He's down to earth, very personable and a cool guy. Students at St. John High used those phrases to describe Biloxi's new bishop.
Bishop Thomas Rodi made his first visit to the school Wednesday. As he celebrated Mass, the bishop quickly made friends with the young congregation.
Contemporary praise music helped welcome Bishop Rodi. The St. John gymnasium became a house of worship for the 7th through 12th graders. The bishop quickly made his teenage congregation feel at ease, giving the seniors a "pop quiz" about the gospel reading.
"What's your name?"
"Emily, in the Gospel of Luke," Bishop Rodi said, as he quizzed a chosen student.
His easy going manner earned high marks among the young audience. Brittany Barrient liked the bishop's laid-back style.
"He just seemed like very personable, an easy to relate to kind of guy."
Others agreed with that assessment.
"Oh, I think he's actually pretty down to earth. He's a pretty cool guy. It seems like he knows what he's talking about. I could actually relate to what he was saying," Erik Casano said.
"I thought he was really good because he was doing more to get involved with the students instead of just saying the gospel. He was trying to get feedback. So that was really good," senior class president Leigh Frazier said.
The bishop also impressed Armand Scurfield. He's quite active in sharing his faith and looks to the bishop as a role model.
"Faith is very important to me. I'm in CYO at my church and campus ministry," Scurfield said. "I feel good spreading the word of God to other students."
The bishop encouraged students to use their God given gifts to help others.
"I would hope this year that you look at ways of how I can use them. How can I use these talents and abilities to help the group?"
Students enjoyed the contemporary music, the appropriate message, and the visit from their new friend in faith: the bishop.
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