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Bishop to Aurora students: Thank Jesus this Christmas

Bishop David Malloy Rockford Diocese leads an all-school mass Holy Angels School Wednesday December 5 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times

Bishop David Malloy of the Rockford Diocese leads an all-school mass at Holy Angels School on Wednesday, December 5, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 7, 2013 6:46AM

AURORA — Regardless of the presents, the treats, and all the other wrappings and trappings of the holiday season, it would be a sad Christmas if children did not stop for a moment to reflect.

That was the message Bishop David J. Malloy, the new bishop of the Rockford Diocese, shared with the students of Holy Angels School at their all-school Mass on Wednesday morning.

“Not even three weeks left until Christmas, there will be Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, all kinds of things,” he said. “I ask each of you to take some quiet time and thank Jesus, thank him for bringing you here, for Holy Angels, for your families, for everything he’s given you in the faith.

“It would be a terrible thing to receive all these gifts at Christmas time and not say ‘thank you.’”

He also stressed the importance of the church, and of being involved, even at a young age, relaying to the children the story of St. Tarcisius, who was killed as a child in a Roman mob while delivering sacraments.

“He was about 7. As a young child, he protected his faith and the Eucharist,” Malloy told the Holy Angels students, asking the 7-year-olds to raise their hands. “You might think this all sounds like stuff for when you’re an adult... But all throughout the history of the church there are stories of young people and their faith.”

The students of Holy Angels, in turn, presented Malloy with a spiritual bouquet with the students’ names.

For most of the children, their parents and other parishioners in the packed sanctuary, Wednesday’s Mass was the first time many had met the new bishop, who replaced Bishop Thomas Doran as the head of the Rockford Diocese in May.

When he was installed, Malloy said one of his priorities was Catholic education, and encouraging more young Catholics to consider the priesthood and religious life.

He reiterated that sentiment Wednesday, saying that visiting schools is particularly important because of his mission in the church to bring up the next generation of spiritual leaders.

“We need priests,” said Malloy to the children in the front rows of pews. “We need young men to listen to their hearts and to find their calling. It’s a deep, good life.”

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