Bishop Cepeda says schools must illuminate world for Christ

Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda

DETROIT — Standing before students and staff of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Catholic schools, Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda said Catholic schools’ role consists in spreading the good news of Christ.

“Jesus is the light that illuminates all nations, and He welcomes us into that light as children of light. And by becoming Him, who is sent by the Father, we can become light for the world,” Bishop Cepeda said during the annual Catholic Schools Week liturgy at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“Isn’t that what we’re asking from our Catholic schools for our students, to be able to proclaim the encounter with our Father, with our Creator, to proclaim that our Lord is real?” the bishop asked. “And that we can find him in our souls and within our communities, our schools?”

Bishop Cepeda emphasized that being a witness for Christ is more than just having an encounter with Christ, but proclaiming his kingdom through words and deeds.

“If we only proclaim our encounter with God, we would not be witnesses,” Bishop Cepeda said. “If we just say we believe in Jesus, where is our witness? We are called to serve. To serve the larger community, we must face our friendship to our Lord.”

Bishop Cepeda told the archdiocese’s students and teachers that being a witness for Jesus means accompanying one another through life, and that the Catholic institutions of southeast Michigan must be vehicles used to create deep, personal connections with Jesus Christ.

“We must go out and proclaim this good news with joy,” Bishop Cepeda said. “It’s not sad news, so don’t be afraid. Go out and proclaim the good news in our communities, our poor community, the communities that need to hear the good news the most. For our schools that have a number of resources, go out and share those resources with joy. That’s what it means to accompany one another: to spread the good news about the life with Jesus Christ.”

At the end of Mass, Brian Dougherty, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Keith Burke of Alliance Catholic Credit Union awarded 10 students from Catholic League schools with scholarships through the “Live It. Show It. Share It” scholarship contest, where students from the Catholic League were invited to submit a 15-second video or a 500-word essay on how they incorporate faith into their daily lives and how it makes them a better person.

The Mass was also the last in which Bishop Cepeda would be director of the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools; he will be succeeded by Fr. Stephen Pullis on July 1 to further concentrate on role as moderator of the archdiocese’s Northwest region. Dougherty and the Office of Catholic Schools used the moment to gift Bishop Cepeda with a jacket featuring his episcopal coat of arms.

“It’s been a pleasure serving under Bishop Cepeda, and I’d like to say thank you very much for your support over the years,” Dougherty said. “You’ve always been the calm in the sometimes difficult storms. We know you’re going to become a regular bishop with your region and responsibilities, but we appreciate everything you’ve done for schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit.”