Bishop Malooly praised the students and others involved in Catholic education during a Mass for schools that was streamed live on the morning of May 13. The number of viewers during the livestream surpassed 2,100.
“For someone who is 76 ½ years old, this is an entirely new experience for me, livestreaming Mass to our entire Catholic school population,” the bishop said from St. Peter Cathedral in Wilmington.
Bishop Malooly noted at the outset of his homily that the focus in schools this year has been on the miracles from the Gospel of John. The one selected for this Mass had Jesus at the Sea of Tiberius, where he tells a group of apostles who were fishing to cast their net on the other side of their boat. His followers, who did not recognize Jesus, nonetheless listened to that advice.
“I know nothing about catching fish, but there must be some logic about that,” Bishop Malooly said. “They were open to new ideas, and that’s part of our Catholic education, to be open to new ideas, to understand better what God has provided for us.”
The readings, from Acts of the Apostles and the first book of Corinthians, also fit in with a Mass for schools, he added. In the first reading, the apostles “were overpowered with the joy of God’s presence. It was clear that they could not contain themselves. They had to talk about Jesus, and they rejoiced in that.”
In the second reading, Paul writes about the breaking of the bread. That was one of the most important parts in the life of the early church, Bishop Malooly said, along with community gathering and teaching the apostles. All of that is part of Catholic education, he said.
“As you know, right now we are now down to one of the three. No community. No breaking of the bread. But you in your schools are still learning about the teachings of the apostles, and that’s so important,” he said.
“We celebrate here at this Mass the blessing of Catholic schools.”
The bishop congratulated those students “whom I or my successor will confirm once we are out of the pandemic.” Likewise, First Communions will resume once churches are “back into the normal routine.”
Bishop Malooly noted that he and superintendent of schools Louis De Angelo normally visit all of the schools in the diocese. They got to 30 of them before the coronavirus pandemic forced the buildings’ closure. He normally assigns homework when he is visiting, and Wednesday was no different. He instructed the students to thank their parents and families “for providing this outstanding Catholic education you are receiving.”
At the end of Mass, Bishop Malooly “presented” the St. Francis de Sales Medal to 10 seniors from each of the eight Catholic high schools in the diocese. The medal recognizes excellence in faith development, scholarship, service, leadership and citizenship.
The recipients will receive their medals at their respective graduation ceremonies, however they take shape. They are as follows:
Archmere Academy: Sofia Alvarez, Stephen D’Antonio, Matthew DiGregorio, Gabrielle Hogan, Abigail Kates, Emily Maceda, Riley McAvinue, Jessica Pei, Andrew Shi and Rishi Subbaraya.
Padua Academy: Nadia Bedford, Jenna Brady, Jessica Classen, Moira Gervay, Marina Pilger, Emily Quinn, Ava Ruggieri, Caroline Scalora, Emma Jo Szczerba and Melina Trautman.
St. Elizabeth High School: Kylee Bowen, Aiyana Ethengain, John Kepley, Paige Laning, Claudia Offutt, Christopher Palkon, Luke Schiavoni, Megan Somers, Wyatt Taylor and Jazmine Winters.
Saint Mark’s High School: Sarah Donaldson, Connor Duffy, Lauren Henry, Evan Johnson, Kristina Leone, Aedan Locke, Sidney Manal, Patrick Palm, Mario Paoli and Jasmine Pasicolan.
St. Thomas More Academy: Jessica Churchman, James Duke, Jane Godfrey, Margaret Kosior, Rachel Merson and Alexis Sterling.
Ss. Peter and Paul High School: Tyler Christianson, Matthew Collinson, Anthony Evans Jr., Karley Fishell, Samantha Harrington, Erin Hopkins, Heather Kyle, Michael Mullaney, Aubrey Perry and Victor Witkofsky.
Salesianum School: Daniel Bransfield, Jacob Chevalier, Gabriel Losten, David Monge, Keo Pangan, Charles Parson, Joseph Sheets, Maxwell Silverstein, Sean Taggart and Kyle Titchnell.
Ursuline Academy: Mia Aube, Margaret Boyd, Anna Brutsche, Katherine Carrig, Isabella Cerasoli, Molly Clark, Corinne Furey, Whitney Grinnage-Cassidy, Ellen Schlect and Lijin Zhang.
Also at the Mass, the bishop recognized 169 eighth-grade students from schools around the diocese for earning scholarships to Catholic high schools. Those young men and women will receive certificates signed by Bishop Malooly.
Before the Mass ended, he reminded the students that he always tells young people to do three things: pray, serve and smile.
“Advertise how blessed and fortunate you are,” he said.
In his closing comments, the bishop told viewers that Palm had recorded a video for the Annual Catholic Appeal about what a Catholic education meant to him.
“I think (Palm) said exactly what I want and probably what parents want for their high school graduates.”
Palm said that education in the classroom will end, but “being a better person, being a better Christian, being a better Catholic, that will not go away. That will stick with me forever.”
The bishop concluded, “That is certainly my wish for all the graduates, and my hope for the incoming freshmen that you bring that joy, that commitment, that closeness to God with you in all that you do.”