In his homily, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, explained the difference between "wisdom and intelligence."
Cardondelet High School/COURTESY PHOTOS
Bishop celebrates Catholic Schools Week Mass
Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, took time out for a "selfie" with some students.
As he looked out at the gathering of 800 young women for whom he was about to celebrate Mass during Catholic Schools Week, the bishop of Oakland was reminded of his own high school years.
He told the girls of a young woman who was a student at the "sister school" to his own high school: She had a gift for the practical joke that didn't hurt people.
"She was the funniest girl in the whole school," he said.
The final joke she played, he told the gathering, was at the formal high school graduation.
When her name was announced, from the card she had submitted, out came: Heidi Kmart Neuberger.
"The nuns didn't appreciate it," he said.
The gathering, however, did.
Later, in his homily, the bishop asked, "What is the difference between wisdom and intelligence?"
Intelligence, he said, they say can be measured by IQ, SAT scores — which drew a little laugh — "as if a number can define you."
Does that equal wisdom?
You can be intelligent, he pointed out, but lack wisdom.
Along the way, he dropped that he is a "Downton Abbey" fan — "Sunday night 9 o'clock on PBS."
How does one gain wisdom? "Call upon God," he offered. "If you have been confirmed, it's one of the gifts you received from God — if only you'll use it."
The key to a successful life: "Friendship with Jesus," he said, "to know that he's there for you."
At the end of Mass, he had a special word for the adults in the school's Garaventa Center, where the Mass took place Jan. 28. "Thanks to the teachers, administration and staff," he said. "It's a vocation. I know because that's what I signed up to be."
Noting that the school has a reputation for service, he told them in travels around the diocese, "everywhere I go, I meet graduates of Carondelet High School."
The altar servers for the day were Taylor Blair, a senior, and sister Sierra Blair, a junior,
"The presence of the bishop makes me tap into the spirituality," Sierra said.
Each sister has served since the fourth grade at their parish, St. Catherine of Siena in Martinez.
Edie Payne, campus minister, said she would hope the bishop's presence "makes the girls feel they have a place in the church and in the diocese."
Fiona Dekker, a junior, liked the way the bishop spoke to the gathering. "It made sense," she said. "He made it very teenager-appropriate."
"I liked that he was talking about the difference between wisdom and intelligence," said ninth-grader Jessica Hodson.
"He had a sense of humor," added classmate Lauren Wolf.
He also had accessibility, and posed for a photo with a group of ninth-graders who waited patiently to meet him.
They all smiled.
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