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Bishop tours St. Mary’s schools after launching balloons

Posted By January 30, 2014 | 12:56 pm | Lead Story #2, Uncategorized
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By Tanya Connor

WORCESTER – As Catholic Schools Week kicked off Monday, Bishop McManus released balloons to celebrate the decision to keep open St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School.
The bishop let red and white balloons drift skyward outside St. Mary’s Elementary School, as some of its students and a few other people watched. Among them were Father Thaddeus X. Stachura, headmaster of both schools, and the principals, James M. Pedone of the elementary school and Thomas R. Olson of the junior/senior high.
In November Father Stachura had announced that the junior/senior high school would close at the end of the school year because it was losing money. When some expressed a desire to prevent the closing, Bishop McManus gave them 75 days to come up with a plan to raise sufficient funds and increase enrollment to make the school viable. In December Father Stachura said he decided to keep the school open, due to a large promised donation.
After the balloon release, the principals gave the bishop tours of their adjoining schools.
In the junior/senior high school the bishop encouraged students who sang for him to remember that “to sing is to pray twice.”
He also learned a thing or two himself – about biomes in environmental science class and imaginary numbers in math class.     “I should visit a religion class – that’s my field,” he remarked, and was taken to what he thought was one. It turned out to be a different subject, but he asked students what they were learning in religion.
“We do our best to promote vocations,” Mr. Olson said later, and the bishop responded, “That makes my heart glad.”
Moving into the elementary school, he was captivated (or captured) by talkative little ones who wouldn’t let him go.
When he asked what he and St. Nicholas had in common, a boy informed him, “You both start with ‘Saint.’”
“Thank you very much,” responded the diocese’s shepherd, who was really after the answer they were both a “bishop.”
Mr. Pedone informed Bishop McManus that the students are good at geography, and related how one said he was from another country – Miami. Actually, that boy was born in Haiti, he was told. Others had roots in Kenya, Ghana and “the United States of America,” he learned, before listening to them sing, “It’s a Grand Old Flag.”
In second grade he found students from Egypt, Canada, Poland and Puerto Rico.
“Whom do we receive in Holy Communion?” he asked, and was told: “Jesus.”
“That’s why we go to Mass every single Sunday,” the bishop explained. But one girl said she sometimes goes on Saturday.
Maybe you can’t always win, even if you’re the bishop.