Bishop Robert Deeley visits a class at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick Wednesday, March 8. Photo contributed by Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

Bishop Robert Deeley paid a visit to St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick Wednesday as part of his annual tour of Catholic schools in Maine.

Bishop Deeley participated in various activities with students from several grades, including a sixth-grade STEM experiment.

“I think it will work in the salt water,” Deeley said. A sixth grader placed the jumpers from the snap circuit pro into the water as a buzzer and LED light went off on the board, which showed electrical conductivity, proving the bishop right.

Deeley and the Rev. Phil Tracy, pastor of All Saints Parish in Brunswick, scored high on Latin quizzes they took with the seventh graders, and both competed well in a game of multiplication basketball with the third graders.

In kindergarten, the bishop helped draw the words in a game of literary bingo, and he played a game with pre-kindergarteners that matched letter sounds with words. In second grade, he was treated to a poetry demonstration featuring several works of Robert Louis Stevenson, and he enjoyed the fourth grade’s rehearsal of their upcoming production of “Willy Wonka Jr.”

The fifth graders, who also lead schoolwide projects to help the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick, excitedly told Deeley about a new, major service project to benefit Heifer International by reading to raise money for the donations of animals to people in need around the world.


In eighth grade, the bishop got the chance to catch up with the soon-to-be St. John’s Catholic School graduates and heard about how much they love the school, how great the academic offerings are and how easy it is to make friends in such a supportive environment.

“It is awesome. Plus, we get to interface with younger students and show them the right way to do things,” said Rocco, an eighth grader. “The teachers are so friendly. Everyone is so nice. It’s a great school.”

The visit began with a morning prayer service with the entire school and ended with lunch with the faculty before the bishop departed.

In addition to Tracy, the bishop was joined on his journey through the school by Shelly Wheeler, principal of St. John’s; Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools; and Suzanne Lafreniere, director of public policy for the Diocese of Portland.

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