Archbishop Fabre asks faithful to steadfastly believe in God’s will
The East Tennessee Catholic
Parishioners in all four Diocese of Knoxville deaneries met Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre and listened as he shared the Gospel and his outlook for the Catholic Church in East Tennessee during the week of Aug. 14, when he celebrated Masses at St. Jude, St. Dominic, All Saints, Holy Ghost, and St. John Neumann churches, and visited Alexian Village residents in Signal Mountain.
The archbishop also visited three diocesan schools: Notre Dame High School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chattanooga and Knoxville Catholic High School.
It was the archbishop’s first sojourn into the heart of the diocese since he was named its apostolic administrator by Pope Francis following the June retirement of Bishop Emeritus Richard F. Stika.
Archbishop Fabre, who was received by robust congregations around East Tennessee, has made regular visits to the Chancery in Knoxville since June 27, when Bishop Stika stepped down, but the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Louisville had celebrated Mass only at the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (on June 28) until last month.
The theme of Archbishop Fabre’s homilies throughout his four-day tour of parishes and schools was the need for the faithful to listen to God’s will, a timely message as the diocese awaits the appointment of a new bishop. And he highlighted Mary to illustrate the absolute faith that underpins Catholics.
In reviewing his visits across East Tennessee, Archbishop Fabre said, “I found great welcome. I found great, great faith. I found people who are looking forward to what God is doing now and what God will do in the future for this wonderful Diocese of Knoxville.”
“I have to say that, for the most part, I found what I expected,” the archbishop noted. “I found people who are solid in their faith, people who want to accomplish God’s will, people who love this diocese, people who love their priests, people who trust God, people who, like Mary, want to be faithful.
“That’s what I found, and I’m deeply grateful for that.”
Archbishop Fabre said he traveled around the diocese because he wanted to get acquainted with the Catholic faithful of East Tennessee.
“I wanted people to know that I am here for them. I wanted to greet them and see them. I wanted to hear their thoughts. As I said in my homilies, parishes are the heart of the Church, and the heart of parishes are people,” he shared. “So, to get to know the heart of the Church, you really have to encounter the people.”
The Louisville archbishop has been pleased and impressed by what he has seen driving from Chattanooga through the Tennessee Valley to the Tri-Cities. He also was in Crossville this month to celebrate Mass and dedicate the newly built St. Alphonsus Church.
“The Diocese of Knoxville has many, many talented people, pastoral leadership, and diocesan administration. And that’s part of the picture. But the other equally important part is the faithful, whom we serve, and the opportunity to meet them and greet them and pray with them and to just let them know I’m here with you and you are an important part of this Church. So, those are just some of the reasons I wanted to go around. To let them know that I see you; I hear you; I’m praying for you; I’m praying with you; and I thank you for your enduring faith,” he said.
Archbishop Fabre spent Aug. 14 in Chattanooga, visiting Notre Dame High School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, the residents at Alexian Village retirement community in Signal Mountain, and celebrating an evening Mass at St. Jude Church.
Concelebrating this Mass were Father Charlie Burton, pastor of St. Jude Parish; Father Alex Waraksa, associate pastor of St. Jude; Father John Dowling, pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Signal Mountain; Father Zach Griffith, associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish; Monsignor Al Humbrecht, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Soddy-Daisy; Father Valentin Iurochkin, associate pastor of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul; Father Christopher Manning, associate pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Chattanooga and chaplain of Notre Dame High School; Father Mike Nolan, pastor of St. Thérèse of Lisieux Parish in Cleveland; Father John Orr, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Athens; Father Manuel Pérez, pastor of St. Stephen; Father Albert Sescon, chaplain at Alexian Village; Father Arthur Torres, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help; and Father Jim Vick, pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Dayton.
Serving at the Mass were Deacon Brian Gabor as deacon of the Word and Deacon Paul Nelson as deacon of the altar. Deacon Hicks Armor served as emcee at all of the Masses Archbishop Fabre celebrated that week.
In his homily at St. Jude for the Chattanooga Deanery, the archbishop reminded the congregation that during August the Church honors Mary as the mother of God and reflects on her assumption. His remarks were made on the eve of the feast of the Assumption.
