BOYLSTON – “The pope was a brother bishop talking to us,” Bishop McManus told a group of diocesan catechetical leaders Tuesday at Cyprian Keyes Golf Club.
The bishop spoke at an appreciation luncheon for the people who have received certification from the diocesan Office of Religious Education.
Certificates were presented at the luncheon to Moira Cook, Sandra Piwko, Jan Colgate, Leeann Hansson, Elizabeth Sansoucy and Martha Tower. Lauren Bjork and Donna Wilson also were certified.
Martha Harris of St. James Parish, South Grafton, religious education coordinator, received a retirement gift. Elizabeth A. Marcil, director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education, said Mrs. Harris was also involved in national and regional leadership roles for the Diocese.
Bishop McManus, who saw Pope Francis when he visited Washington, D.C., last September, said the key to understanding the pope’s pastoral style is to know that he was an auxiliary bishop and an archbishop in a big and very complex socio-economic and political context. He knows the challenges that a diocesan bishop faces.
He said the pope talked about the commitment of the Church in the United States to the protection of life and the family, to just immigration reform, and to Catholic education and charitable services and institutions.
He quoted the pope as saying “these works are often carried out without appreciation and support, often with heroic sacrifice, out of obedience to a divine mandate we may not disobey.”
The bishop said the pope also recognizes the damage caused by the sexual abuse crisis, is committed to bring healing to the victims and to see that the crimes are not repeated.
The pope said the identity of a bishop is derived from his commitment to prayer, preaching and shepherding the people of God, Bishop McManus said. The pope made two specific recommendations – be a pastor close to the peope, especially the priests, and encourage their spiritual growth, and care for immigrants.
The bishop said that immigrants in Worcester have been a blessing to the Church.
When the pope addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress, the bishop noted, a television commentator said the Congressmen and Senators were “like a group of excited kids waiting to view one of their heroes.” The bishop said six members of the United States Supreme Court sat transfixed when the pope talked about the Golden Rule.
Bishop McManus said that when the American bishops, about 300 of them, were waiting for the pope to address them, each bishop was wanded by the Secret Service. The wand, used at airports, courtrooms and other places where there might be security risks, pinpoints any metal that someone might be carrying.
He said that the pope on some occasions walked into crowds of people who were waiting to see him. He said the pope’s visit “gave us a shot in the arm” to bring back to our own dioceses.
The following people achieved certification this year, according to the diocesan Office of Religious Education:
Director of Religious Education, Lauren Bjork, St. Joseph-St. Pius X Parish, Leicester; Moira Cook, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Milford, and Sandra Piwko, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Milford.
Administrator of Religious Education; Jan Colgate, St. Anna Parish, Leominster; Leeann Hansson, St. Peter Parish, Northbridge; Elizabeth Sansoucy, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, South Barre, and Donna Wilson, St. Augustine Parish, Millville.
Administrator of Adult Faith Formation; Martha Tower, St. Joseph Parish, Charlton.
Master Catechist Certification; Megan Harrington, St. Louis School, Webster; Nicole Kontulis, St. Peter Central Catholic School, Worcester; Pamela Minarik, St. Anne School, Webster; Patrick O’Donnell, St. James Parish, South Grafton; Kerri-Anne Sulminski, Sacred Heart-St. Catherine Parish, Worcester; Kate Taintor, St. Louis School, Webster, and Cheryl Valera, St. Anna School, Leominster.
Catechist – Basic Certification: Kassandra Schmidt, St. John, Guardian of Our Lady Parish, Clinton.
Catechist – Provisional Certification; Donna Bertrand, Sandra Buron, Rachelle St. Laurent, St. Joseph Parish, Charlton; Yokasta Romero-Contreras, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Fitchburg; Martha Franklin, Maurice Vautour, Annunciation Parish, Gardner; Michelle Herbert, St. Joseph-St. Pius X Parish, Leicester; Tracey Chase, St. Anna Parish, Leominster, and Meaghan Roberge, St. Leo School, Leominster.
Also, Mary Courtemanche, Tracy Flynn, St. Anne Parish, Shrewsbury; Chantal Kassa, St. Mary School, Shrewsbury; Amber McCreadie, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, South Barre; Laurie Zukowski, Mary, Queen of the Rosary Parish, Spencer, and Jennifer Kokoszka, St. Anne School, Webster.