Bishop Sullivan encourages students during school visits

Bishop Dennis Sullivan greets Jase and his mother, Jamie Dillich, after dropping Jase’s three older brothers off at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Regional School, Berlin, on Sept. 6.
Photo by James A. McBride

Bishop Dennis Sullivan helped get the new academic year off to a fresh start by including several school visits in his schedule.

He greeted children and parents as they arrived at the start of the day on Sept. 6, the second day of school, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Regional School, Berlin. This week he said Mass at Gloucester Catholic High School on Sept. 12 and was scheduled to visit Saint Joseph School, Somers Point, on Sept. 14 to celebrate Mass to commemorate the school’s 60th anniversary.

In his homily at Gloucester Catholic, the bishop encouraged students not only to pray, but to learn how to meditate as a way to stay close to God. He talked about the soccer players in Thailand who were stranded earlier this summer and how their coach used meditation to help calm their fears during 18 terrifying days trapped in a dark, wet cave with little more than crumbs in their pockets.

“[The coach] helped them to feel they were not abandoned and they were not hopeless,” said Bishop Sullivan, encouraging students to learn meditation techniques.

With the backdrop of the upcoming synod in Rome, which will focus entirely on youth in the church, the bishop talked about the need for saints — in the church, in schools, in families and in South Jersey.  “Saints are persons like you and me. They are not perfect. No one is perfect. Only God is perfect,” he said. He described saints as good human beings who are not afraid to stand up for what is right, who respect others, and who don’t consider themselves to be saints. “Prayer and meditation can help you become a saint,” he concluded.