Try explaining vocations to a room full of third-graders.
Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, eastern vicar, gamely took charge of the third-grade religious education class at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Homeland, Feb. 24 and did just that.
Bill Macsherry, who teaches the class along with Lori Brooks, invited the bishop, who lives in the rectory, to come teach about vocations.
“It just happened that I was available on that particular Sunday and was happy to do so,” Bishop Rozanski said. “I think it is all of our responsibility to encourage our young people to consider the call to priesthood, diaconate, religious sister or brother in serving the church.”
He began by having the children tell him their names and why their parents chose those names. Then he helped the children name the apostles and explained how they were called – gently rejecting suggestions from the class that God, Paul and Isaiah were among the 12.
Although a little fuzzy on names at times – one little boy offered that Jesus was betrayed by “one of the Caesars” – the class understood the concept of discipleship. When asked what Jesus was calling people to do, one girl raised her hand and said, “to follow in his footsteps.”
Bishop Rozanski neatly segued into how Jesus calls people today and gave a brief explanation of vocations, including deacons, brothers and sisters.
“Does God still call us today?” he said. The children answered yes, and when Bishop Rozanski prompted them with “He calls us each by our own …” they proudly added, “name.”
The class then named the seven sacraments and talked a bit about them.
“A priest does a lot in a parish doesn’t he,” Bishop Rozanski said. “We certainly need priests.”
The children were fascinated by the progression from priest to bishop.
“Do you have to win a contest to be a bishop?” one boy asked.
The children were equally curious about how the pope gets elected, and they peppered Bishop Rozanski with questions about the selection process. He patiently explained that the pope does not run for office the way a president does.
One little girl wanted to know the difference between a pope, a cardinal and a bishop.
“Why can’t priests get married?” asked another little girl.
“Well, in a sense we do – we marry the church,” Bishop Rozanski explained. “In not being married, we’re free to serve the whole church.”