St. Michael's Showcases Student Learning and Faith during Day with Bishop Deeley

On Wednesday, December 6, Bishop Robert Deeley traveled to Augusta, visiting 11 classrooms of students from pre-K through 8th grade at St. Michael School. Throughout the day, the bishop experienced the great commitment of teachers and administration, as well as the growth and joy displayed by students of all ages.

The bishop had met many members of the 8th grade class when he first became the bishop of Portland - when they were just preschool students - and noted their transformation. 

During the morning visits with the youngest students, Bishop Deeley was greeted with enthusiasm, and he read Christmas stories to them. He was asked to top the tree in the pre-K3 classroom with a star. Students throughout the day shared their talents, including songs and special performances. They even had Christmas art projects for the bishop to make alongside them, including manger scenes and drawings of the Jesse Tree. They shared all they are learning about the important seasons of Advent and Christmas.

"Jesus becomes the light in the darkest part of the year," the bishop said as classes talked about the Christmas season.

During the afternoon sessions, students asked the bishop insightful questions and showed an eagerness to learn about his decision to enter the priesthood. He shared that his calling came at a very young age when he experienced all the good that the priests were doing at his home parish in Massachusetts. He described his studies and preparation to become a priest - about nine years.

Many students inquired about why and how he became bishop of Portland, which has a somewhat simpler answer - a phone call from the pope's representative in the United States to say he had been appointed. 

"We all have a purpose, and God gives us our purpose," he told students. "God wants us to be happy."

When asked about his favorite part of being a bishop, he responded, "Doing just this, being with you and finding out about what you are doing at school and in your life."

Bishop Deeley talked to teachers and met with Principal Kevin Cullen and Father Nathan March, pastor of St. Michael Parish, to learn more about the school today - and how it is fulfilling its commitment of providing a rigorous, values-based experience that educates the whole student.

"We are so appreciative of Bishop Deeley's on-going support of the work we are doing at St. Michael's," said Principal Cullen. "We are proud of and confident in the educational experience we are offering in a faith-based environment. Our growing student population shows that there is a need for what we offer, and we are committed to ever improving."

The bishop puts a paper star on the top of a christmas tree
Bishop Deeley tops the pre-K3 Christmas tree with a star.
The bishop is seating in a chair with children surrounding him as he reads a book.
Bishop Deeley reads a Christmas story to a pre-K class.
The bishop stands at the front of a classroom reading a book to seated children.
Bishop Deeley also read a Christmas book to the Kindergarten class.
The bishop seated at a desk making an ornament with students.
First-graders showed the bishop how to make a manger ornament.
A group of students sings to the seated bishop.
Students in the second grade sang to the bishop.
A group of students in uniforms pose with the bishop
The second grade class took a group photo with the bishop.
The bishop at the front of the classroom standing in front of students seated at desks.
Third grade students were making Jesse Trees to show the bishop.
A manger scene made out of popsicle sticks
Students in grade four made the bishop a manger scene out of popsicle sticks.
Students standing at their desks singing.
Students in the fifth grade sang the Gloria to the bishop.
The bishop stands at the front of the classroom.
The sixth grade had many questions for the bishop.
The bishop standing in the middle of desks with students.
Seventh grade students asked the bishop questions.
A group of students posing for a photo with the bishop standing in the center.
Eighth grade students posed with the bishop at the end of his visit.