Teachers and administrators attend the Mass before engaging in workshops and other activities. (Sun photos | Chuck Wainwright)

By Eileen Jevis | Staff writer

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia celebrated Mass Sept. 1 at Holy Cross Church to kick off the 2022-23 school year. He was joined by over 200 educators, staff, administrators and priests representing the 21 Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Syracuse. 

During his homily, Bishop Lucia said that if there is anything we need to help our youth and those who are called to be teachers in one way or another, it is goodness. “And that goodness is going to be found in our listening to one another,” he said. 

Bishop Lucia explained that part of the creation story is the sabbath and sabbath rest. Sabbath rest is about reconnecting with the creator. “When you and I do that, when we listen to our God, that’s when miracles happen.” Referring to the day’s Gospel (Luke 5:1-11), the Bishop said that the miracle of the disciples casting their nets and bringing in an abundance of fish would not have happened if Peter had ignored Jesus. “The theme for this year’s season of creation is about listening and caring for one another. Notice what happens when you and I listen to Jesus. That is the invitation we want our young people to have. What our young people need to hear more than ever is the word of God, the stories of Jesus,” said Bishop Lucia. 

At the end of Mass, the Bishop thanked the Catholic Schools Office team for all that they do, not just as school opens but all year long. “I am entirely grateful. Know how much you are appreciated, but even more what a blessing you are to us,” he said.

As Superintendent William Crist welcomed the faculty and staff back to a new school year, he echoed the Bishop’s gratefulness to those in attendance. “Change is in the air. The heat and humidity have gone by the wayside. It’s a fall day. It’s time to come back to school,” said Crist. “I can’t tell you how excited we, in the Catholic School Office, are to welcome you back. We especially welcome our students and families back as well. I hope for one thing for all of you — that each of you can celebrate peace and joy each day with your students. And that you can bring that peace and joy to each of them.”

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