“For many reasons, God allowed Mary to share completely in the salvation that Jesus would bring, the salvation that overcomes death, spoken of in our second reading tonight. Chief among the reasons Mary was allowed to share beforehand the salvation Jesus would bring, I believe is this: at the very center of her life, Mary trusted the Lord and always desired to accomplish His will. Mary trusted the Lord, and she wanted to do God’s will,” Archbishop Fabre said.
“In a manner similar to Mary, I hope that this is something that is at the very center of my own life, of your life, that if like Mary we trust the Lord, and truly desire to accomplish the Lord’s will, the Lord’s will will be accomplished,” he added.
The archbishop shared that he repeatedly recalls in his own life in ministry that if he trusts the Lord and truly desires to do His will, His will is what will happen.
He told the parishioners that Mary was like the Ark of the Covenant, a new tabernacle for who she carried in her womb: Jesus Christ, His body and blood.
“My dear friends, every time we come to Mass, every time we receive the Eucharist, we become like an Ark of the Covenant, like a tabernacle. We carry Jesus’ body and blood inside our very bodies. We become the dwelling place of God in a very real way. We walk out of the Church carrying Jesus both spiritually and sacramentally. And the Eucharist strengthens and challenges us to bring Jesus to the world by way of our own words and actions. Mary is a model of faith for us in this,” the archbishop pointed out.
Archbishop Fabre drew a parallel between Mary and today’s faithful, who completely trust the Lord as Mary did.
“In our Gospel today, a woman cries out that blessed is the woman who carried and nursed Jesus. However, Jesus instead declares as blessed those who hear the word of God and keep it, those who trust and believe in what the Lord has said,” the archbishop remarked. “While it is certainly appropriate to honor Mary as the blessed one who trusted God and brought to birth our Savior, in keeping with what Jesus declares in our Gospel tonight, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. In keeping with the statement of Jesus is the pious statement of St. Augustine, where he stated Mary was more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”
The shepherd of Louisville’s archdiocese urged parishioners, deacons, and priests in attendance to continue trusting in the Lord like Mary and the disciples did, for God has made a promise to each of His faithful.
“We are blessed because we are disciples of the Lord, we trust in Him, and we seek His will. On this solemn feast of the Assumption, we honor Mary, and we recall her flawless example of trust in God and her total desire to accomplish God’s will. Because of the totality of her faith and trust, Mary was assumed, taken up body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life. Though granted to Mary in a unique way, this is also something that God has promised to those who trust Him and seek to accomplish His will. This is something that God has promised to each of us, that one day our bodies and our soul will also enter into heaven,” Archbishop Fabre told the group.
“As we here in the Diocese of Knoxville are being currently called to greater trust in the Lord, to focus our attention on Him, I pray that we will trust the Lord as completely as Mary did. As a model of faith, Mary’s example calls us to trust in the Lord, a trust, if embraced, that will animate our souls and spirits and will animate this wonderful diocese.
“May our trust in the Lord assure us that the Lord is with us in whatever He is calling us to embrace, especially during these days of transition in this local Church of Knoxville. May our utmost desire always be to humbly set aside our own will to accomplish what God desires of us. Through the intercession of Mary, our mother, may we always be courageous enough to trust, to believe in Jesus Christ, so that we in this Diocese of Knoxville might be as blessed as Mary was in her faith and trust. Amen.”
Archbishop Fabre spent time visiting the young children at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School and interacted with the older students at Notre Dame High School, where he addressed them during an all-school assembly.
And at Alexian Village, a Catholic-based retirement community in Signal Mountain, Archbishop Fabre received applause when he entered the chapel, where the archbishop addressed the Catholic residents and blessed them, according to Veronica Nacchio of Alexian Village.
On the morning of Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption, Archbishop Fabre celebrated Mass at All Saints Church for the students and faculty of Knoxville Catholic High School.
Concelebrating the all-school Mass were Father David Boettner, rector of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; Father Doug Owens, pastor of All Saints; Father Chris Michelson, pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish in Knoxville and adviser to Knoxville Catholic High School; Father Joe Reed, pastor of St. John Neumann Parish in Farragut; Father Randy Stice, director of Worship and Liturgy for the Diocese of Knoxville who celebrates school Masses at KCHS; Father Ray Powell, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Oak Ridge; Father Tim Sullivan, CSP, associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Knoxville; and Monsignor Patrick Garrity, who serves on the KCHS board and also celebrates Masses at KCHS.
