Bishop Fisher tours Southtowns schools
Bishop Michael W. Fisher visits the Immaculate Conception library in East Aurora during his tour of Catholic schools.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Timothy Uhl continued their Back to School adventure by visiting several Southtowns schools on Sept. 9.
After Mass at St. Francis High School, the two drove to Hamburg to visit SS. Peter & Paul School where they attended a welcoming assembly.
Sixth-grader Eva Simon thanked them for their visit.
“Our faculty, staff and students are so happy that you chose to see us today on our second day of school. I thank you for leading us in our diocese and our Catholic schools. You have a big responsibility,” she said. “We ask that you pray for us all here at SS. P&P that we may be the best we can in our faith and in our learning.”
Uhl told the students some bad dad jokes then thanked the teachers and school staff for the very important work they do.
“Thanks for coming back. I hope you enjoy this work,” he said. “I’m trying to help our young people come alive. We believe our education is the best form. Thank you for your hospitality. It’s good to see you all.”
Students from each grade told their guests of the schools history and academics.
“At SS. Peter & Paul we’re so fortunate to be able to focus a lot on our Catholic identity,” said Sister Marilyn Dudek, CSSF, principal. “We incorporate that regularly into our schedule. We also have a great connection with the Hamburg public school district in terms of our special ed program. We’re fortunate with that.”
Driving into West Seneca they stopped in Queen of Heaven, where Bishop Fisher talked with the students about their favorite books. The bishop is a fan of the Tarzan stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The younger kids asked him questions, such as how he became a bishop. – “The pope asked me.” Where do you live – “St. Joseph Cathedral. It’s a short walk when I go to say Mass.” Do you have any children – “I have lots of children. The whole diocese, all of you are my children.”
The last stop on the two-day tour was Immaculate Conception in East Aurora, where the kids were eager to talk about their pets.
“I hope you had a wonderful summer and I hope this year is going to be a wonderful blessing for you,” the bishop told them.
The school has the unique position of have Moog engineering plant nearby, which Immaculate Conception has partnered with to build a strong foundation in its science and engineering classes.
“We have a very strong STREAM program,” said Principal Joe Duttweiler. “We were one of the first schools to initiate it because we had a person from Moog really help us establish a lot of our things. We’ve been doing STREAM before STREAM became a household word.”
At the end of the day, Bishop Fisher called the whirlwind tour “exhilarating.”
“We’re off to a nice start. This is the beginning of my first full school year here in Buffalo. I can see there’s a great spirit,” he said. “I think our teachers and our faculty, our principals, they have all worked so hard to make our schools welcoming and clean and healthy, in spite of our Covid restrictions. But, it look like everyone is on board. It looks like the kids are already down to business and working.”