during the Mass he celebrated while visiting the school, had chosen St. Christopher as his confirmation name.

Photos by Joshua Schipper
Bishop Rhoades seals sophomore Hayden Fritz with the gifts of the Holy Spirit in front of his family and around 1,000 peers during a Mass celebrated on Friday, January 12.

“Hayden’s confirmation is also an opportunity for all of us to remember our own confirmation and how we are living the gifts of the Holy Spirit we received,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily. “We can ask ourselves how much we are following the exhortation of St. Paul to the Galatians, which we heard in the first reading. Paul says, ‘Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.’”

Bishop Rhoades continued to talk about Hayden’s confirmation saint and the story behind the meaning of “Christopher.”

Bishop Rhoades confirmed sophomore Hayden Fritz during the celebration of Mass at Bishop Dwenger. Fritz, sponsored by his grandfather, Paul Clemente, chose Christopher as his confirmation name.

“Hayden has chosen Christopher as his confirmation name. The name ‘Christopher’ – “Christophoros” in Greek – means “Christ-bearer,” one who carries Christ. St. Christopher is depicted in Western art carrying the Christ Child on his shoulder. This is based on a story that, St. Christopher, who was very tall, would carry people across a dangerous stream where many people had previously drowned trying to get across. The story says that at one time, when St. Christopher was carrying a child on his shoulder across the stream, the child was revealed as Jesus.”

Bishop Rhoades concluded his homily by calling on the students to be like St. Christopher, to carry Christ to others.

“That’s what the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation strengthens us to do – to bring Christ and His truth and His love to others. Hayden, may St. Christopher intercede for you today and every day, that you may always live by the Spirit and spread the love of Christ through your words and deeds as His faithful servant and disciple!”

Bishop Rhoades met with the school’s student council for lunch. There, he asked students about the school’s continued involvement with Catholic Relief Services, school dances, and the records of various athletic teams so far.

After an interview with a reporter for the Golden Trumpet, the school newspaper, Bishop Rhoades visited Tedra Lapp’s theology class, where students asked the bishop questions about how the pope was chosen. Bishop Rhoades responded that, while any Catholic male can become the pope, typically, the pope is chosen from among the clergy.

Engaging with students in a Christology class, Bishop Rhoades speaks of Christ’s two natures and singular person after asking about the students’ extra-curricular activities.

Bishop Rhoades also visited Alex Kromkowski’s Christology class. There, he spoke of Christ’s two natures, human and divine, as well as His one person. He also talked to students about the Prologue of John.

“That’s a great passage of Scripture to memorize. Did you know that in the old form of the Mass, before the Second Vatican Council, every Mass ended with the reading of the Prologue of John? Every Mass, ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ And that’s kind of amazing.”

Bishop Dwenger Expands Fun, Faith-Filled Opportunities

By Joshua Schipper

This school year, Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne has seen the expansion and introduction of various programs and offerings. Perhaps most notably, the school revealed plans for a technical academy called St. Joseph the Worker. The proposed academy, a partnership between Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers High School, would offer programs in entrepreneurship, med tech, and construction trades.

Bishop Dwenger Principal Jason Schiffli greets Bishop Rhoades as he arrives for his pastoral visit on January 12. In an interview, Schiffli said that spiritual life at Bishop Dwenger has developed significantly within the last year, especially with the introduction of lunchtime Masses.

While still in the planning stages, Bishop Dwenger Principal Jason Schiffli said he is hopeful to break ground on the facility next fall.

For students to maintain a well-rounded experience at Bishop Dwenger, the high school focuses on its “four pillars” – Academic Life, Spiritual Life, an Active Life, and a Life of Service.

Academically, Schiffli said that the high school has seen a lot of growth in its business department, which now offers numerous dual credit classes so that students can earn college credits alongside their high school credits. Schiffli said that next year, the business department hopes to offer a graduation pathway as well.

Continued success of the Mother Teresa Program, established in 2020 for students with mild and moderate needs, allows Bishop Dwenger to provide a Catholic education to those who may be unable to thrive in a traditional classroom setting. Assistant Principal Amy Johns teaches the program’s theology class.

“She loves her faith” Schiffli said. “She loves working with kids, little ones. They’re making all these fun Catholic crafts, you know, that perhaps you’d see mostly in like a fourth or fifth or sixth grade class, right? But the kids are learning about their faith through art that they’re doing; she does have a lot of fun, hands-on stuff that they’re doing. That is really cool.”

The school has continued to strengthen its spiritual pillar this year. Schiffli said he is particularly proud of increased foot traffic to the school’s Queen of All Saints Chapel.

“Throughout the day, classes are coming down to the chapel to pray. And during adoration, the chapel is getting filled up. Some of our theology teachers actually conduct classes in there where they’re talking about Scripture.”

Father Bobby Krisch, Co-Chaplain at the school, spoke of spiritual life at Bishop Dwenger as part of what makes the school a possibility.

“It’s what makes this place great, because it becomes the backdrop of everything that we do here. … God has created a world that is ordered, it can be understood, and we come to know Him here at Dwenger.”

Father Bobby Krisch proclaims the Gospel at Mass celebrated for students by Bishop Rhoades. During the homily, Bishop Rhoades encouraged the students to be “Christophers” — christbearers.

Another new offering Bishop Dwenger has implemented for its students is the opportunity for Mass during lunch periods. After carefully planning how to maintain the Eucharistic fast and a reverent yet brief liturgy, Father Krisch and fellow Co-Chaplain Father Michael Ammer began offering this opportunity to students in September.

Extra-curricular activities give students the opportunity to build bonds with their peers who have common interests, and Bishop Dwenger has expanded its offering of activities within the last several years. Schiffli said he tells freshmen coming into the school, “Make your mark,” encouraging them to participate in a variety of clubs and teams.

Among groups that students have recently formed are a baking club and a medical club. PAWS, another addition to Bishop Dwenger’s extra-curricular offering, is geared toward students interested in animal care and veterinary science.

Among the many fun activities that Bishop Dwenger hosts for its students, Schiffli pointed to a one-off event happening this school year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the annual “purse bingo” fundraiser. For around half of a day, the students can have fun at a carnival hosted by the school. Then, in the evening, families and students from the community, partner schools, and feeder schools will have the opportunity to encounter the offerings of Bishop Dwenger while also enjoying carnival games, bouncy houses, and an ice rink.

Schiffli said Bishop Dwenger has also expanded opportunities for service. While each student is required to complete 10 hours of service each semester as part of their theology classes, many students go beyond this requirement.

The Sustainable Environmental Activities Club, formed within the last several years, for example, gives students the chance to make a positive impact on the environment. The club is tasked with operating the school recycling program and Earth Week activities, and it promotes green actions by the school. Some students serve the community by tutoring children at the Euell Wilson Center, and others give their time back to Bishop Dwenger to promote fundraisers and development of the school.

For more information about enrolling at Bishop Dwenger High School, visit


Address: 300 E. Washington
Center Rd., Fort Wayne

Phone number: 260-496-4700

Founded: 1963

Number of students: 910

Nickname: Saints

Principal: Jason Schiffli


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