Chief shepherd celebrates annual Catholic Schools Week Mass with approximately 700 students from Detroit-area Catholic schools
DETROIT — Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron encouraged Catholic school students to be the light in the world during the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass on Feb. 2 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
The Mass, which also marked the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, included Catholic school students and clergy processing through the cathedral with candles blessed by Archbishop Vigneron. The archbishop reminded students it is Jesus who enlightens their schools.
“Even though (Jesus is) only a baby, 40 days old, today Simeon acknowledges Jesus as the light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel,” Archbishop Vigneron said in his homily. “Today the whole Church joins in professing this faith. This human baby is God the Song, light to all peoples, the one who was promised to Abraham and Moses.”
The archbishop said it is the light of Christ that makes Catholic schools academic centers of excellence and service because it is Christ’s light that illuminates the world to show what is true and good and to be emulated by students and teachers alike.
“Light shows things for what they are,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Light shows that stool, which is in your way, and if you don’t pay attention to it, you will stub your toe. Christ’s light is in front of us, around us. It’s a light that shows us what is worthwhile, what is to be avoided, what is worth our attention.”
Archbishop Vigneron explained how Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem in the tradition of Jewish families presenting their firstborn son to God in commemoration of when God led the Israelites out of Egypt during the Exodus.
“And upon doing that, the old man Simeon was able to recognize that Jesus is the light,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Because he recognized Jesus was the true son of God, who fully came to the world to give Himself to the Father. Jesus is light because He is the subject, the love that God the Father gave all of us, to be and do. And to respond to His love, Jesus is the answer to the Father’s question, ‘Do you love me?’”
The archbishop said Christ is the answer to God’s question because Christ is the light who shows how men and women can be God’s obedient sons and daughters.
“Not because God is a tyrant, but because God loves us,” Archbishop Vigneron clarified. “God wants us to be happy. The only way we are going to be happy is to be in God’s love, to be God’s son or daughter. That is what we’re made for. We weren’t made for being on TikTok or to have 100,000 friends; we were made to be the friend and child of God.”
Archbishop Vigneron asked students to use this Feast of the Presentation, and the celebration of Catholic Schools Week, to be a renewal of the call they received when they were baptized to be Christ’s light in the world, a light that is renewed each time they encounter Jesus in the Eucharist and a light that is enkindled in the archdiocese’s Catholic schools.
“We know what is worthy and wise, because of our education,” Archbishop Vigneron. “We do know what is excellent, and we do know where we are headed, how we are equipped to walk the path. So we give God thanks because you don’t have to stumble in the dark. You have the light; you know your true destiny. You have the talent and education to know that. I’ll lead you in giving God thanks for the love you already have, the love and light which will lead you through all the years ahead, until we reunite in the new Jerusalem, where Jesus is the light that we live in for all eternity.”