Bishop visits St. Dominic High School

POSTED: 10/28/14 9:32 PM

St. Maarten – “Education is the best investment in society,” said Bishop Luis Secco in his address to some 300 plus students at St. Dominic High School on Monday as part of his visit to all Catholic schools, both primary and secondary, on the island. He went on to say that within a community, there are three distinct institutions of learning: the home, schools and the church. He encouraged the students to be more involved in order to grow in the Catholic Church and its activities: “It’s important to move and be proactive because many times you listen not by mind or ears, but by heart. Show more enthusiasm, like when you play sports and evolve in that sport. Just as you evolve in sports, you should evolve in Catholic activities.” Prior to this, he visited the school in 2005.

His hope was that the students of St. Dominic High are actively involved in the pastoral plan through the different rites of passage in the Catholic Church, specifically through First Communion and Confirmation. “I encourage you to follow the program of the Catholic Church… not only good education, but also good values.” He urged students to uphold the values of Catholic schools, which are honesty, justice and good communication. In addition, he urged them to uphold spiritual values through confession and profession of faith. He talked about his 3-year pastoral plan, which addresses different areas in the Catholic Church and society, such as education and liturgy. “I am very happy that director, staff and board are concerned with the pastoral plan,” said Bishop Secco.

The school – which fosters personal development and values of self-respect, citizenship and respect for others through Catholic education – received the Bishop in its week welcome assembly. The assembly began with School Manager Gianne Wilson-de Weever welcoming everyone, followed by an opening prayer by religion teacher Patrick Rohan. The students of 5A gave a gospel reading. The students of 1B gave a skit, which drew attention to the issue of rosaries being worn as pop culture fashion accessories, rather than for their traditional purpose. In the Catholic calendar, October is the month of the rosary, with the feast of Our Lady the Rosary, which is celebrated annually on October 7.

Upon hearing that St. Dominic High was one of the best schools in the area, Secretary General for the Pastoral Plan for the Diocese Erich van der Hoeve tested the students’ knowledge and problem-solving skills by presenting them with a scenario and asking them to solve it. The students lived up to their school’s reputation, answering the question almost immediately. He pointed out that a lot of work and planning went in to developing the pastoral plan, which partly dealt with education. In order to create a holistic and effective pastoral plan, Bishop Secco invited priests from the 6 different islands to help him. All priests were in attendance at the conference, except for 2 from St. Maarten because of the passing of Hurricane Gonzalo. Van der Hoeve added that the results of this conference will go to each island to see how the points discussed can be put into practice for the betterment of Catholic schools and their teachers.

At the end of the assembly, the students of 1B presented Bishop Secco with handmade cards. Written on one of the cards was “We are all here to serve another.” On behalf of the school, he was given a student handbook and a daily planner. The assembly ended with Bishop Secco thanking everyone and encouraging the students to give their teachers a round of applause for their hard work and dedication.







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