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Catholic schools have been blessing generations of students

More than a thousand eighth-graders packed into St. Cecilia Cathedral on Feb. 2 for a decades-old Catholic Schools Week tradition – Mass with the archbishop.

In his homily, Archbishop George J. Lucas harkened back to when he was an eighth-grader at a Catholic school in St. Louis 60 years ago.

“I really enjoyed being an eighth-grader,” he said, when teachers gave him and his classmates more responsibilities and expected them to set the tone for the rest of the school.

He thanked the eighth-graders at the cathedral for stepping up and taking that responsibility now that it’s their turn.

“You make us proud,” the archbishop said. “Thank you.”

He said his Catholic education and the foundation it laid are still with him many years later.

Catholic schools continue to offer their students many blessings, Archbishop Lucas said, opportunities to encounter Jesus and get to know him, especially through Mass and prayer. Opportunities to learn that Jesus and his teachings can be trusted.

Sometimes people fall short of those teachings. But in Catholic schools students learn that God wants them to do the right thing, that he loves them and is ready to forgive them, the archbishop said.

“I’ve been praying for you,” he told the eighth-graders. He asked that the students pray for him – as well as their priests, teachers and parents – that they all pray and work to become closer to Jesus.