Bishop DiMarzio Visits Two Queens Schools To Celebrate Quality of Education
(Photos: Melissa Enaje)
“Can you do a backflip?” isn’t the average question that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio must address, but during Catholic Schools Week, students at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy, Bellerose, got a chance to “Stump the Bishop” with inquiries that showcased their inquisitive innocence and curiosity.
In what has become a tradition during his school visits, the question-and-answer sessions with Bishop DiMarzio are just one small facet of the annual celebration.
For more than 40 years, Catholic schools around the nation observe the week with events like Masses, open houses and other activities for families and community members in order to promote the value of an education that revolves around the Catholic faith, knowledge and service.
Bishop DiMarzio thanked those in attendance for being involved with a Catholic education that is well-rounded, complete and supported by dedicated groups of individuals.
“We weren’t ashamed to ask for help for our schools,” he said.
“We knew we needed extra help. Principals couldn’t carry it by themselves. Pastors were very busy. So our school boards take the burden from the pastor or the principal and they help run the schools so that they can be financially successful and educationally excellent. We work together to give you great education.”
Education officials from the diocese and St. Gregory’s board of directors accompanied Bishop DiMarzio and sat in the front row for a special presentation. Sitting next to the bishop was Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, the diocesan Superintendent of Schools.
Amidst the crowd of students in their deep emerald and gold uniforms were proud family members smiling in anticipation for the students’ performances.
Best Foot Forward in Bellerose
Focusing on the 2018 Catholic Schools Week theme of “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed,” faculty and their students put their best foot forward. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students sang, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me.”
Third and fourth graders chose to sing about achieving goals and one day becoming astronauts, preachers or teachers in “Hall of Fame.”
Fifth and sixth graders sang about what Jesus taught them to do, which is to “Put a Little Love In Your Heart.” Seventh and eighth graders sang “Lean on Me” focusing on the learning portion of the CSW theme as they told the audience that they’re “always ready to lend an open hand.”
After the performance, Bishop DiMarzio and the diocesan schools’ office team travelled further west in Queens to St. Margaret’s Catholic Academy in Middle Village.
Middle Village Welcome
A sea of blue sweatsuit uniforms marked with the school’s emblem awaited the bishop’s arrival. When he entered, they stood up and sang the school song.
Sitting in front of the auditorium, the bishop became the special recipient of a custom gift bag that three students dressed in chef hats and aprons presented to him. It included culinary items that the students knew would appeal to his cooking skills.
Bishop DiMarzio presented Principal Victoria Richardson with a certificate commemorating his visit and then proceeded on a tour of the building.
In classroom after classroom, he was greeted with smiles and stares. Along the way, he was greeted with artwork that the students made in preparation for Catholic Schools Week.
At each stop, Bishop DiMarzio requested each student do one thing: “Thank your mothers and fathers for sending you to Catholic school because that’s very important.”