On January 16, 2014, Bishop James Wall spoke on the importance of Catholic Schools and the duty of students, parents, and teachers to participate in the New Evangelization.
During the homily of a Mass given for students and teachers from three Catholic schools, Bishop Wall noted that the schools, because of their religious nature, are in a unique position to encourage development of Catholic faith.
Speaking on the Gospel passage in which Jesus heals a leper, the bishop noted that this represents the inherent dignity of each person, and how lives are transformed after meeting Christ.
“The great thing about this encounter is that we see that Jesus heals him, and no longer does he have this burden on his shoulders,” said Bishop Wall. “It all comes down to an encounter with Jesus Christ. That is what makes all of this possible. That is what lifts the burden off his shoulders. That is what heals this man.”
The beginning of the year is often set aside in Dioceses for a celebration of Catholic schools, and the Mass on January 16 is the first of several school Masses which will be celebrated by the Bishop throughout the Gallup Diocese.
During the homily, Bishop Wall directly addressed the students, a large group from three schools – St. Francis and Sacred Heart in Gallup, and St. Anthony in Zuni.
“We who are members of Catholic schools and Catholic education, every day that we come to school, we have an opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ, just as the leper did. And hopefully we can share that message with others.”
“What this is all about – what our schools should be about, and I think they are…is our participation in what has been known as the New Evangelization. So we need to look for opportunities to announce Jesus Christ – at school, in our families, and with complete strangers.”
Noting that those who announce Jesus must be joyful, the Bishop said that Catholics must be excited about their Faith so that others will be drawn to the message of the Church.
“Our schools must be schools of the New Evangelization, so that we may announce Christ not just today or tomorrow, but for life.”