Students, faculty and staff of the Academy of St. Bartholomew in Middleburg Heights were joined by parents and parishioners at a Mass on March 5 to celebrate the school?s 60th anniversary. Bishop Nelson Perez was the celebrant and homilist. The liturgy also recognized the 20th anniversary of Father Len Bacik as St. Bartholomew?s pastor.
A large statue of St. Bartholomew, the parish patron saint, was blessed by the bishop that day, also.
During the homily, Bishop Perez told the students that Jesus was not appreciated in his own hometown of Nazareth. According to the day?s Gospel, ?They wanted to throw him off a cliff,? he said. But God?s love is very visible, he told them. ?It?s like Jesus. Your parents love you; they feed, clothe and house you. These are visible signs of their love. And this school is a visible expression of God?s love. God has loved a lot of people in 60 years,? he quipped.
The bishop remarked about how well-behaved the kindergarteners and first-graders were. He also asked if any of the parents or parishioners in the back half of the church had attended school there. ?They used to sit up here where you are,? he told the students.
?And your teachers love you. They help you, they teach you and they give you homework,? he added. ?Your principal has been here since the 1800s,? he said, as the students laughed. ?First she was a teacher here and now she?s principal.?
He also reminded the students that the support of the parish makes their school possible, and their pastor, Father Bacik, loves and care for all.