Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez celebrated Mass on Oct. 4, with a gathering of over 900 students, faculty and parents of students in the gymnasium at Padua Franciscan High School. It was his first visit to the college preparatory co-ed high school located on State Road in Parma.
Franciscan Father Allan DaCorte, Padua’s president, concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Perez on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan order.
Bishop Perez began the Mass by saying, “I offer this Mass to you and for all the people who lost their lives in Las Vegas.”
During his homily, Bishop Perez reflected on the life of St. Francis. The bishop said Francis came from a family of means and he struggled with what his earthly father thought he should be doing with his life. Though prayer, Francis realized that God was calling him to rebuild his church. Francis, who lived in a small Italian village over 800 years ago, really didn’t have a plan but he was faithful and found a way to capture the imagination of the people. His message of peace and simplicity ultimately spread throughout the world.
“Here’s a spiritual message to all of you today. You and I could do the very same thing. The world is a tough place but God wants us to have an openness of heart,” Bishop Perez said. “I want you to remember this, never, never, never underestimate the power of the Spirit of God working in you, with you and despite you.”
Following Mass, Bishop Perez was present for the inaugural “Bruins Big Give,” an in-school fundraising event for tuition assistance. He also received a tour of the high school and had lunch on campus.