A recent story in The Catholic Sun, Phoenix’s diocesan newspaper, drives home the point that priests are needed on high school campuses.
Graduating seniors at Phoenix-area Catholic high schools praised school chaplains for celebrating school Masses and being available to talk to students and give advice about school, relationships and future choices. They appreciated cultural references priests used in homilies and liked seeing them at basketball games and school plays. They also were keenly aware that priests were there for them during tough times such as praying with them after a student at a nearby school was killed in a car crash.
One high school student described his high school chaplain this way: “A lot of the kids see him as a guide, as a mediator between our faith and our daily lives.”
Father Will Schmid, chaplain at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler, says his role is a basic one.
“I just try to show them that the Catholic Church isn’t as crazy as the world makes it out to be, that the teachings make sense and that the faith is worthwhile and it matters,” he said.
And based on the students’ responses, he has done his job.