Monday, February 26, 2024

‘God Chooses You to Do Wonderful Things,’ Bishop Senior Tells St. Catherine Labouré Students on Patronal Feast Day

In the presence of a Miraculous Medal that once belonged to St. Catherine Labouré, students, faculty and parents of the Diocesan school named for the Daughter of Charity gathered on her feast day November 28 for the celebration of Mass by Bishop Timothy Senior.

Students from the PreK-8 school on Derry Street in Harrisburg filled the church, which prominently features a Miraculous Medal Shrine with one of the medals that was in St. Catherine Labouré’s possession when she died in 1876.

Catholics worldwide have devotion to the medal, with its words “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.” The Blessed Mother promises “Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.”

The significance of the Miraculous Medal and the model of St. Catherine Labouré – to whom the medal was manifested by the Blessed Mother – were focuses of the message the bishop gave students during his homily.

He told them that the Blessed Mother gave the medal to a young novice from a farming family because “God chooses who the world might think to be weak or powerless to manifest His power.”

“God chooses the weakest of the world to bring about great and wonderful things, and that brings us hope because we’re all called, in one way or another, to cooperate with God’s plan,” Bishop Senior said. “We may think we’re too weak, or maybe we think we don’t have as much talent or intelligence or gifts as others have, but always remember that God chooses us just the way we are to do wonderful things.”

He told the students the Miraculous Medal is a reminder for them to remain close to the Blessed Mother. He also encouraged them to follow the model of St. Catherine Labouré, who devoted her life to caring for the sick, the poor and the elderly.

“She went on to live a very fruitful life of service, very humble and unassuming, but very powerful because she, like Jesus, laid down her life for her friends,” the bishop said.

“Think of how you might be an instrument of service and love to other people,” he told the students. “Perhaps there is someone close to you that you can reach out to or help with a kind word…. Pray that we will be filled with humility to glorify this mystery of the Miraculous by our word and by our work.”

Following the Mass, Bishop Senior was accompanied on a tour of the school by principal Jodi Reagan and pastor Father James Lease. The bishop visited classrooms, engaging students in conversations about the faith, vocations and their school.

“It was such a blessing to be able to celebrate our school’s feast day with Bishop Senior,” Reagan told The Witness. “It is not often that all of our students get the opportunity to sit through a Mass presided by the bishop.”

The same week of the bishop’s visit, St. Catherine Labouré School received its renewed accreditation by the Middle States Association. Students are putting their faith into action through a variety of service projects, including a Thanksgiving food drive, the collection of more than 1,000 books for Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Christmas cards for school donors, cleaning the church and convent, and their own monetary donation they presented during the Mass for the bishop to share at his discretion with those in need.

Learn more about the school at Saint Catherine Labouré Catholic School (sclhbg.org).

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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