OSWEGO, NY – The highlight of Catholic Schools’ Week was a visit by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham.
It was hard to tell who was more excited Thursday, the bishop or the dozens of Trinity Catholic School children he took time to chat with.
He stopped into a reading class. The students said that they always read at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, “but today is Thursday.”
“Thanks, I was wondering if I missed a day,” Bishop Cunningham replied. “Is there some other exciting thing happening tomorrow?”
“We usually read at 2:30 on Friday,” their teacher said.
“It’s Catholic Schools’ Week. And there’s a prayer service,” a student added.
On Friday, there will be a performance by Joe Trionfero at 9:30 a.m. in the gym. The prayer service and focus assembly will also be held in the gym.
“Besides all the fun things we’re doing, we had two days when they got to come into school two hours late because of snow and weather,” Principal Barb Sugar added. “So, they have had short days and lots of fun activities this week.”
The children asked the bishop all sorts of questions.
“You don’t have to ask any. But if you don’t you have to go back to your school work,” he said. A dozen hands were quickly raised.
One young lady asked, “What’s it like being the bishop?”
“It’s interesting. A lot of days it’s fun, like when I get to come to a Catholic school and see students like you,” he answered. “Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t as much fun. Your moms and dads probably have good days and bad days, too.”
To become a bishop, do you have to become a priest first?” another asked.
“You have to be a priest first. Correct,” he said.
“And then you’re a cardinal?” the student followed up. “How long do you have to be a bishop before you’re a cardinal?”
“That’s afterwards, right,” Bishop Cunningham said. “It’s doesn’t really happen that way. Cardinals are people the Holy Father names to be special advisors. So, nothing is time wise. Just because you’re a bishop doesn’t mean you’ll be a cardinal. And I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen to me.”
Bishop Cunningham is the 10th bishop of the seven-county Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. He was installed May 26, 2009, and visited Oswego the following month.
Previously, he was in Ogdensburg for five years. And before that, he was a priest at St. Louis Parish in downtown Buffalo.
When asked if any of the students wanted to be priests, several hands shot up. For one youngster that was just the first step on his religious career path. “I want to be pope,” he exclaimed.
“The students here are just so warm and welcoming. It’s great to see them all,” the bishop said.
Catholic Schools’ Week was celebrated January 26 – February 1.
Trinity had a variety of events and activities planned. On Sunday, at the 11 a.m. mass at St. Joseph’s Church, the students were active participants in the Liturgy. Later brunch was served in the church hall, courtesy of the Home and School Association.
Other scheduled events included a sledding party on the hill at school; exhibits from the Children’s Museum in the school’s gym; a laser show by Thomas Altman; a Valentine project sponsored by Student Council at recess; a meteorology presentation by Scott Steiger; open skating at Oswego State Campus Center Ice Rink; and a volleyball game (grade six vs. the staff) in which the students pulled out an exciting victory.
“Catholic Schools’ Week is the national celebration of Catholic education and its role in preparing our young people for a life of service to their families, their communities, and to the Lord,” Principal Sugar explained.
Trinity Catholic, 115 E. Fifth St., is the sole Catholic school in the county; it is supported by all parishes in the county.
For more information, call 343-6700.