Serving at the school Mass were Deacon Sean Smith, Deacon Joe Stackhouse, who was deacon of the altar, and Deacon Dave Duhamel, who was deacon of the Word.
The archbishop continued to underscore the faith of Mary and how she serves as a role model for Catholics at every age and stage of life, especially young people who can enrich their faith by following Mary’s example. He urged the students to study Mary’s faith as he stressed that God and His Son, Jesus Christ, are the source and summit of the Catholic faith.
Archbishop Fabre embraced the teacher side of his vocation and offered the students a religious-education tutorial from the sanctuary.
“Why are we here today? What is it that the Church is calling our attention to? You might be surprised. You might say Mary. I don’t think that is the correct answer. That’s part of the answer. But it is not the correct answer. The Church always calls our attention to Jesus Christ, to God, and God alone. Today, we worship the Lord, and the Lord alone. Our focus is on Christ.
“But today, the Church invites us to see how Mary was a perfect disciple of Jesus Christ and to celebrate her faith in Jesus Christ, her Son. The Church does that in many ways. Today, as you may note, especially those of you who are Catholic, is a holy day of obligation. We gladly welcome those of you here at Knoxville Catholic High School who come from other faith traditions. Today, Catholics should make every effort to come to Mass,” the archbishop said.
To stress the importance of attending Mass, Archbishop Fabre reminded the students that the Ten Commandments, and the Church, say to keep holy the Lord’s Day by worshiping together at Mass on Sunday and holy days of obligation.
“Today is an opportunity, an invitation, an obligation of the Church to do precisely that. What does the Church invite us to focus on? It is Jesus Christ. We celebrate the life of Mary, and we honor Mary. We worship God, and God alone. But we honor Mary as that perfect disciple of her Son,” he said during his homily.
He also reminded them that everything God has given to Mary, He has promised to them.
He pointed out that Mary is an especially appropriate role model for them because as a young woman she was asked to summon all her faith and believe in God’s plan for her, to be the mother of Jesus. At this challenging time in her young life, she relied on her faith and prayer, and she sought the counsel of her older cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist and helped Mary as she carried Jesus in her womb.
And he acknowledged that it isn’t easy being a teen today. But as teens face the pressures of today’s secular culture, they should take a moment as Mary did and think and pray to God about any challenges they face.
“And in that communion with God, hopefully we find courage and strength and lift that up to you as young people today,” the archbishop said, encouraging them to also cultivate good communication with their parents and competent adults who can guide them.
“It’s a challenge today being a young person. I hope you can have those discussions with your parents, with competent adults who can help you to understand, with a priest or a deacon, or people here at the school,” he continued.
He shared with them that prayer and confiding in a trusted friend or colleague are invaluable to him.
“Those two things I do very often in my life. Those two things I lift up to you today as young people, to take Mary as your example in your life in those two ways, to trust the Lord, pray to Him, ponder what’s going on, and then speak to someone competent who can help you with whatever it is that has manifested itself in your life. We honor Mary, for in those ways, and so many other ways, she was the perfect disciple of Jesus Christ,” he said.
And the archbishop continued the theme with the students that Mary was the Ark of the New Covenant, for she and her body bore the Messiah. “St. Augustine wonderfully says, and I paraphrase, Mary was more blessed in her belief in her Son than the fact that she gave birth to Him. Mary was more blessed in the fact that she believed in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord than she was in the fact that she gave birth to Him.”
He stressed to the students that the blessing of faith that God instilled in Mary is available to all who will believe.
Archbishop Fabre urged the students to hope and trust in God. “So, my dear young friends, today we gather to worship God, and God alone; to thank Him for His promise, and to the best of our ability to live our lives desiring that promise, and looking to and honoring Mary as that perfect disciple, remembering that even though there were times when she was confused, she trusted, she prayed, she pondered, she spoke to others about what was going on in her life. In those ways, and in so many other ways, she magnified the greatness of God. And you and I do the same as we place our hope and trust in the Living God and look to Mary as a model of faith for us. Amen.”
