WILMINGTON — Bishop Malooly lives in a home near Immaculate Heart of Mary School, and on Jan. 26 spent a few hours meeting with his young neighbors.
The 511 students and their teachers met with the bishop in three groups in the days leading up to the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. First up, it was pre-kindergarten through third grades, then fourth through seventh, and, finally, the eighth grade by itself. In each of the meetings in the school gymnasium, Bishop Malooly delivered the same message, but in a different way. He delivered a mini-theology lesson to the youngest students.
He asked the youngsters why they study religion every day. The answer came back quickly, and the bishop repeated it: “Because it’s a Catholic school. Bingo!”
The third grade recited the Apostles’ Creed, which Bishop Malooly said is a “series of what we believe about God and Jesus. All those things are what you actually study in religion.”
When the second group of students arrived, they were told that last week was an interesting one for the Diocese of Wilmington. It included the feast days of a lot of saints associated with the diocese, including Thomas Aquinas, Timothy and Titus, Angela Merici and Francis de Sales, a doctor of the church and the patron saint of the diocese.
The fourth-graders said they were studying the Beatitudes.
“I always think of the Beatitudes as Jesus’ game plan,” Bishop Malooly said.
His talk with the eighth grade focused a lot on high school and how Immaculate Heart of Mary is providing them with a solid foundation.
“How fortunate you are to get this education,” he said. “You probably realize how well this will serve you in high school and college.”
Bishop Malooly asked the oldest grade how this year is different.
“We’re the leaders of the school,” one student replied.
“We became more independent,” said another.
They talked about the students’ upcoming confirmation, which is in March, and why the students chose their confirmation names. One student selected Pio because his mother prayed to St. Padre Pio when he was a youngster in the hospital. Another chose Joan because Joan of Arc was the protector of many people.
For each of the groups, Bishop Malooly requested they go home to their parents and “thank them for allowing you to be part of IHM awesome Catholic school.
“Maybe you ought to thank your teachers and administrators for all they do.”