Each year, I thoroughly enjoy my official visits to our wonderful four diocesan high schools. I also enjoy “un-official” visits for various events. I try to visit Saint Joseph High School in South Bend on March 19th every year, the feast of the school’s patron, Saint Joseph. It is a special day of celebration there. I have been thinking for some time that it would be good for each of our high schools to have a patron saint and feast day. I have decided, after consultation with the principals, to name patron saints for all the high schools. The titles of the schools remain the same.
Of course, Saint Joseph is the patron saint of Saint Joseph High School. Both the name of the school and the title of the chapel is “Saint Joseph.” I believe that the devotion of the Holy Cross Brothers, who originally staffed the high school, to Saint Joseph influenced the naming of the school. The feast day of the high school, therefore, is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary, on March 19th.
It is clear that the patron saint of Marian High School is the Blessed Virgin Mary, since the title of the school is “Marian.” However, the school is not named with any particular title of Mary nor does the school have a particular patronal feast day. I have, therefore, decided to designate Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Lourdes, as the patron of Marian High School. The feast day of the high school will be celebrated each year on February 11th, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. I have seen the wonderful devotion of young people to Our Lady of Lourdes, particularly at World Youth Day a few years ago when we spent a few days in Lourdes prior to the event in Madrid. Saint Bernadette, a teenager when Our Lady appeared to her, is a wonderful example for our youth.
Bishop Luers High School was originally staffed by the Franciscan Order. The community has always had a special devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi, therefore, I have decided to designate Saint Francis of Assisi as the patron of Bishop Luers High School. The feast day of Bishop Luers High School will be celebrated each year on October 4th, the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi. The new chapel, presently being planned, will also have the title of Saint Francis of Assisi. The popular Saint Francis is an ideal role model for our young people who inspires all to live the Gospel of Jesus in simplicity and humility.
Bishop Dwenger High School students and teams are called “the Saints.” I have decided, therefore, to designate the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title Queen of All Saints, as the patron of Bishop Dwenger High School. The feast day of Bishop Dwenger High School will be celebrated each year on August 22nd, the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The new chapel, presently being planned, will also have the title of “Queen of All Saints.”
I am designating these patrons for our high schools in order to promote the veneration of these wonderful saints and also to implore their intercession for our high school communities. The veneration of the saints fosters our sanctification and growth in holiness. Their example helps us in living the Christian life. I also think it is good that the high schools have a patronal feast day, as Saint Joseph High School does, in order to celebrate their Catholic identity in a special way each year.
It is good to remember the following words of the Second Vatican Council about the saints:
To look on the life of those who have faithfully followed Christ is to be inspired with a new reason for seeking the city which is to come, while at the same time we are taught to know a most safe path by which … we will be able to arrive at perfect union with Christ, that is, holiness. God shows to us, in a vivid way, his presence and his face in the lives of those companions of ours in the human condition who are more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ. He speaks to us in them and offers us a sign of this kingdom, to which we are powerfully attracted, so great a cloud of witnesses is there given and such a witness to the truth of the Gospel. (Lumen Gentium #50)
May Saint Joseph, Our Lady of Lourdes, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Our Lady, Queen of All Saints, intercede for us and our Catholic high school communities!
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