At Catholic Schools Week Mass, Bishop Nevares urges students to contemplate Jesus on cross

Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares reminded students during  Catholic Schools Week (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares told Catholic school students from across Arizona that studying the lives of saints — people with vocations just like them — paired with meditating on Jesus on the cross are keys to holiness during a Jan. 28 Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral celebrating Catholic Schools Week. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Meditating on Jesus throughout the day is a privilege extended to Catholic school students and the key to holiness.

That’s the message Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares shared with students from across Arizona Jan. 28 at a tightly packed Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. The annual all-schools Mass is the first of a two-part celebration marking National Appreciation Day for Catholic Schools. Student representatives from dozens of schools in all three dioceses that serve Arizona filled the pews for an all-school liturgy.

Their bishops surrounded the altar as did a handful of school pastors and high school chaplains.

Bishop Nevares wished the small group of students from St. Thomas Aquinas in Avondale a happy feast day and then went on to acknowledge all of the saints. He encouraged students to know about the patron saint for who they were named or the saint name they took at confirmation.

“It’s very important that all of us are familiar with the lives of the saints… it inspires us to follow their example and to grow in holiness,” the bishop said.

He told them that the Church’s saints had unique gifts and vocations as bishops, priests, religious, married and single. They shared a mission of loving and serving God while on earth and now live with God in heaven, the bishop said.

Hundreds of students packed tightly into the pews at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral for an all-school liturgy Jan. 28 as part of Catholic Schools Week celebrations. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Hundreds of students packed tightly into the pews at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral for an all-school liturgy Jan. 28 as part of Catholic Schools Week celebrations. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Students have vocations to study and learn to the best of their ability, the bishop continued. Bishop Nevares, who will celebrate five years as auxiliary in July, admitted he would have studied harder in school if he knew such a role was part of God’s divine plan.

“Prepare well for whatever God in His holy will has in store for you,” he said.

The bishop described in detail how St. Thomas Aquinas would discern God’s will during Eucharistic adoration. It helped him draw near to the heart, mind, will and soul of Jesus Christ, the bishop said.

“This day and age, meditation of the holy cross is not very popular. Sometimes there’s not even a crucifix at home,” he continued. St. Thomas Aquinas knew that true wisdom, knowledge and understanding can come from meditating on Jesus on the cross.

An increase in every virtue and decrease in human weakness are other fruits of meditation and adoration, he said, detailing how Jesus modeled divine patience, humility, love and obedience, especially on the cross.