By Elizabeth Carter | Contributing writer

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia visited All Saints School in Endicott and St. James School in Johnson City as a finale to Catholic Schools Week.

At All Saints School Bishop Lucia was welcomed with student performances that included prayers, cheers and songs. Bishop Lucia also spoke with the students, answered their questions and visited their classrooms. Lori Maron’s transitional kindergarten class welcomed the Bishop with the following prayer:

Hold my hand, Lord.

Show me the way.

Help me to be grateful every day.

Show me the difference

Between right and wrong.

Keep me safe, Lord, all day long.

Give me direction on what to do.

Lead the way, Lord,

I trust in YOU.

Bishop Lucia responds to student questions at All Saints School.

Bishop Lucia told the students at All Saints School that he could see the diocesan schools week themes of Faith, Excellence and Service alive in their school. Students were not shy about asking the Bishop their questions. They asked about becoming a Bishop, the difference between a Bishop and a Priest, where he went to school, how often he prays each day and his favorite part of being a Bishop.

One young boy asked about the hardest thing in becoming a priest. The Bishop said he loves what he does but when he was studying to be a priest in the seminary, the hardest part was the sacrifice of not being able to be a husband and a father. He prayed to God to ask for help and the Lord blessed him. When the Bishop visited the sixth-grade class, their teacher told him that the class was wondering how old you need to be to become a Bishop. They were surprised because they thought the Bishop looked too young to be one. All Saints student Addie Schmidt dedicated the song You Say to the Bishop. The Bishop was very grateful to the young singer and said that Lauren Daigle is one of his favorite musical artists.

St. James School in Johnson City

Bishop Lucia next toured St. James School. He began by blessing rosaries that will be distributed to each of the St. James students. Next, the Bishop visited the classrooms and when he arrived in the pre-K classroom, students immediately ran up to him with much joy in their hearts and big smiles on their faces. The students in each classroom at Saint James School also asked the Bishop questions. One student asked Bishop Lucia if he liked religion and another asked how long he had been a Priest. They asked if he had any hobbies and the Bishop told them he loves sports and he especially likes to golf, kayak, hike and work out in the gym. St. James students also wanted to know his favorite food, to which he responded spaghetti and meatballs!

Bishop Lucia blesses rosaries for students at St. James School. (Photo courtesy St. James faculty member Rich Volmer)

Many people may not realize that the Bishop speaks several languages and during his visits to the Broome elementary schools, the Bishop impressed everyone with his foreign-language skills. He spoke beautiful Italian several times throughout the day and while speaking with the students he translated and explained some Greek words to them. When the St. James students prayed the Hail Mary in Spanish, the Bishop thanked them in Spanish. Bishop Lucia also took a few minutes to check out a WORDLE while visiting one of the St. James classrooms. He also showed his fun side when he experimented with the Boomwhackers which are tuned percussion tubes used in the St. James music classes.

The faculty, staff, administrators and students at both elementary schools enjoyed a wonderful visit with Bishop Lucia. His presence in the Broome County Schools brought everyone a sense of peace and appreciation for our Catholic faith. We are grateful for his leadership and teaching and fortunate that our Catholic Schools are blessed with such an amazing Bishop. We are all looking forward to future visits from Bishop Lucia!

Elizabeth Carter, Ph.D., is president of Catholic Schools of Broome County.

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