It was a day for celebrating, honoring, and welcoming. On Thursday, February 1, the fifth day of Catholic Schools Week, Cardinal Gibbons once again welcomed Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama to campus - this time to celebrate his first All-School Mass with the Gibbons community.
Six of Bishop Zarama's fellow priests concelebrated the Mass with him, including Gibbons' own Chaplain Fr. Daniel Oschwald. The other priests were Fr. Justin Ross, of the Newman Catholic Student Center Parish at UNC; Fr. Robert Rutledge, pastor of Holy Infant Parish; Fr. Lourduraj Alapaty, of Wake Med Hospital; Msgr. Douglas Reed, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, and Fr. Scott McCue, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Chapel Hill.
In celebration of Catholic Schools Week the Mass recognized and honored nine Gibbons educators who dedicated 15 to 40 years of service to Cardinal Gibbons. The honorees and their special guests attended the Mass as did members of the school's Board of Trustees, including Chairman Peter Charland and board member Dr. William Spendley and his wife, Jan. Dr. Michael J. Fedewa, Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese, also attended Mass as did Dr. John Pendergrass, Assistant Superintendent of Administration and Compliance, and Kimberly Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.
Throughout his homily Bishop Zarama stood in front of the altar and spoke to attendees about his own days as a student, which he described as challenging. From the start, all were mesmerized.
The Bishop told students, "none of us are perfect, that we can ask for help, and to make time to see yourself, feel good about yourself, and smile." He told them that, "this school gives you all the opportunities and tools to use when finding your most beautiful truth on the journey to know who you are."
After Mass, Principal Jason Curtis spoke of his appreciation to all Gibbons educators for "their loving commitment to Gibbons and to Catholic education." He then recognized the nine educators who were celebrating special anniversaries and thanked them, "for serving the school so faithfully and for the gifts they share with this community." View list of nine educators and their awards.
To thank Bishop Zarama for his visit to campus three Student Council members, Jacob Miles '18, Erin Jablonski '18, and Ryan Rabil '19, in between hugs and handshakes, presented the Bishop with a gift – a Gibbons sweatshirt, of course. In response, the Bishop said, "I am the most happy Bishop in the world today. You are a gift of love. Thank you!"