As the Diocese of Buffalo celebrates its educational institutions during Catholic Schools Week, Bishop Richard J. Malone made a pastoral visit to St. Aloysius Church and Regional School in Springville Thursday morning.
The bishop was clearly excited to make the visit, which began with a morning Mass with the students of the school. Bishop Malone stepped in front of the altar and down the center aisle so he could deliver a personal homily to the children sitting in the first few rows of the church.
"Hopefully, every school wants to teach people all the important things, but the thing that makes us different is what we're doing right now," the bishop said. "The most important thing that we do is to celebrate the Eucharist."
During his homily, the bishop brought up the national theme to Catholic Schools Week, "Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed." He wasn't a fan, as it didn't include a reference to God or Jesus Christ. Bishop Malone much preferred a previous campaign: "Catholic Schools: Different Where It Counts."
"That's why we say it, because we can also focus on God," Bishop Malone said. "We're in a world that needs to hear a message of joy and hope. We're in a country that needs to hear that message of joy and hope."
The bishop asked students what they think Jesus would want them to do with their lives. Some of the responses included, "to care for others," "to be loving," "to keep God first in our lives" and "to be happy." Bishop Malone closed his homily by challenging the children to go and make a difference.
Following the Mass, Bishop Malone toured the regional Catholic school next door, which has grown its enrollment in recent years, according to Principal Mary Beth Webster. One of the highlights of the building is one of the only Montessori Pre-K programs in southern Erie County. The Montessori program allows children to work independently and cooperatively at their own pace as they develop intellectual, critical thinking, problem-solving, social, creative and emotional skills.
Webster also cited the integration of the diocesan STREAM education program as a key selling point for St. Aloysius Regional School.