Church is young and alive, bishop reminds students Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
all school mass
Bishop Morlino greets students from St. Ann School in Stoughton. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photos/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON — “It is wonderful to be with you. It’s one of the best days of the year for me,” said Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison. “I love our Catholic schools. So much good can happen there as you come closer to Jesus.”

The “best day” was the All Schools Mass held at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall on October 20.

More than 3,000 students from schools in the Diocese of Madison, along with their teachers and principals, all came to the event, last celebrated in 2012.

More than 30 priests, most of whom have a school connected with their parishes, concelebrated the Mass.

Catholic, proud, and together

Bishop Morlino greeted everyone at the start of the Mass asking, with joy and energy, “Are we all joyful to be together today?”

The thousands of students, teachers, and principals answered, “Yes!”.

“Are we here because we love Jesus?” Bishop Morlino asked in a similar manner.

“Are we going to show the world that we’re Catholics, we’re proud of it, and that we’re one together?” he asked next.

Looking out on the students, some in chairs on the floor, others in movable raised arena seating, one could see pockets of school pride, represented by the students wearing their school colors: Watertown Catholic Schools wore yellow, St. Jerome School in Columbus wore blue, Holy-Ghost-Immaculate Conception School in Dickeyville and Kieler wore orange, St. Joseph School in Fort Atkinson were in maroon, and St. John Vianney School in Janesville were in red to name just a few.

Some schools, such as St. Ambrose Academy in Madison and Blessed Trinity School in Dane, came dressed in their traditional school uniforms.

Students, teachers, and administrators from various schools in the diocese made up the choir and accompanists.

Students also served as readers and gift bearers during the Mass.

Deacon Jim Hoegemeier read the Gospel.

The Church is alive

During his homily, Bishop Morlino thanked his “brother priests” for coming to the Mass and thanked them for all the “sacrifices that you make to give good, solid leadership in our schools.”

The bishop also acknowledged the administrators, faculty, and staff members at the Mass.

“Thank you so much for all that you do to make this possible. This is an overwhelming kind of gathering, and it could never happen by accident . . . You do a wonderful job of leading our schools,” Bishop Morlino said.

He told the students, “Don’t let anybody tell you that the Catholic Church is dead or that it’s old . . . the Catholic Church is young and alive, and what a glorious witness you all give, dear young people, to the whole diocese.”

During Communion, the concelebrating priests dispersed themselves around various parts of the hall to distribute the sacrament to the thousands in attendance.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Morlino thanked the students for their reverence during Mass in prayer and song.

“You’ve certainly made my day 10 times over,” he said. “You’ve brought great joy to the angels and saints in heaven and to Christ himself.”

Before the students were dismissed to their buses or other transportation, they were given a box lunch to eat while in the hall.

During this time, many of the priests came to talk with their respective students and were met with many smiles and even chants of their names.

This energy was similarly displayed prior to the start of Mass, as a slideshow showed pictures of school buildings in the diocese. The students cheered loudly when they saw their school on the screen — an energy that showed the Church is truly alive in them.

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