During makeup 'Catholic Schools Week' Mass, archbishop asks students to be light of Christ

Archbishop introduces Deacon Sean Costello as archdiocese's new superintendent of schools, announces art, scholarship contest winners

DETROIT — During a delayed "Catholic Schools Week" Mass on April 27, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron tasked Catholic school students with carrying the light of Christ from their classrooms out into the world.

Preaching at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, the archbishop said it was fitting to celebrate with the recently lit Easter candle, as Catholic schools' mission is to illuminate the world with truth.

“We were supposed to be here in the wintertime of course, but God in His providence decided to give us a snowstorm,” Archbishop Vigneron said, referencing the Feb. 3 snowstorm that postponed the annual all-schools Mass, originally scheduled during Catholic Schools Week.

Students from Holy Redeemer School in southwest Detroit participate in the rescheduled "Catholic Schools Week" Mass on April 27 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Students from Holy Redeemer School in southwest Detroit participate in the rescheduled "Catholic Schools Week" Mass on April 27 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“But what a blessing it is to celebrate today in the second week of the Easter season in the presence of this symbol of Christ, this Easter candle," the archbishop said. The candle, he said, "represents for us how Christ is the light of the world, a light that Pontius Pilate and the elders and high priests wanted to put out on Good Friday, but early in the morning, three days later, Christ rose from the dead and became the principal light.”

Students and teachers from Holy Redeemer School in Detroit, St. Anselm School in Dearborn Heights and other Catholic schools across the archdiocese attended the "makeup" Mass, with students assisting the archbishop as lectors during the liturgy.

Archbishop Vigneron pointed to the first reading from Acts of the Apostles and St. John’s often-quoted Gospel (John 3:16-21), in which Christ gives his disciples a mandate to go out and preach to the world.

“St. John says whoever lives in the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be largely seen to be done in God’s eyes,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “This proclamation we have, this proclamation that Christ is our light, helps us understand the point of Catholic education. We understand we have two goals in life; they don’t compete with one another, but they are mutually supportive of one another.”

Students served as readers during the Mass, with different students taking turns leading the prayers of the faithful.
Students served as readers during the Mass, with different students taking turns leading the prayers of the faithful.

The first goal of Catholic education is to help young men and women to know they are loved by God and are made specifically to carry out His plan, regardless of whatever vocation they may fulfill, the archbishop said. Secondly, the point of Catholic education is to prepare students for the next life, the reward that comes with being part of God’s plan.

“The light of Christ in our schools helps us understand the meaning of all we are engaged in,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “The science, the literature, the social studies, the mathematics, it is all done in the light of Christ. We don’t have a different kind of algebra, or a different kind of physics, or a different kind of geography, but what we have is a living geography, a living science, a living mathematics, because we understand these truths are rooted in the truth of Jesus Christ.”

Archbishop Vigneron also introduced Deacon Sean Costello as the new superintendent of Catholic schools for the archdiocese. Deacon Costello, the current principal of Powers Catholic High School in Flint and chief of staff for the Catholic Community of Flint, a collaborative of parishes, schools and ministries in the Genesee County city, will begin his new role July 1.

On behalf of the archdiocese's Department of Catholic Schools, Archbishop Vigneron thanked Laura Knaus for her service as acting superintendent. Knaus will resume her role as associate superintendent upon Deacon Costello's arrival.

Deacon Sean Costello, left, assists Archbishop Vigneron during the makeup "Catholic Schools Week" Mass at the cathedral on April 27. Archbishop Vigneron introduced Deacon Costello, currently the principal of Flint Powers Catholic High School, as the Archdiocese of Detroit's new superintendent of Catholic schools beginning July 1.
Deacon Sean Costello, left, assists Archbishop Vigneron during the makeup "Catholic Schools Week" Mass at the cathedral on April 27. Archbishop Vigneron introduced Deacon Costello, currently the principal of Flint Powers Catholic High School, as the Archdiocese of Detroit's new superintendent of Catholic schools beginning July 1.

Following Mass, Knaus announced the winners of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Catholic Schools Week Art Contest, as well as the finalists for Alliance Catholic Credit Union’s annual "Live it. Show it. Share it." scholarship contest.

The art contest focused on the theme, "The Holy Eucharist, the Source and Summit of Catholic Life."

Archbishop Vigneron thanked students, staff, faculty, parents and administrators for the work they do in promoting Catholic education, giving the students one final assignment as summer break approaches.

“Never, ever doubt how much the world needs you and depends on you, both in this case and in generations to come, to be beacons of the light of Christ,” Archbishop Vigneron said, “to dispel the darkness of dissolution, the darkness of sadness, the darkness of meaninglessness. I’m grateful to give God thanks for the blessing of you and our schools, to give thanks for what has been accomplished and what is to be accomplished.”

2022 Catholic Schools Week Art Contest Winners

K-4

  • 1st: Graham Burek, All Saints, Canton, second grade
  • 2nd: Andrew Ofiara, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth, third grade
  • 3rd: Marianne Faith Zeer, Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington, second grade

5-8

  • 1st: Andrew Bishop, Guardian Angels, Clawson, seventh grade
  • 2nd: Kaitlyn Hansen, All Saints, Canton, seventh grade
  • 2nd: Mega Teed, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth, sixth grade
  • 3rd: Addison Kurzatkowski, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth, fifth grade

9-12

  • 1st: Lucie Schudt, Austin Catholic, Chesterfield, 12th grade
  • 2nd: Anthony Pizzo, Austin Catholic, Chesterfield, 11th grade
  • 3rd: Anastasia Stochwiak, Cardinal Mooney, Marine City, 11th grade

Alliance Catholic Credit Union Scholarship Contest Winners

  • Grand Prize: Natalie Moncaleano, Regina High School, Warren, 10th grade -- “Coffee with St. Gemma Galgani”
  • Second Place: Emma Robinson, St. Catherine of Siena Academy, Wixom, ninth grade -- “Modern Day Wonder Woman”
  • Third Place: Natalie Nikolajevs, Divine Child High School, Dearborn, 11th grade -- “The Inspiring Life of St. Genesius”
  • Third Place: Madison Kainaya, Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills, 10th grade -- “Pray to St. Jude for Whatever Impossible Case You Find Yourself In”
  • Finalist: Kaitlyn Kainaya, Smith Middle School (Marian High School), eighth grade -- “Prayer to St. Rita for impossible cases and special needs”
  • Finalist: Therese Price, St. Catherine of Siena Academy, Wixom, 10th grade -- “Hang’n with St. Joseph”
  • Finalist: Luke Schena, De La Salle Collegiate, Warren, 10th grade -- “Messenger of Mercy: St. Faustina”
  • Finalist: Isabel Vidro, Regina High School, Warren, ninth grade -- “Saint Christopher”
  • Finalist: Kasandra Waldi, Austin Catholic, Chesterfield, 11th grade -- “St. Joan of Arc”
  • Finalist: Matthew Wilson, Our Lady of Good Counsel (Fr. Gabriel Richard , Ann Arbor), eighth grade -- “Meeting St. Francis of Assisi


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