Before Bishop Noonan processed down the church’s aisle the eighth grade class played the song “Largo” on their recorders. Many noticed there were two altar servers wearing vimpae to cover their hands. A vimpa is a veil or shawl worn over the shoulders of servers who carry the mitre and crosier of the bishop during Mass. The boys, Ben and Brandon, were chosen to hold Bishop’s crozier and miter, respectively. This was a special honor for the two of them as this is a job taken very seriously.
During the homily, Bishop walked around asking questions to the younger grades. He said some things to make the younger ones laugh in glee. When the gifts were brought down, there was a kindergartener amongst the older students. Bishop Noonan thanked all of them and proceeded to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When giving peace, he came down and said, “Peace” to everyone he could reach. The children on the left side of the church were given Communion by Bishop. Then there was a sight to behold — the pre-kindergarteners and the kindergarteners were hugging Bishop Noonan because they typically hug Father Bob after they receive their blessing.
After the final prayer, the principal, Mrs. Stokes, stood up to announce the school had two birthday presents for Bishop Noonan. Students Grant and Sarah walked down the isle to give Bishop his presents. Bishop then turned to the little ones and asked two of them to help him open his presents. Two prekindergarten students ran up and tore into the wrapping paper, handing Bishop Noonan anything they managed to find within the bags. After the presents were safely back in the bag, Bishop Noonan ended the Mass.
It was a wonderful Mass that we will not forget any time soon!
Article written by Sarah, 8th grade student, St. Joseph Catholic School, Palm Bay