To conclude Mass, Archbishop Fabre thanked the students and faculty for their attention, prayer, and faith. He prayed that the new school year will have God’s grace, blessing, and peace.
“I believe the prayers of young people are powerful. As a matter of fact, I know that they are. Your prayers as young people pierce the heavens and rise very quickly to the mind and heart of God. So I ask your prayers for me even as I assure you of my prayers for you,” he said.
Following Mass, Archbishop Fabre sat down with 21 Knoxville Catholic High School students over lunch in the school to discuss faith, his temporary assignment as apostolic administrator until Pope Francis names a new Diocese of Knoxville bishop, and the challenges he faces as archbishop.
Later that same day, Archbishop Fabre celebrated Mass for the Five Rivers Deanery at St. Dominic in Kingsport, where he again emphasized the total trust Mary had in the Lord.
“We are blessed because we are disciples of the Lord, because we trust Him, because we have faith in Him, and because we seek, first and foremost, to accomplish God’s will. This celebration of Mary’s assumption indicates to us what we are destined for, if we, like Mary, trust the Lord and accomplish His will. Death and the corruption of the grave did not touch Mary because she participates in Christ’s salvation, body, soul, and spirit, in heaven because she remained without sin and followed Jesus as His perfect disciple,” Archbishop Fabre told the Five Rivers Deanery parishioners during his homily.
Quoting Scripture from the day’s readings, the archbishop reminded the faithful that like Mary, all of God’s children have been promised eternal life. “For those who accept this promise and live as disciples of Jesus Christ, although death will temporarily touch us, we know that death is not the final word,” he said.
Archbishop Fabre likened the faith of the East Tennessee faithful who await a new bishop to that of Mary, who trusted in the Lord and was faithful to His plan for her.
“On this solemn feast of the Assumption, we honor Mary, and we recall her flawless example of trust in God and accomplishing God’s will. Because of the totality of her faith and trust, Mary was assumed, taken up body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life. Though God granted to Mary in a unique way this gift, this is something that has also been promised to each one of us: that one day, body, soul, and spirit, we, too, will enter into eternal life in heaven.
“As we here in the Diocese of Knoxville are being currently called to greater trust in the Lord and to refocus our attention on Him, I pray that we will trust the Lord as completely as Mary did. As a model of faith, Mary’s example calls us to trust the Lord, a trust, if embraced, that will animate our souls, our spirits, and will animate this wonderful Diocese of Knoxville.
“May our trust in the Lord assure us that He is with us in whatever He is calling us to embrace, especially during these days of transition in this local Church of Knoxville. May our utmost desire always be to humbly set aside our own will to accomplish what God desires of us. Through the intercession of Mary, our mother, may we always be courageous enough to believe in and to trust Jesus, so that each and every one of us in this wonderful Diocese of Knoxville might be as blessed as Mary was in her discipleship and in her faith. Amen,” he concluded.
Concelebrating the Five Rivers Deanery Mass were Father Bede Aboh, chaplain of the Catholic Center at East Tennessee State University; Father Andrew Crabtree, parochial vicar at St. Dominic; Father Dustin Collins, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Johnson City; Father Michael Cummins, pastor of St. Dominic; Father Matthew Donahue, who is studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; Father Jesús Guerrero, associate pastor of St. Mary in Johnson City; Father Jim Harvey, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Jefferson City; Father Joseph Kuzhupil, MSFS, pastor of Notre Dame Parish in Greeneville; Father Moisés Moreno, parochial vicar at St. Mary in Johnson City; Father Bart Okere, pastor of St. Henry Parish in Rogersville; and Father Kenneth Wandera, GHM, who is parochial administrator of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Erwin.
Serving at the Five Rivers Deanery Mass were Deacon Humberto Collazo, who was deacon of the Word, and Deacon Bob Lange, who was deacon of the altar.
On Aug. 16, Archbishop Fabre celebrated Mass at Holy Ghost Church in Knoxville for the Smoky Mountain Deanery.
The Assumption continued to be the archbishop’s emphasis at Holy Ghost as he preached on Mary’s undeniable faith in God, which led to her assumption into heaven.
