Bishop Deeley Visits St. Thomas School
SANFORD---As “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars played throughout the music room, Bishop Deeley was focused, carefully maneuvering two percussion tubes, also known as Boomwhackers, in a synchronous way with the students around him in Ms. White’s music class.
At the end of the song, relieved he had held his own, the bishop smiled as those watching applauded the group for their performance. It was one of countless smiles observable at St. Thomas during Bishop Deeley’s special visit to the Sanford school on Friday, January 13 (many pictures below).
The welcome was as warm as the unseasonable weather outside the venerable North Avenue building, where the bishop and the students were excited to spend time together in equal measure. The pre-kindergarteners serenaded Bishop Deeley by singing the Our Father, while the third graders invited the bishop to participate with them in a multiplication game on their computers.
“I only got one wrong!” the bishop reported happily.
He competed with the seventh and eighth graders in American Revolution trivia, and even made his own lava lamp as part of a science experiment in Mrs. Harmon’s class.
A pair of sixth graders treated the bishop to a wonderful PowerPoint presentation highlighting the many amazing programs and initiatives at St. Thomas School. Sookie and Jenna, student ambassadors, enthusiastically described the school’s clubs, activities, and service projects, including events to help the St. Thérèse Food Closet, the York County Shelter, and many other organizations.
And, per usual, the bishop was greeted with a plethora of questions, ranging from the humorous to the truly inquisitive. One fourth grader asked the bishop how he decided to become a priest.
“When I was your age, I got to know the priests in my parish and saw that they did good things. They were bringing people closer to Jesus and asking them to take care of each other,” said Bishop Deeley. “So, I thought about it and prayed about it, and I thought that was something I could do. From an early age, I knew there was something special in what a priest did. Watching the way they helped people, I wanted to do that.”
The bishop told many of the classes about the things he does in his daily life, explaining that he helps coordinate things in the diocese so priests can care for all the people in Maine. He asked the children to consider helping in that mission one day.
“We need people to help us to keep the Church growing. Think about what it is that God wants you to do. There are all sorts of ways that we can serve God and each other.”
One third grader asked what the best part of being a bishop is.
“This. This is great,” Bishop Deeley told the students. “I meet nice people like you and see what you’re learning. What could be better?”
Bishop Deeley was joined on his tour of the school by Fr. Bill Labbe, pastor of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish of which St. Thomas School is a part; Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools; and Suzanne Lafreniere, the director of the Office of Public Policy for the diocese. Prior to departing, the bishop enjoyed lunch with some of the St. Thomas teachers.