March 28, 2012 // Local

Bishop visits Saint Joseph’s High School on feast day

Click on the photo gallery for more photos from the visit.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrates Mass March 19 at Saint Joseph’s High School. The school will relocate to a new campus on Notre Dame Ave. in the fall.

SOUTH BEND — The feast of St. Joseph is a special occasion at Saint Joseph’s High School, but it took on an even deeper meaning this year. This was the last time a bishop would celebrate the Eucharist at the high school’s 1441 N. Michigan St. location. Students are expected to resume the 2012-13 academic year this fall in the new building on Notre Dame Avenue.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated Mass in the Alumni Gymnasium with over 800 students, parents, faculty and staff on March 19. Concelebrants included Father Terry Coonan, Holy Cross Father Thomas Lemos and Father Daryl Rybicki. Holy Cross Brother John Paige, president of Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, also assisted.

“Happy St. Joseph’s day,” was the greeting given by Bishop Rhoades at the beginning of the celebration. “I can’t think of a better place that I would want to be at today.”

At the beginning of Mass, Bishop Rhoades talked about the new construction project, specifically the new chapel. He discussed with the students some of the parts of the new structure that he helped design and from where some of his ideas stemmed.

“I think it will be one of the most beautiful chapels in the United States. I encourage you to stop in there and pray a lot,” Bishop Rhoades told the congregation. He talked in depth about the design of the sanctuary, the statues he chose and the stained glass windows that will be installed.

“The six beautiful stained glass windows are of the life of Joseph,” Bishop Rhoades reported.

In his homily, Bishop Rhoades focused on the Gospel reading at the moment when Mary and Joseph left Jesus behind and found him in the temple preaching.

“Mary probably thought Jesus was with Joseph and Joseph thought Jesus was with Mary,” noted Bishop Rhoades. He talked about the relationship of parents and children and what this must have felt like to the Holy Family.

“His vocation was to become our Redeemer. What came first was not His obligation to His parents but this obligation to be Redeemer,” said Bishop Rhoades during his homily.

“What’s most important is doing God’s will and following God’s will,” said Bishop Rhoades to the students as they begin to look at their own vocations in life. “Think of all the lessons you can learn from St. Luke’s Gospel. Always keep the will of God as your number one and the top priority of your life.”

After Mass, Bishop Rhoades had the chance to visit several classrooms and speak with the students. In one of the theology classes he spoke to the students about prayer and how he personally prays.

Saint Joseph’s High School campus minister Tami Goy holds dear memories of the past and hope for the future of the school. “The liturgical celebration with Bishop Rhoades on Monday was bittersweet. It was the last Mass that he will celebrate with us in this building,” she said, adding, “It is difficult to leave a building in which we have celebrated so many liturgies and has such strong traditions associated with it. However as we move on to a new building we will take with us the spirit of all that we celebrate when we gather together for Mass. It is always a special day when the bishop visits and it will continue to be in the new building.”

Saint Joseph’s High School Principal Susan Richter agreed. “Our last celebration for the feast of Saint Joseph was a joyous one with Bishop Rhoades. Celebrating the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith, on the feast of our patron, St. Joseph, as one school community in our gym seemed appropriate and fitting. Our school exists because of our faith, and being able to have Bishop Rhoades as our main celebrant for the last feast of St. Joseph in Alumni Gym was special and memorable,” she said.

When asked what Saint Joseph’s has to offer Principal Richter said confidently, “Saint Joseph’s High School is a Catholic school dedicated to transforming the students in heart and mind. Creating a family environment with a dedicated and highly professional staff, the school encourages all students to achieve success.”

She continued, “Our school community strives to inspire students to promote justice, seek knowledge and attain goals set at the beginning of their high school career. Committed to achieving excellence in academics, faith and service, Saint Joseph’s High School provides opportunities for students to share their passions in and out of the classroom and live their faith daily. Our students are exceptional young people who understand the importance of spreading the Gospel and living a life that honors Christ, the Master Teacher.”

March 19 was a special day for the Saint Joseph’s community and an event that the class of 2012 will never forget.

Principal Richter said of the day, “I hope Bishop Rhoades left Saint Joseph’s High School believing that our students are grounded in their faith, prepared to live a life filled with compassion and love for those in need.”

She added, “May our students feel Jesus in their hearts and understand their role in the building of the kingdom of God. I want Bishop Rhoades to believe that Saint Joe students understand the importance of protecting the dignity of life and supporting the belief that God is active because God is love. May the mission of Saint Joe continue to be fulfilled, and may God’s work continue to sustain our faith community.”

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