Like the apostles, Bishop Battersby calls on students to become teachers of faith

Catholic school students carry the processional cross as altar servers into the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, with the newly installed statues of Christ's apostles in the background, during the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass on Feb. 1. (Photos by Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic)

Gabriel Richard freshman Genevieve Campbell wins $6K scholarship competition during annual Catholic Schools Week Mass

DETROIT — Auxiliary Bishop Gerard W. Battersby told Catholic school students Feb. 1 the most important lesson they can learn is how best they can follow Jesus.

Bishop Battersby emphasized how much Jesus loves each and every student assembled at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament for the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass, the principal archdiocesan celebration of National Catholic Schools Week.

“God has something beyond your imagination for you, something you can’t at this moment even consider,” Bishop Battersby said in his homily. “I promise you though, the path to discover that plan God intends for you goes through Jesus. It will emerge as you learn to follow Jesus, learn his ways. And as you learn his heart, as you learn his desires, you will learn his plans for you.”

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Bishop Battersby welcomed students from across the archdiocese on behalf of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, telling the students how Archbishop Vigneron’s vocation was nurtured at a Catholic school, and in his role as the archbishop of Detroit, he is the primary teacher of the faith in southeast Michigan.

Bishop Battersby asked students to draw their gaze to the cathedral's newly installed statues of the apostles — the first teachers of the Gospel — and how gathering in the cathedral is a sign of their communion with the universal Church.

“My sisters and brothers, it is good to be together here in the principal church of the Archdiocese of Detroit; even this building is catechetical,” Bishop Battersby said. “The statues you see today are the teachers, our first teachers in the Church. Fr. (J.J.) Mech (cathedral rector) installed them, a wonderful use of these statues which came from St. Benedict in Highland Park (the parish where Bishop Battersby grew up). The (cathedral) is the episcopal seat to which your own parish church and school are intimately united in the bond of charity with the entire Church, under Archbishop Vigneron.”

Bishop Battersby told students the message the apostles, and the Church throughout the ages, have taught is Jesus’ heart is overflowing with love for each person, and Christ ultimately desires for all of creation to be transformed by his love.

“Jesus wants to make us like him. He wants us to imitate him. He wants us to seek always the Father’s will for us," Bishop Battersby said. "He wants us to keep his commandments as a visible sign of love for him, a sign others can see like these statues that surround the nave.”

Students from dozens of Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Detroit attended the Mass at Detroit's cathedral, a sign of the Church's unity in southeast Michigan, Bishop Battersby said.
Students from dozens of Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Detroit attended the Mass at Detroit's cathedral, a sign of the Church's unity in southeast Michigan, Bishop Battersby said.
The most important lesson Catholic schools can teach is how to love Jesus and be more Christlike to others in the world, the bishop said.
The most important lesson Catholic schools can teach is how to love Jesus and be more Christlike to others in the world, the bishop said.

Bishop Battersby told the students and teachers it is their job to teach the world that Jesus is not just an idea, but rather a person, living today in each and every disciple of Christ, who are called to be Christ-bearers in the world.

Alluding to the namesake of the cathedral, and calling upon the first reading from Exodus, in which God provided manna that came down from heaven to feed the Israelites while fleeing Egypt, and how in the Gospel of St. John, in which Jesus proclaimed He was the new manna, Bishop Battersby said the real, living presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the nourishment they can draw upon to proclaim that Jesus is alive.

“The Eucharist, the mystery of the real presence of Christ, for which this church is named, is a visible memorial representation of God’s everlasting promise,” Bishop Battersby said. “It’s something to which every Christian in heaven, every human being, is met to be conformed and by which we are transformed by the power and spirit of God.”

Bishop Battersby said that transformation into becoming Christ-like is the most important lesson they can learn in Catholic schools, regardless of which vocation God is calling them to follow.

Students from St. Thecla Catholic School in Clinton Township take part in the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass. The week celebrates academics, faith and service in a Catholic educational setting and provides an opportunity for schools to showcase what they can offer to the community.
Students from St. Thecla Catholic School in Clinton Township take part in the annual Catholic Schools Week Mass. The week celebrates academics, faith and service in a Catholic educational setting and provides an opportunity for schools to showcase what they can offer to the community.

“You and me are just ordinary men and women, but are planned by God to bear in our person the real presence of Christ,” Bishop Battersby said. “To be Christ-bearers. Or as Archbishop Vigneron wrote, ‘To become living tabernacles, to bear Christ personally into the world.'”

