The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted your plans and those of your parents and schools to mark this special occasion with and for you in the traditional ways. Disrupted, yes. Cancelled, not at all. Here we are, though at a distance from one another, still celebrating this milestone in your lives, in a different way, still recognizing all the accomplishments that this great occasion represents.
You are graduating from high school – your high school – and moving on from the place and people that have been so familiar to you into a new and exciting set of experiences. As your Bishop, I am so happy and honored that I can be with you, your parents and families, your classmates and teachers, your administrators, coaches and staff at your Baccalaureate Mass. Yes, this year’s celebration is not the way you expected your graduation to be, but nothing can take away the meaning of this moment and the joy you should feel. You’ve made it! And we are all so proud of You!
Today we celebrate a great part of your Catholic education, of your graduation, and we begin with Holy Mass, the most important prayer of our faith. Although we cannot be together, we are never far apart because of the faith that unites us.
This school year has been filled with unanticipated experiences and a discontinuation of all that was routine. Many milestones that define the rites of passage of senior year were not to materialize.
Yet as students, you relied on your faith, personal grit, persistence and self-discipline as the future became apparent month by month.
We live in a complex world that needs healing on many levels. Health issues dominate the world as we search for a cure for COVID-19. Racism, rebellions, refugees and starving children across the globe are becoming commonplace. Our environment has been abused and stripped of natural resources. Threats appear to our economy and to national security.
How will these problems be addressed? Who will be called to solve them?
With graduation, it is likely that you look to the future and ponder questions such as:
“What will be my path in life? How will I contribute?”
“What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”