January 13, 2016 // Uncategorized

Dwenger students encouraged to ‘live life on a higher plane’

By Tim Johnson

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Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades offers a pocketsize book of the Gospels and Psalms to each student at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. He encouraged the students to read from the book every day “to live life on a higher plane.” It was the bishop’s Christmas gift to the students as the Mass fell in the Christmas season on Jan. 8.

FORT WAYNE — “Live life on a higher plane” was the overarching message offered by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades to the 1,069 students plus staff and faculty of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. The bishop made the first of four diocesan high school pastoral visits on Jan. 8.

Bishop Rhoades used the crozier, on loan through the University of Notre Dame, that once belonged to Bishop Joseph Dwenger, second bishop of the diocese for whom the school is named.

Still celebrating the Christmas season, which ended on Jan. 10 with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Bishop Rhoades presented a gift to the students — “The Pocket Gospels and Psalms,” which is published by Our Sunday Visitor. Pope Francis has urged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized book of the Gospels and to read it often to meditate on Jesus’ words and deeds.

Bishop Rhoades encouraged the students to do the same — read and reflect on the Gospels and psalms daily. Bishop Rhoades said this gift, which he personally presented to each student after Mass, was a reminder to each to live life on a higher plain.

To live life on a higher plain, Bishop Rhoades told the students not to live their lives superficially. He asked them to go deeper to experience the joy and happiness that God wills for them.

Boredom and sadness, seeking pleasure in the wrong places were examples of living superficially, and trying to find happiness in things that really do not bring fulfillment can actually lead to harm and destruction.

Rather, Bishop Rhoades told the student to “live life on a higher plain, live in the freedom of the Gospel,” he said.

“When we live in union with the Lord, in His grace,” he said, “… we experience liberation, … we experience true happiness.”

He said the school’s motto; “citizens of two worlds” was another way of saying living life on a higher plain. “In other words, we live not only as citizens of this world, but citizens of heaven,” the bishop said. “You live differently.”

Living life on the higher plain is about doing good, doing the will of the Father, the bishop emphasized.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades walks to a classroom visit with Bishop Dwenger High School Principal Jason Schiffli.

Relating to the day’s Gospel, the bishop said that “if we don’t want to live life superficially, we need to withdraw to a deserted place and pray, have that relationship with God.”

To live life on a higher plain, there are two necessary things, the bishop noted: “acts of mercy and love, giving of oneself — and this flows from prayer, from our relationship with God, our relationship with Jesus.”

The Mass served as a memorial Mass for the late Fred Tone, beloved past principal, coach and dear friend to Bishop Dwenger High School. Tone died on Dec. 29, surrounded by his family and was laid to rest on Jan. 3.

Bishop Rhoades spoke how Tone lived his life on a higher plain. “His life was about his faith, and his family and Bishop Dwenger High School,” Bishop Rhoades said. Despite his struggles with fighting cancer, he still had joy. His witness at the recent celebration of the school’s state football title was about the Bishop Dwenger community. “He lived life on a higher plain even though his body was being ravaged by the disease of cancer. His goodness is giving of self, so what an example he is for all of us.”

Prior to Tone’s death, Indiana State Representatives Bob Morris and Dennis Zent secured The Sagamore of the Wabash Award, Indiana highest award. At the conclusion of the Mass, Morris, Zent and Rep. Liz Brown on behalf of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence presented the award posthumously to Tone’s wife Sandy and son John, a physical education teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School.

Also at the Mass, two students received the sacrament of Confirmation and one received her first Holy Communion. They included sophomores Brook Griffith, the candidate for full Communion in the Church, and Madeliene Barondeau who was confirmed.

On his tour of the school, Bishop Rhoades visited the theology classes of Joseph Garcia where the students are studying the Great Thinkers of the Church and Jessica Hayes’ honors theology class.

After lunch with the Student Council, Bishop Rhoades posed with council members, from left, Nick Houk, Sierra Tippmann, Lily Anderson, Kailyn Burns, Savannah Schenkel and Quinton Davis.

Between the visit to the classes, Bishop Rhoades had lunch with the Bishop Dwenger Student Council members. He also met with the school’s theology teachers and administration.


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