AUBURN---Holy Cross Church in Lewiston was filled with students, teachers, staff, parents, and community members on Wednesday, September 4, all gathered to welcome Bishop Robert P. Deeley and the start of a new school year during the opening Mass for Saint Dominic Academy (additional pictures below).
“Are you all excited to be back? Did you find your classrooms?” Bishop Deeley asked the students, who came from both the Auburn and Lewiston campuses.
“Yes!” said the children, led by the voices of the excited kindergarteners.
“That’s good! It gets easier from here. It’s wonderful to be back,” said the bishop.
During his homily, Bishop Deeley asked the students what their goals for the year were. Predictably, “good grades” and “to learn things they didn’t know” were among the responses. The bishop reminded the students that in the first reading on Wednesday, St. Paul also asked the faithful about what their goals were in life.
“St. Paul speaks to the people about what’s important in their lives. Their faith is what grounds everything else because it reminds them that Jesus is the son of God and they are followers of Jesus,” said the bishop.
By celebrating Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, added the bishop, the students can understand the motivations of the Catholic faith.
“We want to remind ourselves that we want to love everyone as Jesus calls us to do. We want everyone to be cared for in our world,” said the bishop. “God, the Father, in his compassion and love for his people, sent the Son, Jesus, into the world to bring life and eternal life. Jesus saved us from sin and opened the way for us to enter into eternal life. It is in that faith and hope that we gather this morning. Make sure your thoughts of eternal life, even though it is far away, are tied into your own life as you begin this school year.”
Students served during the Mass as readers and gift bearers, and the academy’s student choir sang beautifully during the Mass. Concelebrating the Mass with the bishop were Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, and Fr. Seamus Griesbach, chaplain of Saint Dominic Academy and the director of vocations for the Diocese of Portland.
There were new faces to welcome at the academy as well with Marianne Pelletier, the new superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Portland, introducing Roger LaChapelle, the interim principal of the Auburn campus (Grades 6-12); Alanna Stevenson, the new principal of the Lewiston campus (Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5); and Tim Gallic, the academy’s new president.
At the end of Mass, Gallic presented the Anne Elizabeth Murphy Lampal Scholarship and the Laurianne Michaud Cormier Scholarship to deserving St. Dom’s students.
The Anne Elizabeth Murphy Lampal Scholarship was created by Marjorie Clifford in honor of her daughter Anne, a 1984 graduate of Saint Dominic Academy who died from cancer in 2008. The scholarship is awarded each year to an academy student or students who excel in the classroom and display a commitment to enriching the school community. This year, the winner was junior Grace Girardin.
The Laurianne Michaud Cormier Scholarship is awarded each year to Saint Dominic Academy students who excel in the classroom and is a volunteer at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston or another area health-care facility. Cormier, who was a native of Lewiston, became a dedicated volunteer at St. Mary’s, accumulating nearly 20,000 hours of service over 35 years. She was still attending to her duties at the hospital a short time before her death on June 23, 2015, just two weeks shy of her 103rd birthday. This year, the winners were senior Mia-Angelina Leslie and junior Patrick Manson.
Both scholarship endowments are managed by the Catholic Foundation of Maine, which provides individuals and families with the opportunity to support and create lasting endowments that will enhance the work of the Catholic Church in Maine.
Following the Mass, a reception was held in the teachers’ room of the Lewiston campus, located next to Holy Cross Church. For more information about the academy or to schedule a tour of either the Auburn or Lewiston campus, visit the academy website.