The Bishop of Harrisburg was doing his favorite thing Dec. 1 when he visited Resurrection Catholic School to say Mass for the students in observance of the school’s 25th anniversary.
The Most Reverend Ronald Gainer talked to students in the school built in 1895 as St. Anthony School. In 1991-92, St. Anthony combined with St. Mary and St. Joseph schools to form Resurrection.
In the slightly newer cafeteria, he ate lunch with fourth graders in between visiting classrooms. He found younger students asked questions about what he wears at Mass, and upper classes focused more on what it’s like to be a bishop.
“What is your favorite part of being a bishop?” asked a seventh grade student. “This. Being out of the office and visiting schools and prisons (and other places in the diocese).”
“What is your favorite part of the Mass?” asked an eighth grader. “Holy Communion. When we receive the bread of life.”
“Have you ever met the Pope?” asked an eighth grader. “Yes.” Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis.
“What was that cane you carried in Mass?” asked a second grade student. “The crozier, or pastoral staff.” It resembles a shepherd’s hook, and Gainer is the chief shepherd of the Harrisburg Diocese.
“What was that hat?” asked a second grader. “The beanie or skullcap is called a zucchetto, and the high hat is a miter, a sign that the bishop is the high priest.”
Prior to the school visit, the Bishop celebrated Mass along with St. Mary Pastor Father Leo Goodman, St. Anthony Pastor Daniel O’Brien, Retired Pastor Bernard Pistone and St. Joseph Priest Father Sebastian Thekkedath. Father Allan Wolfe, pastor of St. Joseph and San Juan Bautista, was master of ceremonies.
Gainer’s homily mentioned the consolidation and the school’s theme this year, Family of Faith – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. He said the combining the schools was a decision made with faith.
“You get the best preparation for life here so you can succeed and do well,” Gainer said. But Catholic education also makes us ready for “a life that is eternal, to live with Jesus in the glory of heaven.”
The Bishop thanked parishioners attending and “the families who choose Resurrection School.”
“The family is the strength of our schools,” Gainer said.