January 19, 2011 // Local

Bishop Rhoades visits Saint Joseph’s High School

More photos from Saint Joseph’s High School visit here.

Urges Young Catholics to Live Their Faith

By Karen Clifford

SOUTH BEND — On the first year anniversary of his installation as Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades urged students at Saint Joseph’s High School during an all-school Mass and visit to be courageous in their Catholic faith.

“I need you to stand up for your faith, defend your faith, and to live your faith,” Bishop Rhoades extolled.

During his Jan. 13 visit, Bishop Rhoades saw the fruits of the school’s Catholic identity in service endeavors, academic achievements, extensive courses of study and extracurricular activities while speaking with students, faculty and parents.

Bishop Rhoades explained to those in attendance at Mass that he chose the feast day of St. Hilary to be his installation date as bishop last year. St. Hilary is one of the 33 doctors of the Church and is also one of the Fathers of the Church. Hilary was raised by pagan parents and as a young man was searching for meaning and truth in his life.

Five years after converting to Christianity, Hilary became a bishop. It was during the 4th century that the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, divided Catholic bishops. Hilary met with other bishops and helped establish the Nicene Creed, which is the profession of faith that is still used today. He was exiled by Emperor Constantius II for nearly four years because of his belief in the divinity of Christ, but eventually was allowed to return to his home and continue his ministry.

“One thing I really liked about him was his courage. I think bishops really need courage in the world today. He proclaimed the truth with love,” Bishop Rhoades emphasized.

“My motto as bishop comes from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians where he says, ‘Let us proclaim truth in charity.’ The core of our Catholic faith is about a person and that person is Jesus Christ,” Bishop Rhoades continued.

At the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Rhoades received a spiritual bouquet card reflecting prayers for him by students. In addition, he received a handmade ceramic cross made by art teacher Paul Kuharic.

While visiting Andy Oross’ theology class, student Claire Kucela asked Bishop Rhoades to explain why there was a need for a new translation of the Mass. The bishop responded that Pope John Paul II noticed that various phrases in the English Mass did not have the equivalent translation from the original Latin. “For example when the priest says, ‘The Lord be with you,’ we answer and ‘also with you.’ In other countries around the world the response is ‘And with thy Spirit.’ We are going to start using that as well,” Bishop Rhoades explained.

Bishop Rhoades challenged Josh Swaim’s apologetics class to defend their faith when students are asked questions about Catholicism. One student told the bishop she is frequently asked by her non-Catholic friends why she needed to go to a priest to confess sins. Bishop Rhoades answered that the best way to respond to questions is to quote Scripture, and in this case quoting John 20:19-23 on the forgiveness of sins.
As the bishop toured the school, it was apparent that service, extracurricular and academic achievements were all a part of the high school’s overall success. Two areas that showcase the school’s focus on outreach include student service hours and an after school prayer blanket ministry.

According to Campus Ministry coordinator Tami Goy, over 16,600 service hours were given by students during the 2009-2010 school year. There are over 12,000 service hours for the 2010-2011 school year thus far.

Theology teacher Jeanette Mckew, who leads the after school prayer blanket ministry, explained that the purpose of the group is to offer our prayers and comfort to those people who are seriously ill, or facing a tragedy in their life. “It is a means for us to let them know we are praying for them. We give them the prayer blanket that students make and the members promise to pray for them daily.”

She added that a prayer card is inserted inside of every blanket and that each tied blanket is blessed by a priest.

Achievement in sports activities were on display for this year’s tennis, soccer, football and cross country teams. The girls’ tennis team won the state championship, the girls’ soccer team was also state champions and was ranked seventh in the nation, the football team was runner-up in the state championship and the boys’ cross country team placed eighth at state competition.

Academic competition was spotlighted by the school’s Quiz Bowl team’s league championship, and the Fed Challenge Bowl’s national championship last May in Washington D.C.

For Saint Joseph’s High School principal Susan Richter, the combination of academic excellence, Catholic identity and civic education, is best exemplified in the school’s national selection as a top 50 Catholic School for the past four consecutive years. The school is only one of two schools recognized in Indiana this year and the only one from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

For Bishop Rhoades, the visit capped an extraordinary year as bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. As he thanked everyone at the Mass who prepared for his visit he asked the students for one more request. “Please continue to pray for me and I will continue to pray for you.”

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