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Audio Bishop Fisher Education Features

Bishop heads to Batavia for Mass with Notre Dame students


Bishop Michael W. Fisher continued his tour of Catholic schools in the diocese by celebrating Mass at Notre Dame High School in Batavia on Sept. 7.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher tells of being put out into the deep at his first college wrestling tournament. The bishop visted Notre Dame High School in Batavia on Sept. 7, the first day of class. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

Stepping into the gym, he noticed the many listings of sports championships that adorned the walls. A 1974 wrestling championship caught his eye, as he had wrestled for the University of Maryland.

During his homily, the bishop recalled going up against a titanic wrestler he described as a “wall.”

“He’s like twice my size,” Bishop Fisher said. “I guess they wanted me to show what I could do.”

He thinks he did well in that first bout.

“It was good that I was challenged that first day,” he said. “In one sense, I say I was put out into the deep.”

In the Gospel reading of that day, Jesus sent fishermen to go out into the deep. In following Jesus’ instructions, they found a great catch of fish.

“They really had to give Him a chance, didn’t they? They had to step out and put their trust into this person they didn’t really know,” the bishop explained.

The bishop asked the students how many of them considered themselves to be spiritual, and how many were religious.

Those who ask “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” and “What gifts do I have?” look inside themselves in a spiritual sense. Being religious is asking these questions to God. “Where is God calling me to be?”

St. Paul wanted the Colossians to have full knowledge of God’s will for them.

Students at Notre Dame High School in Batavia give the sign of peace during a special Mass on their first day of the new school year. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

“That’s what we’re called to do, to take those questions of our spirituality that are in our hearts, as we learn about God, God’s mission, God’s truth, and try to apply that to how God is calling us to be His disciples. How are we called to be God’s disciples?”

The bishop closed by offering the students his hopes for the upcoming school year.

“My prayer for you is that this will be a good year and you’ll get answers to those questions of your own mission that you have in your life, but ultimately that questions, what is God calling me to do,” he said.

Melissa Lindner began as new principal after seven years at SS. Peter & Paul in Williamsville. Wanting to work with older students, she accepted the position at Notre Dame.

“I jumped at the opportunity at Notre Dame between the academic excellence that Notre Dame has as well as the athletic excellence.”

The rich athletic tradition includes 97 section 5 championships as a school.

“We’re hoping for 100 this year,” Lindner said.

As the new principal starts her new year, she also hopes  to continue the strong college prep academics.

“Right now, we are really working with our students to make sure they’re getting lots of classes, especially college classes. We have some seniors that are taking over 20 credits through Genesee Community College, and overload credits to start their undergraduate degree,” Lindner said. “So, our academic excellence is a big goal that we have to make sure we’re keeping all of our students at that level. As well as continuing just everything that Notre Dame is about – their value-based education and the education of excellence with also the athletics component with it.”

For students who aren’t athletes, a theater course will begin this year, teaching students the many different aspects of stagecraft from acting to lighting to sound engineering.

Listen to Michael Mroziak reporting:


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