Many of the saints were “absolute rogues” before they turned their lives around, Fr Tom Stevens told over 2,000 students, staff and parishioners during Mass for All Saints Day in Liverpool.
The enormous congregation, including students from three schools, attended the outdoor Mass in the quadrangle of All Saints Catholic College in Liverpool on 1 November.
Attending were students from All Saints Catholic Primary School (K-6), All Saints Catholic College (7-10), and All Saints Catholic Senior College (11-12), as well as parishioners from Liverpool’s All Saint’s Parish.
This is the third year the All Saints Catholic community of Liverpool have come together on the day for which their schools are named.
Fr Stevens—Assistant Priest at the Parish—reminded those gathered that sainthood is “open to each and every person.”
“Today we celebrate all those known and unknown to us as saints. They are countless in number but they took God seriously.”
He said saints are found “in the ordinary” of everyday life, such as those struggling with ill health and disability while not losing hope, or single parents trying to make ends meet while living with integrity.
Fr Stevens said he liked the saints because many of them started out as “absolute rogues.”
“Con-men, cut-throats, and cads… But they were able to change their lives, to see beauty and love and compassion, based around God.”
Con-celebrating the Mass with Fr Stevens was Fr Lewi Barakat and Fr Tibebeselassie Abza.
Following the Mass, Dr Vicki Lavorato—Regional Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, Southern Region—congratulated the community on the momentous milestone to take place in 2020, when the three All Saints schools—primary, secondary and senior—will become one entity. It will be the first systemic Catholic school in the Sydney Archdiocese to cater for students from Kindergarten to Year 12.
“The thing I love about Liverpool is you’re still making history. In 2020 you will be the very first Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Sydney that will be one school, K to 12…. It’s amazing,” Dr Lavorato said.
She told the students that saints are “sinners who keep trying.”
“Look for a saint who’s struggle is like yours and just keep trying,” Dr Lavorato said, quoting a religious sister who had taught her in primary school.
Year 9 student, Jonathon Mayorga, said the special All Saints Day Mass fostered a sense of community between the three schools.
“We are all awesome schools… we can celebrate diversity between the schools too.” Jonathon said his favourite saint is St Michael because he is a “natural protector and leader.”
Kira Rosch, Year 11, said the Mass was a “very good opportunity for all the community to come together… especially in a world where technology takes away from religion and faith.”
“It’s good to remind the students we’re all part of one big family.”
Year 6 student, Yosab Eskandr, said his favourite saint was St Abanoub of Egypt. “He was a kid like my age, and he believed in Christ and he was so close to Christ.”
Classmate, Jack Debourbon said he had enjoyed the day immensely. “It was fantastically great seeing all the priests together and all the acolytes there, with everyone listening.”
Jack said he greatly admired St Joan of Arc.
“She was a woman who believed in God even though she knew she would be persecuted and convicted for pretending to be a boy and joining the army. She believed God had a purpose for her to lead France to victory in the war.”
The entire school community enjoyed a pizza lunch followed by games and activities including a game of dunk-the-teacher.