LIMA — The Catholic Diocese of Toledo covers 19 counties in northwest Ohio, with Bishop Daniel Thomas responsible for the spiritual well-being of every Catholic therein. On Thursday, however, his attention was focused on the students of Lima Central Catholic High School during his visit to the school.
The bishop’s visit, which included a Mass and a question and answer period with juniors and seniors, is part of a program in which the bishop visits each of the 14 Catholic schools in the diocese over the course of two years, giving each student a chance to have a time of dialogue with their bishop.
“One of the most important things I can do is meet together with young people,” Thomas said. “Not only do they invigorate me, but I want to try to encourage and invigorate them in their Catholic faith and in the faith they confess. So it’s a great joy to make these school visits.”
With today’s youth facing increased social upheaval and change, having an education rooted in the Catholic tradition can offer a sense of stability, according to Thomas.
“Young people are very concerned about a culture that seems to be collapsing around them, and I think they simply want to, as Matthew Kelly says, to be ‘the best verson of themselves,’ and then to be able to engage the society from the perspective of the values and teaching they’ve received here.”
Questions from students ranged from personal questions on the bishop’s background and the circumstances that led him to entering the priesthood to concerns over predestination versus free will and doubts over whether God is present during prayer.
“Just hearing the questions that our kids asked and how he answered them was really nice,” Lima Central Catholic Principal Stephanie Williams said. “I think he was very personable and down to earth and he brought some validity to the fact that he is a human being and has made mistakes and has used God’s teachings to overcome them. So it was nice for them to hear from someone else outside of their normal theology teachers, their parents or other people at school.”