Bishop Checchio walks familiar hallways

Bishop Checchio walks familiar hallways

Bishop James Checchio receives the offertory gifts from students Charlotte Shepherd, Lauren Potter, John Weiner and Casey Mueller during a Mass he celebrated Dec. 19 at Saint Teresa of Calcutta Church in Collingswood, for the Good Shepherd School community. Bishop Checchio of Metuchen is a 1980 graduate of the school, then known as Saint John’s.
Photo by James A. McBride

COLLINGSWOOD — Earlier this week, a former student turned shepherd of Metuchen returned to his roots here at, fittingly, Good Shepherd Regional School.

Bishop James Checchio celebrated Mass at his hometown church, Saint John, of Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish, for the school community of Good Shepherd Regional on Dec. 19, and he walked the familiar hallways of his grade school, from which he graduated in 1980 when it was still known as Saint John School.

“The students were excited to welcome him back,” noted principal Donald Garecht.

“They look up to him, and see what (is possible) in their own lives,” he said. “His visit strengthens our Catholic identity.”

Bishop Checchio spent 23 years as a priest of the Diocese of Camden — serving both in South Jersey and in Rome as rector of North American College — before Pope Francis named him bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, just up the turnpike, earlier this year.

Addressing the school’s current students in his homily during the morning liturgy, he urged them to, like the angels that appeared to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds, bring good news and hope to others in these days leading up to Jesus’ birth.

“Each one of us should be an angel to someone who needs our help,” he implored them.

“In these next few days before Christmas, be an angel, and perform an act of charity or act of love for others. In doing these things, you will become more like Jesus and make God present in the lives of others.”

One of the students inspired by Bishop Checchio’s life and message was eighth grader Brett Phillips, who had the opportunity to serve as one of the four altar servers during the special liturgy.

“It’s a great honor to have him here,” Phillips said of the bishop. “His visit makes me believe that I can” be successful, he said.

His fellow altar server, sixth grader Sophia Mancinelli, agreed. The bishop has inspired her to “learn more about my faith, and live in the love of God,” she said.

Categories: Latest News

About Author