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New bishop celebrates Mass at his alma mater

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April 13, 2011

ST. MARGARET MARY DEANERY — The Mass had long been planned: As part of its 50-year anniversary, La Salle High School in Cincinnati wished to celebrate the vocations it has helped cultivate. What had not been planned was that one of these men would have been named a bishop the previous day.


Father Jospeh Binzer celebrates Mass at LaSalle High School
Bishop-elect Binzer was the principal celebrant of a special April 7 Mass to honor St. John Baptist de LaSalle. (CT photo/Colleen Kelley)

On April 7, the feast of St. John Baptist de la Salle, the school honored the eight men who have been ordained to the priesthood, the five men who have been ordained to the permanent diaconate, and the four men who have taken vows as religious brothers.


When word was received that Father Joseph Binzer, class of 1973, had been named Auxiliary Bishop of Cincinnati, the all-school liturgy took on a special feeling of pride for the school.
“How wonderful that one of his first masses is here at his alma mater,” noted principal Tom Luebbe, who was a high school classmate of the new bishop-elect.


Students reacted with applause when Bishop-elect Binzer, who served as principal celebrant of the Mass, sang a few lines of both the school’s alma mater and its fight song for them.
He told students he was sure that when sitting in the same seats in which they now sit he’d heard words and homilies he did not now recall.


“You don’t have to remember everything,” he said. “But I remember something I learned in my first week here in the fall of 1969. It’s the prayer we pray often: ‘Let us remember we are in the presence of God.’ And what’s been added since is ‘We are called to serve.’ And that is what you should remember.”


He spoke to students about the example of St. John Baptist de la Salle, who educated teachers who could then teach children.  “He did not see education as stopping with the person who received it but that people took what they learned and shared it with others.”


The new bishop reminded the students that they are called to do the same: “We are called to faithfully serve the Lord, to take what the Lord has given us and use it to serve others and to build up the kingdom here on earth,” he explained.


Campus minister and religion instructor Chris Winiarski presented Bishop-elect Binzer with a handmade card signed by the entire student body and faculty, as well as a special t-shirt designed to honor La Salle’s state championship title in basketball won in March.


The Mass and a luncheon that followed honored the vocations of Fathers Ron Cafeo, Terry Hamilton, Harold Kist, Dave Lemkuhl, Tom Nolker, Tom Snodgrass and Larry Tensi; Deacons Kim Cohen, Tim Crooker, Mike Erb, Pat Palumbo and Greg Rose; and Society of the Divine Word Brother Michael Decker and De LaSalle Christian Brothers Chris Englert, Richard Merkel and Michael Fehrenbach. Special plaques with photos of each man during his high school years and now have been set up as a display for students in a corridor.  

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