Erika Barron
Advertising Account Executive
February 21, 2023 // Bishop

Learning to Lead and Serve as Saints at Pastoral Visit to St. Joseph Catholic School in Fort Wayne

Erika Barron
Advertising Account Executive

Monday, Feb. 13, was a very special day for the students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Fort Wayne. Not only would Bishop Rhoades soon be arriving for a pastoral visit, but he would be bringing with him the relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel González García. Students, teachers, staff, and parishioners gathered to await their arrival.

The day began with the celebration of Mass. Concelebrating with Bishop Rhoades was Father Kevin Bauman, Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, with Deacon Orlando Miranda-Figueroa serving alongside.

During his homily, Bishop Rhoades spoke on the lives of the saints whose relics were present. These two saints, he said, deeply loved Jesus, present in the Holy Eucharist.

After being assigned to his first parish, Father Manuel González García found the church to be empty and abandoned. He heard Jesus speaking to him from the dusty, cobweb covered tabernacle, asking if he too would abandon Him. Father González García knew he could not leave Jesus and dedicated his ministry to fostering the love of the Eucharist in others.

On Monday, Feb.13, Bishop Rhoades visited St. Joseph School in Fort Wayne, Indiana for a Mass and his annual pastoral visit. Concelebrating with bishop are Pastor Father Kevin Bauman and Deacon Orlando Miranda-Figueroa.


“His ministry had begun at an abandoned church and tabernacle and his ministry bore much good fruit everywhere he served as a priest and then as a bishop. It was a challenging time for the Church in Spain, and he led the people with great faith and love. He pointed people to Jesus in the Eucharist, like St. John pointed Peter to Jesus on the shore and said: ‘It is the Lord,’” said Bishop Rhoades, harkening back to the day’s Gospel reading.

When talking about Blessed Carlo Acutis, Bishop said, “I wasn’t surprised to read that Carlo Acutis had a close spiritual relationship with St. John, the beloved disciple who rested his head on Jesus’ heart at the Last Supper and was the first to recognize the Risen Lord at the Sea of Tiberias. Carlo lived and died as a beloved disciple of Jesus.” Bishop Rhoades went on to explain how Blessed Carlo loved the saints, went to daily Mass, and prayed a daily rosary. While Carlo was very young, people around him noticed his extraordinary love of Jesus, especially in the Eucharist. This love led him to create an online Eucharistic Miracles database, which has been seen all over the world. Blessed Carlo was also renowned for his love of the poor and suffering … often saving up his allowance to buy sleeping bags and hot drinks for the homeless. He was always a friend to the lonely. After Carlos’ death of an aggressive form of Leukemia, the first miracle attributed to his Sainthood was the healing of a little 4-year-old boy from a disease known as Annular Pancreas. The little boy was cured after praying before the very relic present that day at St. Joseph. After Mass and throughout the day, the children were able to venerate the relics.

Bishop Rhoades began his classroom visits, escorted by principal Cristy Jordan, with the 7th-grade class. They were in the middle of their morality studies with Mr. DiFilippo. Here, Bishop Rhoades and a student looked up Blessed Carlo’s Eucharistic Miracles website database, he answered questions, and posed for a group photo with the class.

During his pastoral visit to St. Joseph, Bishop Rhoades visited many classrooms, answered questions, and gave impromptu lessons. The students and staff alike were very excited to share in this special day.

He then moved on to the 8th-graders, where he shared in a lively discussion with the students about their confirmation saints. One student shared, “I chose St. Sebastian for his bravery.” The 8th-graders also asked Bishop Rhoades about places he had traveled, meeting St. Mother Theresa, and how one becomes a bishop.

While meeting with the 6th-graders, several students asked about the clothing a bishop wears.

During his visit to the 2nd-grade classroom, Bishop Rhoades gave an impromptu lesson on gravity and the moon landing. The teacher in that class, Ms. Jones, is also the 2023 Christ the Teacher awardee for the school.

Before lunch, Bishop Rhoades met with the preschoolers and kindergarteners. After knocking on the door, Bishop asked if the students knew who he was. With sheer delight, a little boy exclaimed, “a Pirate!” Bishop Rhoades laughed and assured the little boy that he was not a pirate, but if he was, he would be a friendly pirate. Another child shared that when he is playing at home, he pretends to be the Pope. Bishop Rhoades prayed the Our Father and St. Michael prayer with the little children who were very excited to show him that they had memorized the prayers.

During lunch, Bishop chatted with students in grades 3 and 4, who were especially inquisitive, asking him about the creation of the world, Adam and Eve, and of course, dinosaurs.

St. Joseph Catholic School is located just south of downtown Fort Wayne. Home to a diverse population of students, class sizes are limited to 24 students to maintain more one on one learning time. Both the school and the parish have a close relationship with the community around them, providing community dinners, health fairs, and even adult education. It is perfectly fitting for a school with the motto of “Learning to lead and serve as Saints.”

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