He described his visits to the deanery parishes, where he shared the Eucharist with many of the diocese’s parishioners, as a “joy and privilege” and a “divine encounter” that he has appreciated experiencing.
He referred to Mary as a “pillar of faith” and said her “glorious assumption” into heaven was a divine testament to that great faith.
“Mary trusted the Lord and truly was able to do His will. Hopefully, we believe the same. We trust the Lord and truly desire to do His will,” the archbishop said. “This is a simple, yet profound, reality.”
He acknowledged that it is difficult for the faithful to truly desire to do God’s will “because it involves humility on our part.”
“For we must truly desire God’s will and not our own will,” he continued.
And while the mother of God is described in many ways, such as “Mary, Queen of Heaven; Mary, Seat of Wisdom; and Mary, Our Lady of Peace; never forget that she also is known as Mary, Our Mother of Sorrows. … Mary had great sorrow in her efforts to be faithful to God’s will.”
The archbishop asked the congregation to give God enough opportunity to work His grace in their lives.
He said Scripture offers many stories of those who trusted the Lord and those who did not.
“Mary is the ultimate example to us of what it means to trust the Lord,” he said, “even if she did not completely understand what was happening.”
Archbishop Fabre again cited St. Augustine, who said that while it is worthy to honor Mary as the mother of God in giving birth to the Messiah, Mary was more blessed because she believed in her Son and was His faithful disciple.
He said that as the Diocese of Knoxville transitions to a new bishop, East Tennessee’s faithful must have trust in the Lord that His will will be done.
“May Mary’s example call us to greater trust in the Lord,” he added. “May our trust in the Lord assure us that He is with us … especially during this time of transition in the local Church of Knoxville, this wonderful diocese.”
Just as in the other diocesan Masses he celebrated, Archbishop Fabre greeted parishioners one by one following Mass during a reception for him.
Priests concelebrating the Holy Ghost Mass were Father Bill McNeeley, pastor of Holy Ghost Parish; Father Michael Hendershott, associate pastor of Holy Ghost; Father Boettner, Father Sullivan, Father Charlie Donahue, CSP, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish; Father Pontian Kiyimba, AJ, parochial administrator of St. Mary Parish in Gatlinburg and Church of the Good Shepherd in Newport; Father Dan Whitman, who is the spiritual moderator of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and is retired from active ministry; Father Don Andrie, CSP, pastor of St. John XXIII Catholic Center; Father Martin Gladysz, associate pastor of the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; Father Gilbert Diaz, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Seymour; and Father Joseph Austin, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Alcoa.
Deacon Gordy Lowery served the Mass as deacon of the Word, and Deacon Scott Maentz served as deacon of the altar. Others in attendance were Deacon Patrick Murphy-Racey, Deacon Dave Venesky, Deacon Tim Elliott, Deacon Bob Denne, Deacon Dean Burry, Deacon Mike Eiffe, Deacon Gilbert Campos, and Deacon Mike Jacobs.
Archbishop Fabre concluded his East Tennessee pilgrimage by celebrating Mass for the Cumberland Mountain Deanery at St. John Neumann Church in Farragut on Aug. 17. And as with each Mass he celebrated Aug. 14-17, he ended the celebrations with a message to the people of the deaneries who are anxiously awaiting a new bishop.
He closed his four-day visit to the Diocese of Knoxville deaneries with a simple, yet impactful, message to the faithful that is central to their belief: trust in the Lord that His will be done.
“It’s easy to say this, yet it’s difficult to accomplish because on my part and on your part it requires humility, for what we truly must desire is God’s will and not my own will. To let go of what I want is humbling, and to desire, as Mary did, only that which the Lord wants,” the archbishop told the congregation.
He preached that asking for God’s will requires sacrifice. Seeking God’s will can be difficult, especially when trials and tribulations seem overwhelming and when prayers aren’t readily answered clearly and decisively.
“Even in such circumstances, an attitude of humble trust that seeks to accomplish God’s will, and not my will, gives God enough of an opening to work His grace in our lives,” Archbishop Fabre said. “Even in challenging times, when God seems not to be responding to our prayers, trusting Him, nonetheless, desiring His will is enough of an opening for God to act in our lives.”
