Catholic San Francisco


(Photo by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)

Archbishop Cordileone posed with Good Shepherd School’s eighth grade class after a wide-ranging discussion.

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Archbishop, 8th graders discuss happiness
November 15th, 2016
By Valerie Schmalz

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s visit to the eighth grade classroom at Good Shepherd School turned into an unusually wide-ranging discussion on the nature of happiness, faith, and “recruiting more Catholics.”

“What is the meaning of happiness to you?” asked one girl. “Happiness is the human vocation. God created us all to be happy. Happiness means living in accordance with God’s will for us,” Archbishop Cordileone replied.

The visit to the Pacifica parish grade school Oct. 27 was part of the archbishop’s official visits to parishes. Good Shepherd parish and school was the 49th stop of about 90 parishes in the archdiocese. The archbishop estimates it will take him at least five years for the official visitation of all the parishes, which includes meetings with parish councils and finance committees, school boards, celebrating Mass at the parish, and meeting parishioners. He returned to the parish Oct. 29-30 and installed as pastor, Father Luello N. Palacpac.

“What can we do to recruit more Catholics and what can I do to be a better Catholic?” one eighth grade boy asked the archbishop, who sat on a desk at the front of the classroom.

“We are always trying strategies for what we call evangelization. That’s recruiting more Catholics,” Archbishop Cordileone said, saying getting news to websites and social media can “pique” interest. “They can learn things and find out about what’s going on. But for them to really receive the invitation from Christ to follow him, Christ always uses a human agent. So we need to set up opportunities so we can encounter each other. Pope Francis emphasizes this a lot, the culture of encounter.”

The exchange between the archbishop and the students continued for three-quarters of an hour, covering favorite music, sports, God and faith. Several returned later to ask the archbishop if he would play racquetball with them – he agreed, but was still visiting other classrooms when their gym class ended.

The day began with a school Mass, and included visits to each of the classrooms where the archbishop answered questions and was presented with specially created class gifts, including a placemat and a special poster. He was serenaded with songs in several classes.

In answering the eighth grader’s question, Archbishop Cordileone said bringing others to Christ “means you have to understand your faith” and study in school. However, he said it is a lifelong process and there are “2,000 years of really smart people” to learn from. “Then of course, prayer has to be the heart of it, never stop praying,” he said, urging praying the rosary, and noting the parish has eucharistic adoration every day and all day on Friday, “That’s a beautiful opportunity you have.”

From November 17, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

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