Bishop Rhoades visits Corpus Christi School
By Jill A. Boughton
Photos by Kevin Haggenjos
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades celebrated an all-school Mass at Corpus Christi School, South Bend, on Thursday, March 9, and spent time with every one of Corpus Christi School’s 10 classes, giving students a chance to share what they’ve been learning and to ask him questions. He personally thanked each teacher.
The school, with 214 students, has several special intentions, including one for a teacher recovering from a very serious accident and another for a vice principal fighting leukemia.
Bishop Rhoades told the students, during Mass, that he had heard about their wonderful school and was happy to be with them during the holy season of Lent, when we are invited to grow closer to Jesus. He reminded them that the greatest prayer we can offer is the holy Mass. During his homily, he asked students questions about the four classic types of prayer: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication. Second graders recited together the act of contrition they had learned, and third graders mentioned reasons to be thankful.
Dressed in red, navy and tan uniforms, the students participated actively in the a capella singing, including the parts of the Mass that were in Latin. At the end of the liturgy, an eighth grade student presented the Bishop with a framed piece of art: a cross surrounded by colorful thumbprints representing offerings in a spiritual bouquet.
During his morning at the school, Bishop Rhoades enjoyed many light moments.
He gamely played a boomwhacker in Patty Mauch’s fifth grade music class, and tried his zucchetto on fourth grader Bryce Flattery (‘You’d make a good Bishop,” he said).
The bishop was surprised that a joke is always included in the morning announcements. He learned what one first grader weighs, and how many times another eats nachos in a given day. He told the students his only childhood pet was a turtle, since he is allergic to furry animals. The bishop gently chided one student for procrastinating on his homework, but enjoyed a second grader’s perceptive answer to the question, “What should you not do for an hour before communion?” Her response: “Sin.” The bishop then taught them about the one-hour Communion fast.
Calling on them by name as often as possible, Bishop Rhoades asked students what they had been learning about in religion class. Their answers included Lent, the Beatitudes and their favorite Bible stories. He engaged seventh graders in discussing Theology of the Body, telling them he had been in Rome to hear Pope St. John Paul II’s original lectures on the topic. He praised Kathy Leyes’ sixth graders, who each recited a different Psalm from memory. Pre-kindergarteners sang a song for him, and second graders wanted to turn the tables and bless their bishop.
The students also had questions for the bishop, ranging from his favorite color (green), and his favorite leisure activities (hiking, mountain climbing, tennis, reading history, spending time with friends) to his vocation to the priesthood and what he’s giving up for Lent. He was willing to tell them he’s doing without bread this year. They were curious about his “uniform” and whether the “bracelet around your neck” chokes him. They also asked about the most rewarding and challenging parts of being a bishop: He replied that it’s rewarding to celebrate the sacraments and meet the people of the diocese, but challenging to keep up with the demands on his time.
When Bishop Rhoades asked seventh graders what they liked best about Corpus Christi School, they said, “How close we are. We care about each other.” To illustrate the point, it was noted that one teacher, Tricia Perry, is a graduate of the school who lives in the neighborhood. Younger classes have a “buddy class” to help with activities, and all students are divided into six “houses,” that include students from each grade. Each house has a patron saint, a mascot, a motto and the name of a character trait like responsibility or trust.
The entire student body gladly included their shepherd in Corpus Christi’s family atmosphere. Members of the junior high drama club ended the morning by singing several songs from their upcoming performance of “The Lion King” for the bishop.
Corpus Christi School
2817 Corpus Christi Dr.
South Bend, IN 46628
Principal: Maggie Mackowiak
Students: 214 Grades pre-K-8