By Jennifer Mauro | Managing Editor
“Children of the light.”
Those were the words Father John Bambrick used to describe the pews full of kindergarten through eighth-grade students from St. Aloysius School, Jackson, who gathered for Mass Feb. 2 at the end of Catholic Schools Week.
“In Baptism, God illuminates our souls, and he welcomes us to keep that light burning brightly,” Father Bambrick, pastor in St. Aloysius Parish, said to the youngsters gathered in the Jackson church. “He gives each of us a gift, a talent … that will better the world, that will illuminate the darkness in the world, whether it be sports, science, mathematics, English.”
Photo Gallery: Catholic Schools Week Mass for St. Aloysius School
To emphasize that lesson, each of the roughly 100 students was given a candle at the beginning of Mass, which started with a prayer, singing led by a student choir and Father Bambrick lighting a large paschal candle.
Speaking on Candlemas, which commemorates the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Father Bambrick discussed what makes Catholic education unique.
“There’s no other schools on earth where Jesus the Lord touches every subject,” he said. “Our intellectual capacity has been touched by the creative power of God.”
He went on to explain how God gives everyone talents, and no matter how big or small, those talents are part of a whole. Well-oiled machines, he said, can’t run without all their working parts. “Even the smallest parts are important to the Lord.”
Referencing some of history’s greatest names in mathematics, astronomy and music – Copernicus, Galileo, Puccini – Father Bambrick reminded the students that these were men of faith who relied on God and the Church. “We are all somebody; we are as important as God has made us.”
Some of the students who helped serve at the Mass said Catholic Schools Week and the service were a good reminder of what it means to be Church universal.
Sixth-grader Dominic Lambusta, who brought up the gifts during Mass, said the heavy presence of candles reminded him of his Baptism and that “we are all part of the Catholic Church.”
Seventh-grader Nichelle Malaver said it was important for her to attend a Catholic school. “It reminds me of being a good Christian. Being in school makes me happy because I can share my faith with anyone.”
Also speaking on the importance of faith in school, Father Bambrick said one of the jobs of Catholic schools is to awaken students’ creative power.
“God is truly alive in the discovery that man makes. Our schools have the ability to develop that in our children,” he said. “We need to contribute to the common good, and our Catholic schools have the ability to translate that idea powerfully.”