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St. Joan of Arc and St. Stephen the Martyr school banners are among many carried by students from the Omaha area in the procession before the annual eighth-grade Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha celebrating Catholic Schools Week.

Faith Bossert, left, Cassie Martin, Amy Conner and first-grade teacher associate Pam Bunda of St. Wenceslaus School in Omaha visit with Archbishop George J. Lucas after the eighth-grade Mass celebrating Catholic Schools Week Feb. 2 at St. Cecilia Cathedral, also in Omaha.

Archbishop Lucas, students celebrate Catholic Schools Week Mass

About 1,200 eighth-grade students from Omaha-area Catholic schools joined Archbishop George J. Lucas to celebrate faith and education in a special way Feb. 2 – with the archbishop presiding at the annual Mass celebrating Catholic Schools Week at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.

Carrying colorful banners representing each school, students led the procession into Mass, then filed into the pews to pray, sing and hear words of encouragement from the archbishop.

Archbishop Lucas used the Gospel reading – the story of Jesus’ presentation in the temple by Mary and Joseph – to express his hope that the students will grow in two characteristics of discipleship. Those characteristics – to be ready to meet and grow close to Jesus, and to share Jesus with others – are seen in Simeon and Anna in the temple, and in Mary and Joseph, the archbishop said.

The archbishop encouraged the eighth-graders to avoid being satisfied with keeping their relationship with Jesus to themselves, but to share willingly with others, and find ways to serve others, as they enter high school.

“I pray for all of you that you will continue to grow in discipleship, to stay close to Jesus and allow him to be close to you,” he said.

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