Bishop Robert P. Deeley got the “thumbs up” from the students at St. Michael School in Augusta during a special visit on Wednesday, January 10.
“Wow, it has all of your thumbprints and names inside. Thank you!” Bishop Deeley told the fifth graders, who had made a large card for the bishop that also contained notes of gratitude for all that he does for the diocese.
The presentation was one of many memorable moments as the bishop spent time in each classroom at the school, talking to the students about their experience at St. Michael and answering any questions they had for him.
“When did you know you wanted to be a priest?” asked one student.
“When I was your age or even younger, I got to know the priests in my parish and saw that they did good things,” said Bishop Deeley. “I liked what they did. They were bringing people closer to Jesus and asking them to take care of each other. If I wanted to make the world a better place, being a priest was something I could do.”
The bishop had the chance to ask questions along the way as well, testing the sixth graders in a geography competition and quizzing third graders on the forms of prayer they are studying.
“Petition, thanksgiving, praise, blessing and intercession, that’s right,” said Bishop Deeley after the students had given examples of each. “My favorite is the ‘Our Father.’ Jesus taught the apostles the ‘Our Father.’ That’s the way he wants us to pray. We ask God to help us to know what to do.”
In addition, the bishop read books to the younger children, including a recitation of Emma and Mommy Talk to God to the pre-kindergarteners, and was treated to a presentation of a STREAM curriculum project by one of the middle school students. The curriculum allows students to learn vital skills like critical thinking and problem solving along with essential technology skill sets. The boy’s video presentation on Mount St. Helens featured his voice, still pictures, and graphic animation.
During the tour of the classrooms, the bishop was joined by Fr. Francis Morin, pastor of St. Michael Parish; Fr. Arokiasamy Santhiyagu, HGN, and Fr. Patrick Efé-egiughwe Agbodi, SMA, who are parochial vicars at St. Michael Parish; Jim King, the superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools; Suzanne Lafreniere, the diocesan director of public policy; and Kevin Cullen, the principal at St. Michael.
Before departing, Bishop Deeley gave the eighth graders, who will be leaving St. Michael for high school next year, an “exit interview.”
“What is the best part of St. Michael? What is something you will miss?” asked the bishop.
After a period of silence, one student raised his hand and said, “Teachers here won’t give up on you.”
“That is truly a gift,” responded the bishop.