12th graders get history lesson with special Mass at cathedral
Bishop Michael W. Fisher wanted to start this new school year in a proper way. So, he called down the Holy Spirit upon all of the works and all of the joys and all of the activities of the Catholic school students.
Wearing red vestments as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Fisher celebrated Mass for the 12th grade students of the diocese on Sept. 20. Students from 10 area high schools filled two-thirds of St. Joseph Cathedral. Only a few students had visited the cathedral before.
The bishop explained the history of the cathedral, which was built more than 170 years ago.
“Can you imagine the history that’s gone through here? This was here during the Civil War. It was here when President McKinley was assassinated up the street. It was here when two presidents served as mayor and governor, Cleveland and Fillmore. It was here during many snowstorms and blizzards. In fact, there was one huge snowstorm as they were building this church. They didn’t even have the roof on yet. It was just the walls. There was a huge storm that came through and destroyed a lot of the people’s homes that lived in this area in those days. And Bishop Timon invited them to come into the walls of this cathedral where they could find shelter. So, it’s beautiful to know that the church has always served the needs and the care of its people. And it continues to do so. But a cathedral isn’t beautiful unless it’s filled. And that’s why I think it’s at its most beautiful today with all of you here. It’s a joyful day,” the bishop said.
The mention of Bishop John Timon, Buffalo’s first bishop, drew a huge round of applause from Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School in South Buffalo.
Bishop Fisher went on to talk about the Hook & Hastings Organ that was built for the United States centennial celebration in Philadelphia.
“After the celebration ended, somehow they were able to get it and to have it brought here to our cathedral. And it’s been there ever since. So, it’s a very historical organ,” the bishop said.
In his homily, the bishop explained that the Beatitudes are expressions of joy and happiness. He wished happiness to all the students as they begin the new school year.
“That’s my prayer for all of you as you learn new things, as you prepare, as you prepare to move on to college, to new experiences in your life,” he said. “Also, to rejoice in what you have, in those friendships, in those things you have learned over the past four years in your high schools.”
Visiting the cathedral that day were students from St. Francis High School in Athol Springs.
“I think it’s wonderful for the young church to realize that they’re always part of something so much bigger than themselves,” said Father Matthew Foley, OFM Conv., president of the school. “I think sometimes we can get very caught up in our school, in our own little world. So, it’s wonderful to take a step back and realize that we’re a part of the diocese and the wider Catholic Church. There’s no better way to start off the school year than praying and asking the holy spirit to inspire our young men and women.”
Principal James Spillman, from St. Joseph Collegiate Institute in Kenmore, echoes those sentiments.
“I think it’s always nice to see the students down to the center of our diocese here at the cathedral and for them to meet Bishop Michael and to see how much he cares about them. You get to see that you’re a part of something much bigger than just your school here in the diocese,” he said.
Listen to Michael Mroziak report on the recent Masses for our Catholic school students.