2017-11-10 / Worship

Deeley celebrates Mass, visits classrooms at St. John’s school

Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland


BISHOP ROBERT DEELEY fielded questions from each grade during a special visit to St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick 
ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PORTLAND BISHOP ROBERT DEELEY fielded questions from each grade during a special visit to St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PORTLAND BRUNSWICK

From telling the students about how long he’s been a priest (“44 years and I love what I do!”) to describing his stint as a paperboy when he was a child (“my legs sometimes looked appetizing to dogs!”), Bishop Robert Deeley fielded questions from each grade during a special visit to St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick last week.

The children were understandably excited about the trick-or-treating rescheduled for Friday night in Brunswick due to the widespread power outages, and were equally enthusiastic to share their costume plans with the bishop.

“These costumes you’ll wear, these are characters from shows I haven’t seen yet,” said Bishop Deeley.

“That’s OK, you’re not a kid,” responded a kindergartener.

“That’s true, but if you have leftover candy, still send it to me,” answered the bishop to the laughter of the children.

Questions spanned many topics and themes, some serious. One fifth grader asked Bishop Deeley, “What Heaven will be like?”

“Heaven is to be with God. You are in the presence of love,” he said. “We use the imagination and thought processes that we have on earth to try to think about what that would mean.

“We do know we will be with God because we have in our lives already lived with God. We live in God’s love and share that with one another. We will be happy in Heaven,” Deeley added. “I’m not telling you it has gold streets and beautiful houses. For us, the most important thing is that we will be with God.”

Another thought-provoking question came from a St. John’s teacher who asked the bishop how she could involve the Catholic faith in algebra lessons.

“This math all makes sense, right?” the bishop said as he pointed to a dry-erase board with equations written on it. “The formulas are correct. In that way, it is beautiful because there is an order in math that gives you a look inside creation.

“God has planted an order in our world,” Deeley added. “Scripture helps us understand that the one who gave us this order, in math and in the world around us, loves us and sent Jesus to save us.”

He read to some of the younger classes, including “Charlie Bean Goes Home,” a book about the adoption of a shelter dog that was written and illustrated by St. John’s alumni, and spoke to other students about their recent projects related to All Saints’ Day (which was on Nov. 1).

Deeley spoke about the saints and how they relate to the current students during a special morning Mass for the school community at St. John the Baptist

Church, located next to the school.

“All of the saints are people who served one another and cared for one another,” said the bishop. “Boys and girls, that is what you and I are called to do. That’s what it means to be holy, to see ourselves as loved by God and to see where we can be of help to one another and kind to one another.”

Before departing, eighth graders gave Bishop Deeley a few bags of Halloween candy from their candy-gram fundraiser that is raising money for a school field trip to Boston.

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