HAMMONTON — Bishop Dennis Sullivan celebrated Mass Sept. 12 with the Saint Joseph High School community at Saint Joseph Church, Saint Mary of Mount Carmel Parish, and formally installed Father Allain Caparas as its new president/principal, instructing the school leader to minister with “genuine care and common concern” in his new duties.
Father Caparas most recently served as Director of Catholic Identity and head of the Religion Department at Gloucester Catholic High School. He replaces Lynn Domenico, who recently retired after nine years at Saint Joseph.
The Mass of the Holy Spirit kicked off the second week of school and was attended by students, teachers, administrators, parents and members of the school’s board of trustees.
Turning his words to the students in the pews, Bishop Sullivan urged the young church to “let the Holy Spirit move you toward Christ and allow it to transform your eyes, to see everyone in your school, community and around the world as your brothers and sisters; transform your ears to hear the cries of the poor; and transform your hands and feet to build up the body of Christ and reach out to others.”
He added, “Do not be afraid to be great. Do not be afraid to live a life in Christ.”
Commenting on the recent Summer Olympics in Brazil, Bishop Sullivan mentioned the many successful Olympians, such as Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, who weren’t afraid to share their Catholic faith on the world’s stage.
“These athletes are great witnesses to the power, energy and presence of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
After the Mass, Bishop Sullivan had breakfast with student government leaders at the school and, over the public address system, announced that he was giving students an early Christmas present: the day off on Friday, Dec. 23.
“It was an honor to have him visit the school,” said student government president J.D. DiRenzo. “It means a lot.”
The bishop’s visit to Hammonton was the first of his back-to-school Masses at diocesan high schools. This week, he celebrated with the school communities of Camden Catholic in Cherry Hill and Gloucester Catholic. Next week, he will travel to Wildwood Catholic and to Absecon’s Holy Spirit High School.