In the early portion of each Academic Year Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrates Mass for the students at the 15 Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools.
The first of these Masses was celebrated Aug. 18, 2021 at St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton. It was appropriate that the school was chosen as the Diocese and the whole Church are still in the midst of a “Year of St. Joseph,” which continues until Dec. 8, 2021.
During each Mass, Bishop Dewane invokes the Holy Spirit to come down upon the students, faculty and staff for a safe and successful year.
The Bishop used the Gospel reading from the Mass on Aug. 18, which was of the parable of the “last shall be first and the first shall be last.” During the Gospel reading, it is explained that one must not be envious because it is perceived that the Lord is generous to others, but be grateful for the gifts received.
“Jesus is very generous,” the Bishop added. “Jesus gave us a good example… You and I are called to imitate Jesus and be generous in who we are and how we live out our life.”
This can be done by being kind to someone in the school who needs help, or perhaps generosity toward your parents in gratitude for the great sacrifice they make each day. “They give you their total love. Do you give that love in return? This is how you can be generous. It is who we are as children of God. As a student, be generous to your teachers, to your classmates and to all those you encounter throughout the day.”
Realizing that it may be easier to say “I will be generous in my life” than actually doing it, Bishop Dewane said “what we do that is most generous and most felt by others comes from the heart and comes from the Graces the Lord gives us to live out our life. It is just like us wearing the masks. No one likes it, but we do it to be generous to everyone else. Because we are concerned about others.
In this Year of St. Joseph, Bishop Dewane said the Protector of the Church and Foster-Father of Jesus, is a model to follow for his generosity in turning over his life in service to the Lord.
“Pray to St joseph to have that grace to be generous to be seen always as a giver in your life, one who lives that faith and in so doing gives to others a gift,” Bishop Dewane said.
Following the Masses, the Bishop took the opportunity to speak with the eighth-grade students, encouraging them to be the leaders at their school and they must lead by example as they are “big kids” the younger students look up to for guidance. and continue with their education at a local Catholic high school. He also took time to answer any of their questions and then stood for a photo with them.
It so happened that after Mass at St. Joseph Catholic School, the Bishop participated in an award ceremony. The school recognized the top three students from each grade for their participation and success in a summer problem solving competition. The program continues the tradition of academic excellence from the end of June to end of August by offering problems to solve in the subjects of math, language arts, science and social studies. In all, the students at St. Joseph completed 59,211 problems. In addition, after the Aug. 24 Mass at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral, the Bishop presented leadership pins to the eighth graders.
During this week, the Bishop also celebrated Mass for Ave Maria Catholic School in Ave Maria on Aug. 24, and St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Catholic Academy in Sarasota on Aug. 25. Additional Catholic School Masses are scheduled for late August and into September.