November 3, 2010 // Uncategorized

‘Blessed are the pure of heart’

For more photos from the all schools Mass visit the photo gallery

Fourth-grade students dressed as their favorite saints take offertory gifts to Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at the all-schools Mass at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 1. Bishop Rhoades asked the students to memorize the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

By Tim Johnson

Students gather for all-school Mass on All Saints Day
FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades asked schoolchildren of the diocese to remember this beatitude at the all-schools Mass: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.”

Schoolchildren in grades 4-8 gathered for Mass at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Monday, Nov. 1. Fourth-grade students were invited to dress as their favorite saint and sit on the main floor.

Bishop Rhoades, celebrating his first all-school Mass in Fort Wayne, was joined by 17 priests and about 3,500 students, teachers, parents, principals and chaperones.

“We are called to live the beatitudes,” Bishop Rhoades said in his homily, just as the saints lived the beatitudes in their lives. “God was the center of their lives,” Bishop Rhoades said.

He said that the sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Reconciliation, help us to be pure of heart.

“All of us are called to be saints and to be holy,” Bishop Rhoades shared with the children.

He spoke of the Scripture reading from Revelation and John’s vision of heaven with the saints — a number so large he couldn’t count. They were adoring God, and of every nation, every race, young and old. “They were men and women of the beatitudes,” Bishop Rhoades added.
He spoke of his recent pilgrimage to Rome for the canonization of St. André Bessette, a Holy Cross brother who was known for his simplicity and humility. Brother André spent many years in humble service as a doorman at a college in Montreal, but did it “with the love of Christ in his heart.” Many would come to Brother André for prayers. Brother André, who had a great devotion to St. Joseph, would then ask St. Joseph to intercede. Brother André became known as the “Miracle Man of Montreal.”

“I got to meet the pope,” Bishop Rhoades said. “He knew where Indiana was as well as Fort Wayne. And he asked me to give you his greeting and his blessing,” Bishop Rhoades told the children.

“The day after the canonization in Rome, I went on a day trip to pray for the children of our diocese in Corinaldo, where St. Maria Goretti is from.” Bishop Rhoades asked if any of the fourth-graders were dressed as St. Maria Goretti and eight students came forward.

Bishop Rhoades said that the saint was 12 years old and he asked the little “saints” if anyone knew how she died. After he received an answer that was correct, he went on to explain that a young man wanted her to commit a sin. She said “no” to him exhibiting much courage and he stabbed her 14 times. “As she lay dying the next day she forgave him — his name was Alessandro — for killing her,” Bishop Rhoades said.

Alessandro was arrested and put in prison, Bishop Rhoades related. He was sorry and repented for his sin. He even prayed to Maria, figuring she must be in heaven for what she suffered. Eventually, he was released from prison and was at the canonization ceremony for St. Maria Goretti. He also became a holy person and spent the rest of his life in a monastery.

Again, Bishop Rhoades asked the children to remember the beatitude, “Blessed be the pure of heart for they shall see God.”

Bishop Rhoades said he couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate All Saints Day than being with all of the children present. “Let’s all help one another to live the beatitudes,” he said. In fact, one way to help one another is by feeding the poor and he thanked them for having brought food for the needy to the Mass.

Students participated in the Mass as servers, gift presenters, incense bearers and in other liturgical functions including the readings and petitions. Bishop Dwenger High School students provided the musical accompaniment and choir. Bishop Luers High School students helped with parking.

Collin Quinlan, from St. Charles Borromeo, chose his school’s patron as his saint. Luke Elasser, also of St. Charles School, chose the saint after his middle name, St. Anthony de Padua. And Bryce Lothamer, dressed as St. Gregory the Great, was very honest when he admitted, “I chose my saint because I could borrow this great costume from my cousin.”

At the end of Mass, Bishop Rhoades asked if anyone had dressed as St. André Bessette. No student had selected the new saint this year, but Bishop Rhoades challenged students to come as St. André Bessette next year.

Michelle Castleman and Vince LaBarbera contributed to this story.

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