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Schools Mass unites teachers, administrators and principals

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Bishop Michael W. Fisher speaks on children being the most precious resource of the Catholic Church while at the All Catholic Schools Mass at OLV National Shrine and Basilica in Lackawanna.

Teachers, principals and administrators packed OLV National Shrine and Basilica for a special All Catholic Schools Mass with Bishop Michael W. Fisher. The Oct.8 gathering united leadership from diocesan Catholic schools.

Dr. Tim Uhl, secretary of Education for the Diocese of Buffalo, outlined five key elements of a good school. Uhl gave a short talk following the All Schools Mass at OLV National Shrine and Basilica in Lackawanna. Photos by Patrick J. Buechi

“We gather at the beginning of a new school year to invoke the protection and blessing of God on one of the most important responsibilities and ministries within our society and community and our church. And that’s the education of our children, those most precious resources that we have,” said Bishop Fisher in welcoming the 350 guests.

In his homily, the bishop reminded those gathered of the importance of quality education for young students.

“Our greatest assets, our most precious resources, as I said are our children. We are entrusted in handing to them our faith and that hope which Christ brings to our lives. Our children will be trusted with the state to head on to the next generation with hope, and we are part of that responsibility,” he said.

“Quality education is a fundamental right of law and requirement about respect for the dignity of the weakest in our society. We should be able to hand on our faith and our knowledge to all that seek it and seek to improve their potential as children of God and citizens of our world,” the bishop concluded.

Following Mass, Dr. Tim Uhl, the newly named secretary of education, outlined five values that play a key role in the mission of Catholic schools. To further drive home the point, a painting accompanied each value he spoke on. Uhl used examples of the schools he worked with in Washington and Nebraska to show how service, collaboration, belonging, joy and mercy can be better implemented in the 33 diocesan elementary schools.

“We believe Catholic schools is a place where students fully come alive,” he said. “Joy has to be part of the community. When we visit schools I want to hear noise, I want to hear singing, I want to hear dancing, I want to hear noise, because that’s how children learn, that’s how children grow by having fun, by moving, by speaking.”

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