Alliance Catholic Credit Union invites students to design apparel

Alliance Catholic Credit Union hosted its eighth annual "Live It. Show It. Share It" Scholarship Contest, which invites students from across the Archdiocese of Detroit to submit entries celebrating Catholic schools and sharing the faith.

This year’s contest invited students to submit ideas for apparel rooted in the principles of Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron’s 2017 pastoral letter on evangelization.

There were 137 submission sent to Keith Burke, vice president of marketing and community relations for Alliance Catholic Credit Union, and his team, who evaluated each design and whittled it down to 10 finalists.

Finalists in Alliance Catholic Credit Union's eighth annual "Live it. Show it. Share it." Scholarship Contest hold up their certificates during an award presentation following the Catholic Schools Week Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Finalists in Alliance Catholic Credit Union's eighth annual "Live it. Show it. Share it." Scholarship Contest hold up their certificates during an award presentation following the Catholic Schools Week Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“I went through all 137 ideas myself, and they were all phenomenal ideas,” Burke told Detroit Catholic. “Some that stood out were some knit hats with lettering on them. One had a Latin message of the Holy Trinity, one had the simple message of ‘I AM’ on a knit hat and it was really unique. Two of them had messages on the front and back. One was ‘Jesus has your back,’ on the back, and on the front was ‘And your heart.’”

Genevieve Campbell, a ninth-grader at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, took first place with a logo she designed depicting the Holy Spirit on a winter hat, winning a $6,000 scholarship.

“It was fire, with each level of fire representing different tiers or bodies of the Holy Trinity,” Campbell said. “A dove for the Holy Spirit, a cross for Jesus and a crown for God. I really enjoy learning about all the different designs for the Holy Trinity, the clover, the rings; those really inspired me.”

Once the top 10 were selected, the finalists were invited to Alliance Catholic Credit Union’s headquarters in Farmington Hills for interviews with a panel that included judges from the Alliance Catholic Credit Union, the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Office of Catholic Schools and Madonna University.

Genevieve Campbell, right, a freshman at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, receives her first-place award from Jessica Rabine, communications coordinator for Alliance Catholic Credit Union. Campbell's winning apparel design depicted the Holy Trinity, with different levels of fire representing different characteristics of the Divine Persons of the Trinity.
Genevieve Campbell, right, a freshman at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview, receives her first-place award from Jessica Rabine, communications coordinator for Alliance Catholic Credit Union. Campbell's winning apparel design depicted the Holy Trinity, with different levels of fire representing different characteristics of the Divine Persons of the Trinity.

“The students have never been to our building before, they had never met these people, they didn’t even know what questions were going to be asked, but they sat down for 15 minutes and they amazed these leaders,” Burke said. “That is such a rewarding day; students explain their entries, their creativity, coming in and being poised, confident and just being impressive in their interviews.”

After the interviews, the panels award additional prizes for first, second and third place, with others in the top 10 receiving $1,000 scholarships.

Campbell said the interview was nerve-wracking, but it was a pleasant surprise to hear her design placed first.

“It was extremely nerve-wracking at first, but after I got the first few questions down, I got a lot more confident in my answers, and I think it really went well,” Campbell said. “I was extremely surprised (to be in first place). I didn’t know how many entrants there were, how many schools were involved. Being chosen out of that many people, it made me very proud and very humbled.”

Alliance Catholic Credit Union's 8th annual "Live It. Show It. Share It" Scholarship Contest winners

  • First place: Genevieve Campbell, Gabriel Richard High School, Riverview - $6,000
  • Second place: Chisomaga Nwoke, Mercy High School, Farmington Hills - $4,500
  • Third place (tie): Vivian Gray, Holy Cross Elementary School, Marine City - $2,500
  • Third place (tie): Cole Moeller, St. Isaac Jogues Elementary School, St. Clair Shores - $2,500

Additional winners

  • Story DeLaRosa, Bishop Foley High School, Madison Heights - $1,000
  • Hadi Debajah, Sacred Heart Elementary, Dearborn - $1,000
  • Veronica DiFranco, St. Catherine of Siena, Wixom - $1,000
  • Anderson Heggie, Gabriel Richard High School, Riverview - $1,000
  • Lucy Holt, All Saints Elementary School, Canton - $1,000
  • Lucy Mobily, Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills - $1,000


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