He re-emphasized that Mary sets the ultimate example for Catholics of what it means to be that perfect disciple and that God is faithful to His people, even when His people fail to follow through on their faith in Him.
The Bible records instances when people denied a belief in God’s will, such as King Ahaz.
Archbishop Fabre cited one of his favorite passages in Scripture, when Elizabeth said to Mary, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
“How wonderful that would be if that could be said of me or of all of us,” he said.
He pointed out that Mary’s trust in the Lord was so all-encompassing that her entire being, her body, her soul, and her spirit, proclaimed God’s greatness.
And he noted that Scripture accounts of unfailing faith that God’s will be done are akin to the faith that East Tennessee Catholics are now called on to have as they await a new bishop.
“My dear friends in Christ, as we here in the Diocese of Knoxville are being currently called to greater trust in the Lord and to refocus our attention on Him, I pray that we will trust the Lord as completely as Mary did, a pillar of faith and good example for us,” he said. “As a model in faith, may Mary’s example call us to trust in the Lord, a trust that if we embrace it, it will animate our souls and spirits and will animate this wonderful Diocese of Knoxville.
“May our trust in the Lord assure us that God is with us in whatever He is calling us to embrace, especially during these days of transition in this local Church of Knoxville. May my utmost desire, may your utmost desire always be to humbly set aside our own will to accomplish what God desires in all that we do through the intercession of Mary, a pillar of faith. As stated in our second reading today, may God make all things new as we place our hope and trust in Him.
“Through the intercession of Mary, our mother, may we always be courageous enough to trust and believe in Jesus Christ so that we and this wonderful Diocese of Knoxville can be as blessed as Mary was in her discipleship and in her faith. Amen.”
Concelebrating this Mass were Father Neil Blatchford, parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish in Oak Ridge; Father Joseph Hammond, CHS, coordinator of pastoral outreach for the Hispanic communities of Our Lady of Fatima and St. Alphonsus; Father Alex Hernandez, associate pastor of All Saints; Father Dennis Kress, pastor of St. Therese Parish in Clinton and St. Joseph Parish in Norris; Father Michael Maples, associate pastor of St. John Neumann; Father Dominic Nguyen, CRM, pastor of the Church of Divine Mercy in Knoxville; Father Neil Pezzulo, GHM, pastor of St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish in Maynardville and St. John Paul II Catholic Mission in Rutledge; Father Ray Powell; Father Joe Reed; Father Mark Schuster, pastor of St. Alphonsus; and Father Sam Sturm, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in LaFollette, St. Jude Parish in Helenwood, and Christ the King Parish in Tazewell.
Also serving at the Mass were Deacon Shawn Ballard, who served as deacon of the altar, Deacon Greg Larson, who served as deacon of the Word, Deacon Rafael Pubillones, Deacon Dave Duhamel, Deacon Dan Hosford, Deacon Mike Humphreys, Deacon Dave Lucheon, Deacon John Krepps, and Deacon Jim Bodine.
“Elementary Catholic schools are wonderful places to go. You go and they’re always so glad to see you, particularly the little ones. I enjoyed my visits to the elementary schools, the teachers, the staff, faculty, and administration, all of whom make Catholic education the gift that it is in this diocese. And in so many ways parents who sacrifice so much for Catholic education as well as administrators and staff and teachers, who sacrifice so much,” he said.
The archbishop relished his time at Notre Dame and Knoxville Catholic high schools, meeting with students and faculty and getting the opportunity to respond to their questions and observations.
“And the high schools, I enjoy being with young people, young adults, youth, particularly those in high school, those who are being confirmed or are just newly confirmed. I enjoyed my visit to Notre Dame High School and Knoxville Catholic High School and to encounter them. I just wanted to let them know that you are an important part of the Church, important enough that I am going to visit you as I make my trip around the diocese,” he said.
“You are an important part of the present Church. You are an important part of the future Church. You are an important part of the Church. So, I am going to stop, and I am going to say hello and encounter you and just talk to you. I think young people need to be reminded how much the Church needs them and how much they need the Church. I hope my visit to the schools and to the high schools supported that relationship.”
Contributing to this story were Jim Wogan, Bill Brewer, Dan McWilliams, Gabrielle Nolan, and Emily Booker.