Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Bishop Encourages Educators To Live Their Faith

The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Reflecting on the life of missionaries throughout history, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel told more than 450 teachers and administrators of the Diocese of Evansville that sharing the faith has always entailed sacrifice and reminded them that whatever words they use, it is the way they live their lives that others will judge the veracity of their message.


Bishop Joseph M. Siegel addressed educators as they gathered at Mater Dei High School in Evansville for the annual Back to School gathering and Mass on Aug. 3. He reminded them they were like the apostles: not alone in sharing the truth of their faith, whether in classrooms, homes or parishes. Like St. Boniface, St. Patrick, Bishop Bruté, St. Mother Theodore Guerin and countless other missionaries who left home to do work in a foreign land, Christ also needs them to share their knowledge.


Bishop Siegel thanked all in attendance for their service and sacrifice to Catholic education, noting that he observed these traits first-hand through his mother and sisters. He emphasized that how one conveys the faith is just as important as what one says about our faith.


“How can we teach the faith if we don’t practice it ourselves?” he asked. He encouraged teachers to attend Mass as often as possible and devote time daily to consistent prayer; and reminded them that although they may not see immediate results, to remember that as Jesus told his disciples, “One person may plant the seed, another may bring the harvest.”


Fourteen priests of the Diocese of Evansville concelebrated the Mass with Bishop Siegel, including Father Sadhakar Bhastati, Father John Boeglin, Father Dusty Burns, Father Brian Emmick, Father Tony Ernst, Father Dave Fleck, Father Paul Ferguson, Father Gary Kaiser, Father Phil Kreilein, Father Ron Kreilein, Benedictine Father Godfrey Mullen, Father Ed Schnur, Father Lowell Will and Father Alex Zenthoefer. Deacons Joe Siewers and Andrew Thomas assisted.


Following Mass, Dr. Tom Burnford, President and CEO of the National Catholic Educational Association, joined diocesan superintendent Dr. Daryl Hagan and assistant superintendents Michelle Prior and Sally Sternberg along with Bishop Siegel to present awards to those with significant anniversaries of service in the Diocese of Evansville.  Dr. Burnford spoke to the teachers and administrators before Mass. Also recognized were winners of the 2018 Catholic Educator Innovative Awards.