At Holy Cross School visit, Bishop Deeley experiences community spirit

On Friday, December 15, Bishop Robert Deeley spent the day at Holy Cross School in South Portland, visiting classes from pre-K through 8th grade. The bishop was greeted by Principal Tim Stebbins, Pastor of John Paul II Parish Fr. Jack Dickinson, and a group of student ambassadors who served as his tour guides for the day.

During an opening assembly for the entire school, students sang "Silent Night" for the bishop; the night before was the annual Christmas concert. He then traveled to pre-K and kindergarten where students shared their talents, singing songs and sharing Christmas stories. 

Throughout the day, Bishop Deeley experienced all that students at Holy Cross are learning across grades and subjects, including science, math, social studies, physical education and English. Students of all ages asked thoughtful questions, many inquiring about his decision to be a priest and his appointment as bishop.

"God wanted me to be a priest, and if I do what God wants me to do, I will be happy. He created us to be blessed."

He expressed that his favorite thing about being bishop is being with the people of Maine, including his school visits throughout the diocese. During the year, Bishop Deeley spends a day at every diocesan Catholic school.

The 8th grade class, which will graduate and move on in the spring, shared their favorite parts of Holy Cross School. A common thread was the community.

"If you are learning about community, you are getting a Catholic education and Catholic formation," said Bishop Deeley. "Community is grounded in faith. God created us and calls us to love. We are not individuals exclusively."

When speaking further about the value of Catholic education to students, he said, "You know about values, what is right and wrong. Education at a Catholic school is not just about content, but the context in which you learn."

The bishop addresses students seated on the floor of a gym
Bishop Deeley addresses students during the morning assembly along with Tim Stebbins, principal (left).
The bishop with five children in front of a nativity scene
Pre-k students pose with Bishop Deeley. They also offered a song to him.
A student reads a page of a book to the bishop as other students seated look on
Students in kindergarten shared a Christmas story they had written and illustrated.
A group of six students and a teacher surround a seated bishop
The kindergarten class
Eight students and a teacher pose for a photo with the bishop
First grade
The bishop addresses seated students
Seventh grade social studies
Twelve students pose standing with the bishop
Sixth grade English
Eleven students and teacher pose with the bishop
Third grade
Students at desks
Eighth grade mathematics
Ten students surround seated bishop
Fourth grade
Seven students pose with the bishop
Second grade
The bishop addresses a class of seated students
Fifth grade science